Steel Guitar News

Hello fellow players,

I’ve had many questions concerning pick blocking. I’m hardly one to ask because I really don’t pick block knowingly. Of course, I do pick block, especially on medium tempo and slower tunes, but since I don’t wear picks I don’t get a clank or pick noise when I play.

I definitely feel that a person should make his own choice when it comes to using picks or not. I feel sure that everyone should use a thumbpick anyway. When it comes to fingerpicks, you can sure be a great player without them. Buddy Emmons, Randy Beavers and myself have proven this on steel guitar and most all lead guitar players prove it on regular guitar.

When it comes to picking and deadening strings both with the picking hand, it doesn’t really matter how you do it. As a matter of fact, I know some awfully great players that don’t pick block at all and even get offended if you ask them about it. Then there are others like myself that believe that over time, you will automatically become a pick blocker and end up doing it very well without any conscious effort.

Studying how to do it and then practicing it may be the strange way to do it, but it seems that’s what everybody wants to do. If you have a camera that you can turn on and leave on so you can watch your right hand in motion, then turn it on, aim very closely at your right hand, play a lot of things that you know for about ten minutes, then play the camera back and watch how you deaden the strings after you pick them.

What you are doing might be the right step. I kind of subscribe to the Russ Hicks theory and that is do not deaden the strings at all in any way, let each vibrating string run right into the next vibrating note. This will help your tone, make you sound faster, round out chords and keep you from sounding jerky. Try playing without deadening any strings. I think you’ll sound much better immediately.

Every day I get the question, “I need to buy a good dependable but very inexpensive guitar so which student guitar do you recommend?”

To be honest, I recommend something a lot better than a student guitar. The GFI Expo single with no pad is the most perfect inexpensive guitar to learn on that there is. You can add or take off pedals, knee levers, all the professional GFI parts fit on it, the price is very low and it is overall the most economical guitar you can buy for a first guitar.

Being totally expandable for knee levers and pedals makes it an ideal first guitar that you won’t outgrow until you want a double neck. I can sell you these guitars at a special beginner discount rate. You’d be foolish to buy a student guitar instead of one of these.

Also when it comes to trading in for a larger, double neck professional guitar, I can give you 100% of your investment toward this purchase. This is the same as having a free guitar while you’re learning. What could be more economical than that?

Non-pedal guitars, sometimes referred to as lapsteels, are really a different instrument from the pedal guitars. One cannot replace the other, however many people really love the sound and don’t mind the limitations of the non-pedal steel guitar.

Non-pedal steel guitar is an instrument that everything can be played on, but it requires a little more finesse with your hands because you have no pedals to bend the notes. However it is not a limited instrument. Any song can be played by mastering slants and reverses. I personally get great pleasure out of playing non-pedal steel guitars. As a matter of fact, we have a video showing and telling how you can be a master of non-pedal. There are several non-pedal players today, like Maurice Anderson and Randy Beavers and of course the incredible Tommy White, that are so good they should be arrested.

Learning and playing most of these instruments will make you a much more valuable steel guitarist to anybody that hires you and let’s face it, Hawaiian music with pedals is sort of sacrilegious. Non-pedal steel guitars should be used for the songs of the islands exclusively.

It’s hard to find a good rock n roll band that doesn’t have a non-pedal steel somewhere on the stage. I’m very glad to see this. A lot of rockers are hearing and feeling the love of these guitars the way us old western swingers did back in the forties and fifties. We always try to keep a stock of high quality non-pedal guitars.

Fender is a brand that you can buy low and sell high because they’ve been appreciating for years because of their association with the Fender lead guitars. National and Gibson are very close behind. Just make sure you have the legs for the guitar and all pickups and tuning keys work. Of course, we at Steel Guitar Nashville service all these guitars.

Check out our monthly specials at and we’ll try to save you a lot of money.

Your buddy,

Steel Guitar Nashville
123 Mid Town Court
Hendersonville, TN. 37075
(615) 822-5555
Open 9AM – 4PM Monday – Friday
Closed Saturday and Sunday

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