c'est formidable comment tout ce qui touche a la steel & a la Zique nous permet de se perféctionner en english
Masters of Pedal Steel Guitar
SECRETS OF THE MASTERS
BUDDY EMMONS, Steel Guitar Forum, March 1998 – HOW TO PRACTICE
“When I look at the strings on my guitar, I see intervals. I see strings 1 and 2, 1 and 3, or 4 and 5 as whole tones apart. I see major thirds, minor thirds, and see which fret to put the bar for a certain note between those intervals. I see fourths, fifths, sixths, and octaves telling me what string to play when I hear those notes in a melody. To make this work, you must be able to recognize intervals when you hear them. I put as much emphasis on the mental part of practice as the physical. … The beauty of hearing and recognizing intervals is that it will work for any tuning or any instrument. That’s why some people can pick up a strange instrument, listen to its intervals and be playing melodies in a manner of minutes.”
JUNIOR BROWN, Guitar Player Magazine, March 1997 – VOLUME PEDAL USE
“The idea I plant in a student’s head is to stay at one volume. The whole idea of a volume pedal is NOT to make volume surges, but to keep your sound even. When you let a note sit for a minute, its natural tendency is to fade away. But you can keep it from decaying by opening up the pedal. On a screaming Les Paul, you’d use distortion and sustain. On steel, you do it by working the volume pedal. You really notice it on a slow tune. You’ve got a certain range of loudness. You swell within that, but not beyond or below it.”
BOB BROZMAN, Guitar Player Magazine, April 1998 – PICKING STYLE
“I imagine there’s a big spring pushing the heel of my picking hand down on the strings. The only way to release the spring is to pluck the string. And as soon as I’m done – depending on note length – the spring clamps down again. With steel, you’ve got to be relaxed with the bar – relaxed as a squid in your arms and fingers. But for plucking, you’ve got to be tense.”
JERRY BYRD – Personal letter, February, 1995 – ON DIATONIC TUNING
“My tuning is a 7-string “near-diatonic” tuning: E, C, B, A, G, F, E … from high to low. The D between the E & C notes would make it a perfect diatonic scale – a “C” scale with the third on top. I play many kinds of songs in it – but mostly the slower things. I’m not a single string style player for the most part.
MICK GOODRICK, The Advancing Guitarist/Hal Leonard Books 1987 – ON LISTENING
There are many ways to listen. Don’t assume that just because you’re a musician, you already know what it means to listen. Learning how to listen is an ongoing activity that you can improve - but only if you work at it. Music is like life on a small scale. Life is like music on a large scale.
STACY PHILIPS, The Art of Hawaiian Steel Guitar, Mel Bay, 1991 – HAWAIIAN VIBRATO
“Listen carefully to the vibrato of players you like. Try to imitate the width and speed of their bar oscillation. In slow to moderately paced tunes, the speed of many Hawaiian-style players approximates triplet timing and a width of a bout ½ fret to either side of the central note.”
JERRY BYRD – HSGA Quarterly, January 1994 – AMP & VOLUME PEDAL SECRETS
“I set the peak volume that I want on the amp – not the instrument. That’s usually about 4.5 or 5, depending on where I’m playing. I then turn the volume on the instrument fully open. I set the treble control on 2 or 3 and the bass to about 7. These setting may vary depending on which instrument I’m using. That other knob (the middle) I set on 6 or 7 also. Then I set the tone control on the instrument half-way between treble and bass, a nice soft tone with a little “edge”, so it won’t sound too bass-ey or too whine-y.
I like and use a volume pedal but NOT continually. And I use it differently from almost anyone I know, in that you can always hear the “attack” – the actual picking – whereas many use it to continually “squeeze” the notes and little or no actual attack is ever heard. That’s not good because you will become addicted to it. Your subconscious mind will tell you to push that thing down and then pick what strings you want to use, and in case you mess up, you’ve got another grab at it, and THEN you open it up. The only time I use a fully closed volume is when I want to use the “violin” effect, as its called, with each note played with no sound and then opened,. My volume pedal is also made differently in that the volume INCREASES on the up sweep, not down, as all others. I find it the easiest and have always done it that way. Also, I use a 500 meg. Audio taper control all around on both guitar and volume pedal.
GERALD WEBBER, 10 AMP TRICKS FOR STEEL GUITARISTS, Vintage Guitar Magazine, 1996
Bonus Trick: Add a piezo tweeter to the speaker cabinet. Piezo tweeters do not need a crossover, they sound nice, and they are very inexpensive. This trick will help add clarity in the high end while helping individual note definition. I’ve even seen players wire a ¼” plug to a piezo tweeter, plug it into the extra speaker jack and just set it on top of the amp!
CINDY CASHDOLLAR – The Complete Dobro Player by Stacy Phillips, Mel Bay, 1996 – LISTENING TIPS
“How do you teach “feel” to students? If you listen to someone who just plays by reading and then someone who plays by ear and rips into an incredible solo that comes from a totally different dimension, then you can tell the difference. Go back to the basics. Listen to Django Reinhardt, Sol Ho’opii, Joaquin Murphy, Bobby Koeffer - there it is. If you set high goals you’re never satisfied with learning that one tune. Soon the vampire-like feeding instinct takes over and you need more and more. You should never stop learning.
HOWARD ROBERTS – Guitar Player Magazine, May 1985 – DOUBLE-STOP ARPEGGIOS & SUBSTITUTIONS
Double stop arpeggios can be of great value in adding harmonic color and depth to your solo lines. Double–stop thirds can be used to embellish chord melodies, where the illusion of lush harmony can be achieved with the addition of one note. With a modest amount of knowledge, you can achieve considerable control by knowing what substitutes work for a given device. For example, in many situations, Imaij7, IIIm7, and VIm7 are interchangeable. IVmai7 substitutes for Iim7 and VIIb5 substitutes for V7.
GREG FISHMAN ON STAN GETZ – Artist Transcriptions, Stan Getz Bb Tenor Saxophone, Hal Leonard, 1993 – THE KEY TO GETZ’S PHRASING
“Extremely resourceful with his phrases, Getz always created different ways to play the same basic theme. The technique he used to achieve this variety was to displace the entire phrase by one to four beats. Stan was comfortable playing a phrase on any of eight starting places; the downbeats of one, two, three, and four, and the upbeats as well. It was this ability to phrase at any of these eight starting points that helped make Getz’s solos sound so fresh and spontaneous.
MIKE AULDRIDGE, Complete Dobro Player by Stacy Phillips, Mel Bay, 1996 – ON LEARNING PEDAL STEEL AFTER PLAYING DOBRO
“The steel opened a lot of musical ideas. Before that I had no idea what I was doing! I played strictly from my heart. I didn’t know anything about music theory. You have to understand theory to play pedal steel. You go through a stage when you think too theoretically and your playing gets kind of sterile. Once you get through that and you can bring your heart back into it, but approach it with knowledge, it gives you like a road map of things to go to. … When I first started to play it sounded like electric Dobro. When I tried to get Buddy Emmons' licks I couldn’t get them. I didn’t know what he was doing. I could come close and I ended up making them mine. I got ideas from him but I didn’t do what he was doing. After a couple of years you can start getting ideas from other instruments. I get pedal steel licks from violin sections.
RALPH KOLSIANA (Hawaiian Steel Pioneer) Steel Guitar World, 1994 –
HOW CAN STEEL PLAYERS PLAY MORE SOULFULLY?
A steel player should try to know the song they're playing so well they're able to put a little more of themselves into it. …. When you're playing a number that you know, you kind of project yourself into playing what you feel and hear, what it is you're trying to say to the listener. You're trying to tell it in your own way.
PETE GRANT – Steel Guitar Forum, 1999 – HOW TO PRACTICE
“Accuracy first. Take something you're trying to bring up to speed (or just get faster) and find the most comfortable tempo where you can play everything in that piece well. If there's a stumbling block, work it out; fix it. Then fan out the tempo: play it a little faster, then a little slower; then play it faster yet and slower yet. Continue that until your slow is very slow. The slow gives you the precision. It also gives you the opportunity to play LOUD with your fingers. This gives you a greater dynamic range. You need that. If you can pick loud, you can always pick softer. If you always pick soft, well...you can pick soft or softer. The technique really works, and it works faster that continually pushing your speed.
BUDDY EMMONS, The Steel Guitar Forum, May 2000 – CROSSOVER TECHNIQUE & PLAYING WITHOUT PICKS
“The crossover technique is not mine nor did I get it from anybody. I believe it's an option most players eventually find when they hit a dead end and run out of fingers.
There is a difference in the tone of the thumb/finger combinations, much to do with strength of attack and/or pick angle. My first finger curves inward and gives more of a ninety-degree angle to the string, so I get a rounder sound with the index/thumb combination. If you want to take some of the zing out of the G# at some point in an E9th ballad, align the middle finger with the thumb. That changes the pick to string angle and moves the middle finger away from the bridge for a sweeter and softer sound.
I still play a bit without picks, but I don't find myself doing anything different in the way of finger positioning. The biggest plus I find in not using picks, outside of a closer feeling to the guitar, is not having metal collide with metal and causing a pick to either shift or fly off my finger. This is especially critical in crossover situations or any other technique that strays from the normal hand position. “
The Steel Guitar Forum, June 2001
“… I'm playing certain songs without finger picks in order to keep the wider four part chords of a more equal timbre. It also helps knock the edge off the high single notes and works especially well with the deep tones the Sierra is capable of. “
WES MONTGOMERY, via Google.com – ON TALENT vs. DETERMINATION
Natural talent? Now, I've had a lot of arguments on this. My interpretation of natural talent, or gift, is something that you don't have to indulge in at all. I mean, like if I was a natural electronic engineer, and you showed me a television set for the first time, I would see right away what was wrong with it. But if I have to study reasons why, and build up my own theory, I'm putting hard efforts into it. Now, over a period of time, I might make that come out where people will respect it. But they won't be going through the hardships - they'll just be seeing it at the point of completion. This is where people have been mistaken about me. They don't know about the times when I'd be sitting up, thinking. If I'd go to a movie show, I'd be looking at the picture, but I'd be hearing changes. You understand? This is how much determination I had for playing.
STACY PHILLIPS – The Complete Dobro Player by Stacy Phillips, Mel Bay, 1996 –
PULL-STRING TECHNIQUE ON DOBRO & LAP STEEL
“I pull with the ring finger of my bar hand, though on heavier strings or 2-fret pulls my pinky adds its brawn. (If you could learn to use your middle finger instead, you could still damp with the other fingers. The problem is that the middle finger helps hold the bar.) There is a tendency for the pulling finger to push the string down a bit as it is pulled toward you. This can cause it to disengage from the bar and stop the sound. It may be necessary to place the pulling finger a bit towards the bottom side of the string and pull up slightly to avoid this. I sometimes use the thumb of my barring hand as a brace against the side of the neck to help exert leverage against the string.
WES MONTGOMERY –INTERVIEW, 1960S – ON PRACTICING
I never practice my guitar. From time to time I just open the case and throw in a piece of raw meat.
JERRY BYRD – SGF –SEPT. 2003 – ON DESIRE VS ABILITY
I’ve stated this several times in articles- DESIRE is the important thing. Desire will keep you going – ability is the result of desire. Ability is improving and continuing to improve as you use the desire to make improvement. In other words the harder you work the luckier you get. If you don’t have the desire to keep you fired up and going then your days are numbered.
Ability comes from desire because you are going to learn something every time you pick it up (guitar). The trouble is when a lot of people “practice” they play stuff they already know and have been playing. You’re not going to learn anything that way. You’ve got to try something new. Don’t be content with what you are already doing. Whatever you are trying to do that is not happening keep trying until it does happen - figure it out. Take it step by step – ask why doesn’t it work, like a reverse slant for instance. What am I doing wrong? .... “I’ll take a student that has 90% desire and 10% talent or ability … you take the student that has 90% talent and 10% desire and I’ll beat you to death with my student. Because mine is going to succeed and yours has given up and quit.
JOHN MCGANN – SGF - NOV 2003 – KNOWING THE MELODY
The reasons I suggest knowing the melody, at least as a point of departure:
1) It's the thing that seperates the hundreds of three chord tunes, whether it's country, bluegrass, oldtime, whatever...
2) Knowing scales and chord tones is essential, but many students just learn them and then paint-by-the-numbers, with no sense of melodic or rhythmic phrasing, development, or musical composition- it can be hot lick spewage very fast if not reigned in by some sense of taste, form, and storytelling-type development. As a student and teacher myself, I experienced it in my own playing and that of the hundreds of students I've worked with. I totally consider myself a student and always will.
3) By learning melodies in any style, you get a sense of the vocabulary specific to that style- for example, what you play on a country tune largely isn't going to make it on a jazz tune- each has their own unique "thang" that should be honored, and the only way to get that thang is to get in there and learn the tunes.
A good example is when a hotshot country player comes in to a bluegrass session and just takes the hot-licks-over-changes approach- it can be very cool in a way, but after the first couple of tunes, there's probably gonna be a lot of repeated ideas that don't relate to the musical vehicles...to me the most exciting playing in that style comes from playing "off" the melody and improvising within the melodic framework, like a great Texas fiddle player like Benny Thomasson, mark O'Connor, Byron Berline etc. would do.
Unless you were "struck by lightning" and born a musical genius (it ain't me, babe), learning other's melodies/interpretations/improvisations is essential to developing your own voice within any given style.
BUDDY EMMONS – SGF – OCT 2003 – ON VIBRATO
For slow songs, I lift the fingers off the strings in back of the bar and use a subtle roll that varies depending on the tempo or feel of the song. I’ve found that when I move the bar from side to side, or place the fingers on the strings in back of the bar, the overtones I like to hear integrated into the sound either diminish or disappear completely. I like to hear a vibrato integrated into the sound only when needed and not treated as a constant you feel is necessary. In time, you relax and your inner feelings dictate the type of vibrato best suited for what you’re playing. In the mean time, if it hurts when you do it a certain way, don’t do it that way.
JIM HALL – JAZZ.COM INTERVIEW – 2008 – ON MAKING MUSIC
John Lewis had this School for jazz at the end of summer for three weeks up in Lenox Massachusetts. At the end of one three week session he was talking to the graduates and a couple of guys asked if there were any gigs out there? John said: “Wait, wait, you got it backwards”
What he was saying was that music gives you so much already. What the hell else do you want? This is your reward right here just being involved. And it is really just stunning what you can get out of music. It’s unique; it’s yours and its something to be cherished. Making a living is an added bonus occasionally, but I think you already have quite a bit if you can play.
BUDDY EMMONS – SGF – MARCH 2002 – ON FINGERPICKS
Assuming the band of the pick fits comfortably around the finger, there are two angles in the pick blade that can give you an uncomfortable feeling while playing. If the angle is too straight, it will drag against the string, and when bent too far, the blade surface has little string resistance and slides off the string too easily. Either angle can affect your timing. Somewhere in between is the angle that allows the blade surface to slide comfortably off the string, but creates just enough resistance to offer a slight snap in the feel without the drag.
CINDY CASHDOLLAR – PUREHOMEMUSIC BLOG 2009 - HOW TO WORK WITH SINGER/SONGWRITERS
It makes it interesting. You have to just use your ear, and just kind of weave in and out. And it becomes really interesting to try to support, musically, what they're playing, as well as vocally, but not get in their way. Because you never, as a sideman, want to get in anybody's way.
ITZHAK PERLMAN - VIOLINIST.COM – 2007 – HOW TO PRACTICE
I recommend not over-practicing. After five hours, the brain loses its capacity to absorb anything. Don't practice blindly. You have to have a reason to practice, something particular to accomplish. Put as much music into your practicing as possible, so it’s not all technical work. Technique must make a connection with the music you are making.
BUDD ISAACS – UNPUBLISHED INTERVIEW – 2007 - COUNTRY PEDAL STEEL ORIGINS
I figured out this kind of tuning by listening to Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys. There were three fiddles where one would stay the same note and the others would change around it. I was trying to get that sound and I finally figured it out.
BILL FRISELL – ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM 2009 – THE POWER OF MELODY
When I first started getting into jazz, I studied what was going on with the music theoretically and would look at things more in a mathematical way. I would look at the chords and learn what the chord tones were, what the scales were. But somewhere along the way, I tried to understand all the inner workings of the melody. If the melody isn't there, then it really doesn't mean anything. It's also where it gets harder to explain. With every song, I'm trying to internalize the melody so strong that that's the backbone for everything that I am playing no matter how abstract it becomes. Sometimes I'll just play the melody over and over again and try to vary it slightly. It's really coming from that, like trying to make the melody the thing that's generating all the variations rather than some kind of theoretical mathematical approach.
SPEEDY WEST – INTERVIEW – GRITS RADIO BLOG – CIRCA 1979 – INSPIRATION FROM CARTOONS
I heard Woody Woodpecker – or I may have been sittin’ in a movie, I can’t remember – but the idea come for this (sings Woody Woodpecker theme) Doodly Dah Ho, Doodly Da Ho. That Woody Woodpecker thing? I thought, “There ought to be a way I can write an instrumental around that”. It took off from there and that’s how I got the idea for Woody Woodpecker’s ride in This Ain’t The Blues.
JERRY DOUGLAS – CHEIFNODA.COM – OVERCOMING MUSICAL PLATEAUS
I started playing a long time ago and you would fall into thinking
that there's nothing more to learn after a while. The truth is that you are only at a rest stop and there's a long way to go. So you ought to keep in mind that there's no end in learning. A number of folks stop playing once they reach a certain stage and they feel the limit. You must overcome this and then you can reach a higher level. I've been playing for [over] thirty years and I still feel like I'm stuck and getting nowhere. It often changes when I play with others and I get some new ideas or when I get inspired. So my advice is not to give up and
stick with it.
CHARLIE PARKER – CMGWW.COM - 1940’S – MUSICAL PHILOSOPHY
Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art.
PAUL FRANKLIN – SGF – 2003 – ON SPEED & TECHNIQUE
This speed question always comes up when I teach. The students play wonderful ballads and then they ask about learning technique so they can play fast. I tell them "you're already playing with great technique". I give them a three chord progression and ask them to "play fast through these changes". I quickly see their frustration as they screw it up. I then ask, "What were they thinking while soloing?" They always say "I'm confused" or "I'm not sure about what to play"? I then point out to them that their lack of knowledge is their obstacle not the lack of technique.
Its a rare thing to find any player that can not move his/her fingers at a fast pace. Speed does NOT come through a blocking technique although the excuse of technique is often what you hear from the not so fast players. Speed does come from an individual’s retainable and quickly accessible knowledge of the fretboard.
For instance; I can play fast, but if I start playing through changes with scales that I am not as familiar with I will screw it up. This happens because my memory doesn't work as fast as my fingers are able to move. When this happens it tells me I need more study...NOT technique. Playing fast is all about balance between my memory and the various tempos of songs. I can still remember struggling to hit whole notes on songs like Faded love when I was learning how to play. I overcame that through redundant practicing. A fast improviser doesn't have time to think about where the correct notes of chords are and how things are played while they play fast songs. A lack of knowledge causes the missed strings not the lack of technique. Technique is only the means to play notes clean and precise. Technique is not the shortcut or an excuse for becoming a fast player. Don't be afraid to start learning the instrument with whatever technique you feel the most comfortable with. Every technique is sufficient.
JERRY BYRD – SGF – 2004 – MAKING THE MOST OF WHAT YOU’VE GOT
Some wanted to know if I tweaked the pick-ups in my old Rickenbacher. I don’t know what they are talking about. I NEVER messed with the pick-ups at all. What is not realized is that I was playing day-to-day. I put whatever kind of strings I had-not having to go buy them. If I had the guitar with the first three strings all 16 gauge and most likely I did that at times because I used what I had on hand and probably didn’t have a 15 gauge string. It may not have sounded as good but I used them anyway. We just made do with what we had on hand at times.