Pedal Steel Guitar

Pedal Steel GuitarPedal Steel guitar is as synonymous with country music as cowboy hats and tight-fitting jeans. Some say you really can’t have a true country band without a pedal steel guitar. The original idea for this instrument came not from Nashville though but from Hawaii.

Hawaiians are said to have had guitars since the early 1800s, brought to the islands by Mexican/Californio vaquero and Portuguese workers from the island of Madeira. The Hawaiians quickly adapted these European guitars to their own needs - creating their own unique tunings and inventing the "slack key" method of tuning which slackened the keys to change the tuning to a variation of an open chord.

Paul Bigsby is said to be the first to make pedal steel guitars with pedals mounted between the front legs of the instrument. Zane Beck added knee levers which lowered the pitches of the strings they operated while the pedals raised the pitch. Bud Isaacs was the first to record a hit record with a pedal steel guitar: Webb Pierce’s song, Slowly. Country music would never be the same again.