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Learn To Play C6 Lap Steel Guitar: For Absolute Beginners To Intermediate Level

Learn To Play C6 Lap Steel Guitar: For Absolute Beginners To Intermediate Level

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Learn To Play C6 Lap Steel Guitar: For Absolute Beginners To Intermediate Level

5/5 (4 valutazioni)
218 pagine
1 ora
May 26, 2014


From Scribd: About the Book

The lap steel guitar breaks musical boundaries across multiple genres, including folk, blues, country, rock, and pop. With so many varying unique sounds, the lap steel guitar is an innovative and versatile instrument., one that's becoming increasingly popular in the industry.

Learn To Play C6 Lap Steel Guitar: For Absolute Beginners To Immediate Level by Joe Dochtermann takes you through the intricacies of learning to play this unique instrument. While the basics of the instrument might be familiar to those with guitar experience, there are nuances specific to the C6 lap steel that will take some more in-depth understanding. Learn chords, chart reading, scales, licks, and techniques of the C6 lap guitar while learning music theory’s depths. Get through the fundamentals until you are eventually playing a collection of six example pieces written specifically for this book.

Author Joe Dochtermann is known for his previous works on DVD and books about guitar playing and home recording techniques. This newest book in his collection matches his style, tone, and thoroughness of explaining the instrument at its core.

May 26, 2014

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Learn To Play C6 Lap Steel Guitar - Joe Dochtermann

Learn To Play C6 Lap Steel Guitar

For Absolute Beginners To Intermediate Level

by Joe Dochtermann Copyright 2014

Smashwords Edition

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents

Part One: Theory And Technique


About The Instrument


A Music Theory Primer

Reading Tablature

Right-Hand Technique

Left-Hand (Bar) Technique

Tone: Pickups, Amplifiers, And Effects

Practical Examples

Chords In Action

The Nashville Numbers System

Scales And Picking Technique

Advanced Chord And Scale Shapes

Part Two: Musical Examples

Introduction To The Examples

Amazing Grace

Green Grass Of Home

Slow Blues In G

Slow Pop Progression in G

Rock Blues In A

Stealing Helmes

Appendix: Practice Materials

Author’s Note

1. Introduction

(Return To Contents)

The lap steel is a versatile instrument, most often associated with Country, Blues, Western Swing, and Hawaiian music, but often making surprise appearances in pop, rock, and other genres. The lap steel is available as both an acoustic and electric instrument, and in a variety of tunings, and this eBook focuses on the six-string Lap Steel, tuned to the C6 tuning (C-E-G-A-C-E).

You will find that the C6 tuning is quite flexible - we will learn to play pieces in a variety of styles from blues to country, western swing, and even blues/rock. Additionally, switching to other tunings and instruments with more strings is not difficult once you learn your way around the C6 tuning. You'll learn a bit of applied music theory as we go, which also applies to instruments beyond the lap steel. These concepts will help you become a tasteful player, communicate with other musicians, and compose your own pieces, as well.

This eBook (and the matching DVD, if you have ordered it) will teach you all the left- and right-hand techniques you need (chord grips, using the bar, slants, vibrato, bending, and more), all the basic chord and scale forms, how to follow chord progressions in any key, chord voice leading, melodic/solo licks, and a variety of tips and tricks to help you on your way to becoming an adept player. We'll also work through several songs and chord progressions that focus on specific aspects of playing the lap steel. Learning by doing, you might say.

There are also audio examples available, which you may download from our website. I cannot post the link here, since it would appear in numerous eBook previews, so you simply need to follow the link in Chapter 6.

If you have ordered this eBook and are interested in adding the DVD, please contact us at with your order receipt, and we will send you an invoice with the price you paid for the eBook credited towards the DVD.

Thank you for your support, and I hope you enjoy the musical journey of learning to play this versatile instrument!


2. About The Instrument

(Return To Contents)

The C6 lap steel is a six-stringed instrument, with the lowest string (the string closest to your body when playing) tuned to the C below middle C, and the following strings tuned to the next higher successive E, G, A, C, and E notes.

As the name suggests, the lap steel is played with the instrument lying on the player's lap, on a small table, or supported at a similar height by legs or a stand. The strings are plucked using the fingers or finger picks, and moving a steel bar horizontally along the strings changes the pitches of the notes.

Image: Dunlop Finger Picks

I personally prefer to pluck the strings using the fingers of my right hand, but this is a personal preference and varies from player to player. You may want to try a set of finger picks and see if that appeals to you. You will achieve a different tone with picks than fingers, and this choice will contribute to your sound.

As we go, I will often refer to parts of the Lap Steel for orientation. It's important to know all the parts of your instrument for many reasons, from ordering a replacement or upgrade part to communicating with other musicians. Here is a picture of a lap steel guitar, with major parts labeled:

Unlike a regular guitar, the lap steel is held (not surprisingly) on your lap.

You should sit so that your thighs are parallel to the floor (that is, straight out from the waist to the knee). This way the lap steel will not slip down as you play. Then place the lap steel so that the middle of the instrument - about where the neck joins the body - is centered across your legs. The headstock of the lap steel should be off to the left, the pickup and bridge off to the right. Oriented this way, the lowest pitched (and thickest) string, the low C-string, will be closest to your body. Like this:

We change the pitch of the open strings by using a steel bar, which you hold in your left hand. By placing the bar on the strings, you shorten the length of string that is vibrating, thus raising the pitch. Almost all the notes the lap steel produces are played in this way; there will be just a few exceptions, which we'll cover later (bending strings).

Note: If you are left-handed, you may choose to string the instrument in reverse, and turn it so that you hold the bar in your right hand and pluck the strings with your left. This is how some left-handed guitarists, for example, adapt their playing style. It is simple mirror-reversed from how right-handed players play.


3. Tuning

(Return To Contents)

Unlike fretted or keyed instruments (guitar, piano) the lap steel requires that you control the bar accurately to produce the proper pitches, much as a violin or viola player must seek the proper position to be in tune. This may seem daunting at first, but it's not as difficult as you think. First, there are guide markers, which I call frets to help you visually find the pitch you need. I also recommend that you buy a digital tuner (the Snark tuner, for example) that you can refer to for checking the intonation of your playing, especially at the outset. You may find it difficult to hear if you are playing sharp or flat (too high or too low) from the pitch you need, and the digital tuner will tell you what the problem is!

As I mentioned in the previous section, the C6 lap steel is tuned to the notes (from low to high) C, E, G, A, C, E.

If you're at all familiar with music theory, you may recognize that this tuning consists of a C major chord followed by an A minor chord. Don't worry if this is not familiar to you, we'll cover the music theory you need in the next chapter.

So, if you play all the open strings of the C6 lap steel - that is, without placing the bar anywhere on the strings - you will hear a C6 chord.

The notes C, E, G, A, C, and E all played together make up a C major chord with an added 6th, C6. This is where the name of the tuning comes from, not because there are six strings on the instrument (some lap- and pedal steels have more strings).

Let's get started - I'll assume that you don't have any experience at all tuning an instrument and we'll go through the stringing and tuning process step by step.

The first step is to get the proper strings for C6 lap steel! String sets vary widely for different tunings, so you can't just grab any old set that says Lap Steel and put them on your axe. Here is a picture of the set I prefer:

C6 lap steel strings are not as commonly available as guitar strings, so your best bet is probably ordering online. The best price I found recently was from Chicago Music Exchange, but Ebay and Amazon may also have the right set for you. Be sure to check that you're not ordering a 10-string set, but (as pictured above) a 6-string set.

Alternately, you can buy individual electric guitar strings and create your own set of C6 strings. Since electric lap steel functions exactly as an electric guitar does, electric guitar strings are the proper choice. Simply buy a wound .036 and .030 string, and then plain (unwound) strings for the rest of the gauges: .026, .020, .017, and .015.

A string winder will also come in handy - this is a handy and inexpensive tool for stringing guitars that makes winding strings a lot easier:

The next step is stringing up your instrument. Some lap steels have a headstock like a typical acoustic guitar, with pins oriented vertically:

Others are

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  • (5/5)
    Easy to follow and apply the tectonics. Helped me learn the basics....