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Many instruments require some accessories to fully utilize the capabilities of playing them, and pedal steel guitar is no different. There are actually quite a bit of accessories that are considered customary for playing pedal steel guitar.
Pedal steel players usually use a bar, picks for the fingers and thumb, a volume pedal, and a steel seat when playing. Also, it is usually necessary to have strings, cables, a tuner, tuning wrench, and some other accessories on hand while you play.
Because the cost of entry for playing pedal steel can often be high due to the cost of the instrument itself, you’ll definitely want to consider what accessories you’ll need to use while playing. Also, getting the right accessories to suit your preferences and style of playing can be beneficial for feeling comfortable as you play.
Let’s take a look at accessories for pedal steel guitar, and why it can be beneficial to know more about them…
What Types of Accessories Do Most Players Use?
Although a working pedal steel, a bar, and amplification are really the only things that are truly necessary for playing a pedal steel guitar, there are accessories that can affect the quality and comfort of your playing. Furthermore, some accessories can play a vital part in the sound you get from your instrument.
Most pedal steel players will use the following accessories with their pedal steel…
- Bar (Sometimes referred to as a tone bar)
- Finger and Thumb Picks
- Volume Pedal
- Tuning Wrench (may be referred to as a tuning key)
- Steel Seat, Chair, or Bench
- Extra Strings
- String Winder (for changing strings)
- Pedal Steel Case
For maintenance of the pedal steel it is usually a good idea to have a type of oil or lubrication that is suitable for metal on metal contact surfaces. I recommend using a certain type of turbine oil for this, which can often be found at Ace Hardware stores and is designed for the maintenance of aircrafts.
Here are some other things that can be worthwhile to have on hand while you play…
- Effects Pedals
- Power Supply for Effects Pedals
- Pedal Board for Effects Pedals and Tuner
- Pedal Stand for Pedal Board
- Long Surge Protector (for Plugging In Active Volume Pedals, Pedalboard Power Supply, and Amp)
- Ear Plugs or Hearing Protection
- Music Stand, Pencil, and Paper for Rehearsals
- Pliers for Shaping Picks or Other Uses
- Tool to Clip Strings With
As you can see there can be a lot of accessories and gear to utilize for playing pedal steel guitar. If you are on a budget for playing the instrument, it can be a good idea to first make sure you have a pedal steel you enjoy playing and that stays in tune well.
Then, try to find a tone bar, an amp you can use, and finger and thumb picks if you’d like to use them (traditionally most players use these picks). After you obtain these, you can slowly build up your accessories and gear over time.
Finding and purchasing accessories and gear for the pedal steel can be an enjoyable process, and will give you opportunities to customize your setup for what suits your playing and sound.
Where To Find and Buy Pedal Steel Accessories
Nowadays, many pedal steel accessories can be purchased online, which can be a really handy and convenient way to acquire them. Most music stores don’t carry much inventory (if anything at all) for pedal steel guitar because of the low amount of players in the world compared to more popular instruments.
If you do find pedal steel accessories in a music store, you’ll usually come across gear that is made for other instruments as well. This includes finger and thumb picks, cables, string winders, music stands, tuners, effects pedals, and sometimes tone bars.
You can also come across used pedal steel accessories and gear from other players. There is a good chance that if you purchase a used pedal steel guitar from another player that they may give you some free accessories along with the instrument.
If you’re looking for specific accessories, or just to acquire some that you may be interested in, than checking Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist routinely can be worthwhile.
Storing and Using Your Accessories
Acquiring and using your pedal steel accessories can be a fun process, however you’ll also want to think about how you’re going to store and utilize them as you play and travel with your equipment. Usually a steel seat can hold a lot of your playing accessories, and you’ll likely be able to fit some accessories into your pedal steel case if you choose.
Investing in a small case, like Pelican’s 1510 case (click to view on Amazon), can be worthwhile if you gig or travel with your pedal steel. This case can be a great option for holding a small pedal board and other accessories, and has a handle and wheels for easy transporting. You can customize and shape the inside foam of the case to protect and hold your pedal steel accessories, which can be very handy and efficient when setting up and breaking down your gear.
As you’re actually sitting behind your pedal steel to play, you can store your bar and picks on the body of the pedal steel (if you’d like to) while you’re not actually playing. The bar can often fit and rest well on the top of the strings on the head stock of your pedal steel, and your picks can lay in front of or behind the neck of the steel guitar.
You may see some players that have installed or clipped a holder or tray to one of their pedal steel legs, which can be another option for holding accessories as you play.
The pedal steel guitar is a very versatile instrument from a sonic standpoint, however it is also very adaptable in a player’s hands and the accessories/gear they choose to use. It can be true that no two pedal steel players sound exactly alike, and the same can be true for steel guitar players’ accessories: it is likely that you’ll never come across two pedal steel players that use exactly the same stuff.
This is what makes the process of acquiring and using your accessories for pedal steel guitar so enjoyable, as it can be a great way to add more characteristics and options to your sound.
Thanks for checking out this page, hope it is helpful and makes playing more enjoyable! If you’re interested in diving deeper into playing chords and scales on E9 pedal steel, check out these guides…
The Chord Guide for E9 Pedal Steel (E-Book, Digital Download)
Learn the chords on the E9 neck in a way that makes playing simple and enjoyable…
- Almost Every Chord You’ll Ever Need for E9
- Intuitive and Easy to Use
- Make Use of Pedal and Lever Combinations
- Example Tabs of Chord Movements
- Easily Utilize the Nashville Number System
- Great For Any Key and Style of Music
Includes a bonus section of over a hundred pages of extra chord charts, key references, and more!
More Digital Downloads for Pedal Steel…
The Scale Book for E9 Pedal Steel
Over 1,000 Pages with Tabs and Diagrams!
- Easy to Use Reference for Practicing
- All Major and Minor Pentatonic Scales, Modes, Major Scales
- All Keys, and Covers the Fretboard
- Includes Pockets of Scales
The Art of Right Hand Technique
A detailed look at one of the most challenging and mysterious aspects of steel guitar playing: the right hand…
- An In-Depth Guide to Picking and Blocking
- How to Efficiently and Accurately Play Notes on Steel Guitar with Info, Advice, and Tips…
- Great for Pedal Steel, Lap Steel, and Console Steel Guitar
- Over 100 Pages with Graphics, Illustrations, & Practice Exercises
200 Country Riffs & Licks for E9 Pedal Steel
Add these country licks to your playing repertoire…
- Easy to Read Format
- Includes Rhythmic Notation
- Playing Over Chord Changes
- Great for Country, Alt-Country, & Honky-Tonk Styles
The Elixir of E9 Pedal Steel: Harmonized 6ths