Steel Trappings

Gibson EH-150

Did You Know? - Part 1

June 5, 2016 • Addison ChingEducation and Training

Did you know this about the steel guitar?

  • The first electric guitar was the Steel Guitar.
  • The frypan steel guitar was given its nickname because of its "frypan" shape.
  • The steel guitar was given its name because of the steel bar that is used to play it. Steel guitars are made from wood, plastic and metal.
  • There are many different tunings for the steel guitar. Each tuning produces a unique sound and is identified by the tuning's fundamental note and the chord type defined by the string tunings (such as C6, B11, E9, etc.).
  • Players use guitars with multiple necks, each with their preferred tunings, to accommodate playing songs that require different tunings.
  • The steel guitar is thought to be indigenous to Hawaii.
  • Pedal Steel guitars have pedals and knee levers that are used to affect string pitch.
  • While normal guitar notes are formed by pressing the strings between neckboard fretlines, a steel guitar's notes are formed by placing the steel bar ON the fretline but not pressing down completely on the fretboard. This accomplishes the same thing as pressing on the fretboard.
  • Lap Steel guitars may have 6, 7, 8, or 10 strings. Pedal Steel guitars may have 6 to 14 strings.
  • Many vintage guitars of the 50s and 60s came in a pearloid finish commonly known as MOTS or "Mother of Toilet Seat."
  • "This invention of the Hawaiian schoolboy is the most significant contribution by Hawaii to music."
    — Helen Roberts, anthropologist
  • Steel guitar necks come in several lengths: Short Scale (22.5"), Medium Scale (24.5") and Long Scale (26"). Longer necks feature longer note sustains but may be more difficult to play.

FYI

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Events

1st HSGA Virtual Steel Guitar Festival
January 23-24, 2021 – Prerecorded and available on Multiple Platforms


Facebook LiveHawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase
Livestream Steel Guitar Saturdays
January 30, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveHawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase
Livestream Steel Guitar Saturdays
February 27, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook 3PM - 6PM HST

Facebook LiveHawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase
Livestream Kanikapila
March 20, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveHawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase
Open Stage Showcase
March 27, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturdays
April 17, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Kanikapila
May 15, 2021 (tentative) – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturdays
May 29, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST

COVID-19 Advisory: All live steel guitar festivals have been postponed Statewide until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic and health and safety directives currently in effect. Live festivals will return when HIMELE and government agencies determine it is safe to do so.

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HIMELE is a Hawai‘i non-profit corporation that supports music enrichment and education for people of all ages. Our purpose is to educate, promote, and perpetuate Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian musical instruments.