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Here are some videos of professional pedal steel players that capture important elements of pedal steel music, sounds, playing, or techniques…
Click to jump to Buddy Emmons, Greg Leisz, Paul Franklin
I have never found a video better than this one, that demonstrates the true capabilities of this instrument in the hands of a master. In particular, Emmons shows that a pedal steel can hold it’s own without supporting instrumentation!
If Jerry Byrd was the master of touch and tone, then Greg Leisz is a modern equivalent. There aren’t many players that can make so much sound, out of something so simple, at just the right time. I love Greg’s approach to “textural” playing. He creates a great atmosphere within songs, while still having the ability to get down and dirty when the song calls for it.
This video is a great demonstration of the big sound he gets, from playing such smooth stuff. His volume pedal technique is some of the best in the world. This is one of thousands of sessions he’s done over the years.
Here’s a more modern approach on the pedal steel, which Greg is good at. This is him playing with Daft Punk in the studio. He has a great ability to add tasteful pedal steel to music that usually isn’t associated with this instrument.
Not only is Paul an amazingly talented player, he also has a great drive and work-ethic. I love his approach to playing; he has a big heart, you can just tell from his music. Here is a video of him that displays just how much pedals and knee levers can do to make the pedal steel cry.
Paul can shred it with the best of them too. Here his solo starts close to 1:11 mark.
Favorite Gear & Accessories
Thanks for checking out this article. I hope it is helpful as you continue to play this captivating instrument. Here are some of the things I use for pedal steel that I recommend to players looking for this type of gear…
I’ve used many of these specific items professionally for the last 10 years, and they are also used by other pedal steel players. They are some of my favorite things to use for pedal steel:
- Volume Pedal: Goodrich’s L-120 LowBoy (available on Amazon)
- Tuner: Peterson StroboStomp HD (available on Amazon) or Peterson StroboClip HD Clip-On (available on Amazon)
- Strings for E9 Tuning: Emmons Signature Strings (available on Amazon)
- Tone Bar: Dunlop’s 920 Stainless Steel (available on Amazon)
- Finger Picks: National NP2 Nickel-Silver (available on Amazon)
- Thumb Pick: Fred Kelly Slick Pick (available on Amazon)
- Nylon Pedal Tuning Tool: 3/16″ Klein Nut Driver (available on Amazon)
- Pedal Steel Seat: Steeler’s Choice (link to their website)
- Cables: Mogami’s Gold 3ft Cable (link to Amazon) and Mogami’s Gold 18ft Cable (click to view on Amazon)
- Amplifier: Fender ’68 Custom Twin Reverb (available on Amazon)
Also, visit the recommended gear page if you’re interested in delay pedals, finger picks, t-shirts, etc.
For more playing tips and ideas, check out this post on Buddy Emmons…
Buddy Emmons’ Characteristics: How They Can Improve your Playing