Finding instruction, or instructional material for pedal steel guitar can be challenging. Learning the instrument is challenging enough, so there is no reason why one should have to search hard to find quality instructional material.
These books contain a lot of useful information on technique, pedal steel traditions, and playing the instrument effectively. These are the books that I clinched to when in the beginning stages of learning and playing pedal steel guitar. They have been very popular among steel guitar players over time too, and I’ve owned these books for years.
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Mel Bay’s Anthology Of Pedal Steel Guitar, E9 Chromatic Tuning – This book is a must for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players. It holds licks, pics, but most importantly it has great transcriptions and tabs of full songs. Songs by steel players including Buddy Emmons, Paul Franklin, Lloyd Green, and some traditional songs too. Some tunes are easier than others, and the ones later in the book will challenge any player. I’ve had this book for almost several years, and I still use it for ideas and interpreting different songs or arrangements. It is a great book, by DeWitt Scott, whose instructional material I really enjoy.
Deluxe Pedal Steel Guitar Method – This is a great book for beginners to pick up. It is very melodic based, for E9 neck, and it gives a good idea of where to begin on the neck. It displays how much great music can be played from from the pedal steel with the simple, effective use of a note or two at a time. Keeping it simple goes a long ways sometimes, and this book keeps things from getting to overwhelming. This is a handy book for learning the E9 neck from a more traditional, folky, simple standpoint.
Winnie Winston and Bill Keith:
Pedal Steel Guitar – Considered to be the classic pedal steel instructional book by many, this book is a good primer for diving into steel guitar. It features thoughtful articles that will help you better understand various techniques, and applying them to pedal steel guitar. It has enjoyable pictures, articles, and the tabs range from beginner to advanced. It also describes some of the mechanisms and technical aspects of the instrument itself, which can help demystify the physical aspects of the instrument. It is a thoughtful book, which every steel guitarist can learn something from.
Here are some other books and materials you may be interested in…