Bar Pressure for Steel Guitar

Bar Pressure for Steel Guitar

When a player puts bar pressure against the strings to sustain notes, they should usually do so with an equal force on all the strings being sounded. This entails keeping equilibrium and balance in mind; in other words, one should remember not to push too hard on the nose of the bar, or too hard on the heel of the bar. To create a good equilibrium, as well as a good amount of pressure downward on the strings, a player will usually push the bar down in an area closer to the nose-half of the bar.  For equilibrium, a player can balance or stabilize this by using the rest of the index finger, and some of the thumb and middle finger, to create a balanced pressure throughout the length of the bar.

Nose of Bar for Pressure - Pedal Steel Guitar

-Putting a proper amount of pressure on the bar, against the strings

A proper amount of bar pressure, or the amount of force you should push downward on the strings, should be enough so that the strings don’t buzz, and not too much where you raise the pitch excessively and mess with your intonation. You want to find a balance between pushing hard enough so that the strings can sustain for a long duration if a player wants them to, but not so hard that the steel guitar can’t stay in tune with the music, or itself. Be graceful, but don’t be afraid to use enough force to get good sustain from the instrument.

Bar Pressure and Control for Pedal Steel Guitar

Learn more about other important parts of Bar Control…

Movement Between Positions


Covering String Groups

Keeping the Bar Straight

View a Picture Gallery of Controlling the Bar…

Bar Control and Bar Hand Pictures