So far, I’ve mentioned the ease of learning to play a few instruments. In order of “easiest to learn” to “most difficult”…IMHO…they are: dobro, bass, pedal steel, guitar, and banjo. Let me qualify that statement! I’m talking about learning chords and chord progressions only (as in rhythm or accompaniment). When it comes to the dexterity of playing melody lines on these instruments, that’s a different story! I’m not sure I would attempt to rank them from easiest to most difficult. A lot more music theory goes into following a melody line than it does in playing accompaniment.
I said all of that to say…believe it or not…the pedal steel ranks third on my scale of easiest instrument to play. Why? Again, I’m talking in terms of making chords. In a way, it’s like the dobro. You lay the bar across all strings in one fret to make a chord. I know what you’re going to ask! “What about all of those pedal and levers?!” Pedals and knee-levers simplify life! Let’s say you have the bar on the third fret, which makes a G chord. Watch this magic! Push the first pedal and the chord magically changes to E-minor! Push only the second pedal and the G chord transforms to a G-sus4! Push both the first and second pedal together (with one foot no less) and you’ve transformed the G chord to a complete C chord! Likewise, the knee-levers can transform that lowly G chord into a B-minor, a diminished, and with the help of those same pedals, 7th’s, 9th’s and augmented chords…AND YOU HAVEN’T EVEN MOVED THE BAR! How easy is that?! And you didn’t have to remember fifty different finger positions!
WHAT?! You’ve never heard a pedal steel guitar?! Click the the sound bar below!
If you are still deciding on which instrument you want to learn, contact us at Stringbender Music and we’ll be glad to give you a free introduction to the instruments mentioned above!