Stealin’ from Lap Steel is a free lesson as part of a preview series for Jason Loughlin‘s new course, Country Guitar Survival Guide. Be sure to subscribe for more lessons and check out Jason’s other course, 50 Rockabilly Licks You MUST Know.
Video Guitar Lesson
Tele players have always loved to emulate other instruments. Whether, it’s banjo rolls or pedal steel bends country guitarist have never had to apologize for their instrument envy.
In this lesson I’m going to teach you some basic lap steel guitar concepts. When I think of lap steel guitar I’m always drawn to western swing and early country music. There are a number of different tunings that were being used on those recordings but most players tuned to a major 6th chord. The most popular one was the C6 tuning. This tuning had a C major triad on the bottom(C E G) and an A minor triad on the top (A C E). This would give players the ability to easily embellish major and minor triads. When played all together you get a major 6th chord sound(C E G A C E). So if we learn the major 6th chord and it’s inversions we will have a clear picture of what was actually available under a lap steel players slide bar.
All of these inversions can be chromatically walked down a whole step to form a new chord quality. The chord becomes a dominant 9th chord. There are an endless number of way to get from one to the other. Lap steel players usually grab three strings at a time. So, what I like to do is alternate between grabbing the top three strings and the bottom three strings of the chord as I’m walking into my dominant 9th chord.
Ok, now we need learn a couple of embellishments. There are two simple approaches to these major 6th chords. You can slide into any of these inversions from a half step underneath or above. Try to incorporate as many slides as possible. Don’t forget we are trying to emulate a slide guitar.