Lap and Pedal Steel Guitars: Iconic Country Sounds

As any country music lover knows, there are few musical instruments that are more distinct than the steel guitar. Available in both lap and pedal models, this instrument has become a staple of traditional country music and can also be heard on many blues and rock recordings. You can find your next new or used steel guitar for sale on eBay.

Difference between pedal and lap steel guitars

Pedal steel and lap steel guitars are both capable of producing the trademark sound that the instrument is known for. A steel guitar for sale that is situated atop a console is known as a pedal steel. Pedals are attached to the guitar from below so that the musician can operate them with a foot for more diverse sounds. The lap steel is a guitar without the console and pedal attachments. It is meant to be placed across the lap and played from a seated position. The lap steel predates the pedal steel and was first used in Hawaii. Both guitars are commonly played with a pick and a slide.

Do these guitars require amplification?

This guitar is an instrument that requires an amplifier in order to produce sound. These guitars are made of a solid body that produces sound via an electric pickup. Without an amplifier, it is not possible to render the classic slide sound of the guitar. Any amplifier for a standard electric guitar will work with the lap steel or pedal steel. When you buy an affordable steel guitar, you will probably need to purchase the amplifier separately.

What makes the sound of these guitars unique

Steel guitars were designed to share characteristics with the human voice. To achieve this similarity, the instrument allows for the playing of glissandi and vibrati notes. These sliding, resonant notes give the steel guitar its iconic whine that is heard on many country music recordings.

Can regular electric guitar strings be used on a steel instrument?

The steel guitar has a neck that accommodates 12 or 14 strings. This arrangement requires the musician to use string sets that have been specially designed for the steel guitar. Standard electric guitar strings will not have all the necessary gauges for use on the steel. Pedal steel guitars for sale may or may not include string sets.

Music genres with the sounds of steel guitars

The steel guitar was originally developed for island music and later used in the country and western genre. It is now used in many other musical styles, which include:

  • Church music
  • Jazz
  • Traditional Indian music
  • Fusion