VIDEO: Steve Fishell explains how pedal steel guitar works
Watch the video to see Steve Fishell demonstrate how his ZumSteel D-10's mechanisms can make magically expressive sounds.
Steve walks us round the instrument, explaining why - in the world of pedal steel - a guitarist's legs aren't just used for knee slides, but for changing pitch. We got excited when he told us there was a bar involved, but it turns out that's just another of the note-forming tools that makes pedal steel such a tough but rewarding discipline...
"The pedal steel is really simply a horizontal guitar tuned to a chord with pedals and knee levers that allow you to alter the chord that it's tuned to," Steve explains. "It's basically tuned to an open E chord on the outside neck, which is E, G#, B - just the way you have an open E chord on a regular guitar.
"Actually, the neck most commonly heard in recorded music today is called the E9 tuning. The floor pedals and knee levers allow you to alter that chord just as a guitarist would if they were playing a barred chord and wanted to add a 7th or a 9th or whatever."