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Dobro Lessons: Introduction to Lap Steel

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This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Dobro & Lap Steel with Andy Hall. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Dobro Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

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[MUSIC]
Hey everyone, how are you?
Welcome to my Lap Steel Curriculum, really
excited to get some of these lessons up,
been wanting to do this for awhile.
So glad you're here and we're just gonna
go through getting started on the lap
steel, some real basic stuff.
Just how to hold it.
You know, a little bit about the gear, do
a few lessons like that.
Eventually we'll get into some songs,
playing along.
So, the main thing is, you know, for these
lessons, I'm using a six string lap steel,
so, there's a wide variety of lap steels
out there.
Old, new all, all different types.
But you know for these lessons, I'm gonna
be using a six string and
you know you just want to have it on your
lap.
You want to be comfortable, you know,
be in a chair that that gives you sort of
good posture.
And yes, it should just rest comfortably
on your lap, shoulders should be relaxed.
And just let your hands kinda fall on the
instrument.
Just let your right hand kinda rest on the
bridge here a little bit.
And your left hand just kinda rest on the
strings.
And that's gonna be sort of your, your
good, basic
lap steel technique and how to hold the
instrument.
So what I'm using for gear here is just a
basic bar, solid bar.
You know, for lap steel we don't use a
bottle neck type bar,
we use a solid bar like this.
Again there's a variety of different bars.
Some are perfectly round like a bullet bar
like you'd use for
maybe pedal steel, that's fine.
I use a beveled bar, this is more like a
Dobro type bar.
And then on the right hand I've got just a
thumb pick.
Now there is a few different ways you can
go about it but for me for these, in a lot
of these lessons I think I'm just gonna be
using a thumb pick, and then you're gonna
be using generally two other fingers, your
index and your middle finger.
So it's sort of a three finger type of
technique at least for me,
although you could use more.
But for me that's just sort of the way I
approach it.
You've got your thumb pick.
And you can try a variety of different
thumb picks, for
me I use something called a blue chip.
But just something that's comfortable and
pretty snug on the thumb and then yeah,
the two fingers.
You know, you can have a little bit of a
fingernail that'll help get a little bit
of an attack but but that's the main
thing.
Just get your, get your lap steel
comfortable and
just rest your bar on it and just try
playing a few chords.
[MUSIC]
Now what we wanna do when we put the bar
down on the strings is we want it to be
perfectly in line with the fret markers,
so we don't want it to be tilted this way
or that way.
We want it to be directly in line.
And you can look at the bar relative to
the fret marker and
just make sure they're, they're lined up
straight together.
[MUSIC]
And then you're gonna get a nice chord.
[MUSIC]
So the tuning that I'm
using here is an open D tuning.
Now throughout these lessons, I'm gonna
use two main tunings.
One is this open D.
[MUSIC]
And one is gonna be a G.
First, we're just gonna focus on the open
D tuning.
So, the way this tuning goes, is
[MUSIC]
D on the low string,
A, D, F#, A, D.
And what that does is it makes a
[MUSIC]
nice, rich, D major chord.
So again, you've got
[MUSIC]
D, A, D, F#, which is your major third
note, another A and another D.
Now this tuning is generally used
primarily for blues type music, so
that's kind of what we're going to focus
on in these first lessons,
is sort of a blues type of technique.
But this will just get you going.
Get you set up.
So you're holding the lap steel right,
you're tuned the way I'm tuning.
You know, you've got your basic gear,
you've got a slide,
maybe a thumb pick and, that's gonna be
all you need to get playing lap steel.
[MUSIC]