Pedal Steel Practice Tips - Bar, Picks, Amp, and Seat

How To Control the Bar: The Five Essential Ingredients

When practicing bar control, there are numerous aspects at play that a player can keep in mind. These different parts combine to make up how a player controls the bar, and what the resulting sound is. Below are some various parts of controlling the bar, which I call “The Five Essential Ingredients”, and can be studied during practice:

The Five Essential Ingredients:

1)  moving between positions, and stopping at them

2)  staying at the correct angle at a position (usually a straight line),

3)  covering the intended strings of a position,

4)  putting bar pressure against the strings to sustain notes (when in position),          -AND-

5)  creating the desired vibrato effect at a position


How to Control the Bar for Pedal Steel Guitar

If you play the E9 neck, chances are that your use of the pedals and levers to make note movements has taken away precious time from moving the bar.  The C6 tradition is much more involved with bar control, and the E9 neck evolved from this tradition…

However both the E9 and C6 necks are loaded with bar control opportunities, and manipulating the bar on the E9 neck can yield great rewards.  Listen and take a look at “Bud’s Bounce” on the E9 neck to hear lots of bar movement coupled with pedal work.  The West Coast style of playing also seems to have a “bounce” to it, made possible by bar control and pedal work.  Check out this article on bar movement… Moving Between Positions


Click below for a Visual Tour of Bar Control:

Pictures of the Bar Hand and Controlling the Bar