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Applications: E9 Pedal Steel Toolbox

Updated: Aug 22, 2020

Now that so many of us are staying at home because our gigs and tours and sessions have been postponed or cancelled, pedal steel guitarists are getting in more "seat time" than ever. This seems like a good opportunity to launch a course we've been thinking about for a while.

I've been asked by several students if there was some way to create a "bridge" course that picks up where the Foundations: E9 Pedal Steel Basics course ends. Foundations takes you from learning the open strings to using the Harmonized Scale, from your bedroom to the bandstand. The next step would be learning to apply all of the concepts and techniques you learned in Foundations to real-world situations...making music with them.

This new course is called Applications: E9 Pedal Steel Toolbox.

I selected all of the necessary Lessons to do this from The Paul Franklin Method, especially for students who have completed the Foundations course or are at an intermediate level and are not quite ready to jump into the Method itself.

If you have been playing for a while and already possess the skills taught in Foundations, this is a great intermediate course to learn some stylistic licks and phrases and master the art of Backing A Singer.

I use examples and ideas from the classic pedal steel guitar vocabulary, including popular intros and solos records I played on over the past several decades. Being familiar with the sounds and phrasing of these diverse styles is important, as you will probably be called on to create something original in those styles, and you'll need a few concepts at your command to draw from.


Dozens of useful phrases covering Rock, Western Swing, Classic Country, Memphis R&B, and West Coast Country are found in the LICKS and INTROS modules. These are the key sounds you'll be called on to produce as your career advances.

Bar Slants and Picking Permutations make up the TECHNIQUE section. These are the next-level left and right hand techniques that intermediate students will need to master to keep progressing on the guitar.

BACKING A SINGER is 99% of being a pedal steel guitarist, and this in-depth study of how to do it, drawing on my decades-long experience playing live and on sessions, will give you a huge advantage when the red light comes on and it's your turn to shine.

I break down songs into two-chord sections, giving you plenty of ideas and concepts to apply to whatever songs you are working on and show you ways to make them your own. Pads, subtle moves, imitating other instruments, playing lyrically, all of the necessary musicianship to keep your guitar up in the mix.

A brief look at dialing in your tone on amplifiers and using tuning compensators can be found in the GEAR section, and RESOURCES has helpful tracks, pdfs and other materials covering theory, the Nashville Number System and more.

For those of you already enrolled in The Paul Franklin Method, all of this material is already in the complete Course, most of it since we launched three years ago. We've also updated those early lessons in the PFM with fresh text and Practice Tracks, making this a great time to re-visit them!

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