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.


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Maui Steel Guitar Festival - CANCELED
October 14, 2023 – 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST
The Shops at Wailea, Wailea, Hawai‘i
October 15, 2023 – 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST
Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, Kahului, Hawai‘i

Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Experience at Mauna Lani
December 14-17, 2023 – Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Waimea, Hawai‘i Island.

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All broadcasts originate from the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase Facebook Page and YouTube Channel. Festival broadcasts may also stream from the respective festival's Facebook Page.

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday — CANCELED
September 9, 2023 – 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Maui Steel Guitar Festival Reprise
October 14, 2023 - 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Maui Steel Guitar Festival - CANCELED
October 15, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, – 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday — CANCELED
November 19, 2023 – 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Experience at Mauna Lani
December 15, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM HST

Other Events
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association (HSGA) 2023 Festival *
September 21-23, 2023 – Odd Fellows Lodge, Cupertino, CA
* Registration Fee Required

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