Recording pedal steel can be tricky, from both an engineer’s standpoint and player’s standpoint. Although you can actually get a great tone from recording direct, if you use the right equipment. This makes recording at home easier, and more affordable.
It may be worthwhile to invest in some home recording equipment: for improving your practicing and technique, as well as for getting paying work.
If you get the right equipment, and spend some time learning how to properly manipulate it, then you can make great quality recordings from your practice room. With the Internet, you can easily overdub and send professional-quality pedal steel for clients’ recordings. You never know who in your neighborhood may want some steel on their tracks!
I recommend and use the Digidesign 003 rack+ unit, and run it into an old MacBook Pro. I use ProTools because it is commonly used in professional studios, and it is included with the unit I believe. I usually run my pedal steel directly out of the XLR output on my Nashville 112 amp into the Digi003. You don’t need a microphone with this setup!
Here’s a pic of the unit; showing how portable it is, for sounding as “big” as it does. It is sitting on top of my large pedalboard’s road case, which can serve as a nice table in your practice area. All that’s needed now is a computer on top of it, some cables/cords hooked up, and some good ole’ pedal steel playing.
Recording yourself can really put your playing under the microscope. While embarrassing at first, it can really humble you and show you areas of your playing that need improvement, which you wouldn’t have noticed before. Especially good for noticing playing on time (can you play with a click track?), playing cleanly, and volume pedal technique.
Click here for audio recordings I have made with this setup from home.