Sol Hoopii and “Hula Blues”

Here is a little video which demonstrates how I believe Sol Hoopii played this tune, specifically on his earlier acoustic recordings in the A Major tuning. One of the devices that Sol used most frequently is open strings–in this case, in bars 3 and 4 of the head, Sol utilizes

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Shaping Fingerpicks to Suit Your Playing Style

It is often a topic of conversation among newer players of the difficulties in getting used to wearing fingerpicks. For some players, it is nearly impossible to get comfortable with these new appendages. For me, it was a little different. When I started becoming serious about playing, I was playing

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Old Steel Guitar Chord Charts (in various tunings)

While cleaning out my studio/library, I came across these cool chord charts that were published back in the 1940s. A friend of mine had given me these photocopies years ago, and I thought I would share them with the world before they are lost forever. These charts can be very

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Harmonic Mechanisms for Steel Guitar

Back in the late 1980s, I was lucky enough to have a guitar lesson with Mike Stern. I would also see him play fairly regularly and have a talk over a cup of coffee (Sheridan Square Diner (r.i.p.) ). Mike recommended a book to me by a guitarist whose name

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Joaquin Murphey’s solo on Yearnin’ transcribed

Hi everyone! With all this excitement over the Joaquin Murphey solos book by John McGann and Andy Volk, which is sold here, I’ve got the itch to dive back in and do some more transcribing. I think there’s enough great Murph stuff to make another book or two, so, to

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Thelonious Monk’s “Pannonica” arranged for C6/A7 lap steel

Today, I watched a documentary on Barroness Pannonica Rothschild and I remembered that I had once worked out an arrangement for the brilliant tune Monk wrote in her honor, simply entitled “Pannonica”. I had not played it since and I had to sit down and transcribe it again. So, here

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Conversation with Don Rooke

Toronto, Ontario is home to a vibrant and creative music scene with a very eclectic range of musical styles. Musican/composer/lap steel player Don Rooke is one of Toronto’s finest secrets. While Don is not someone who you’ll find in the clubs on any given night (in fact, his appearances are

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Conversation with Jeremy Wakefield

“Jeremy Wakefield is more like Speedy West fused with Jerry Byrd. And a little bit of Noel Boggs.” Those are the words used by Wayne Hancock to describe Jeremy Wakefield’s playing, and he isn’t far from the truth. Throw in a big dash of Joaquin Murphey and Jeremy’s own unique

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Conversation with Frankie Kay: Kansas City Steel Man

Frank Kuebelbeck was born before the first electric guitar was ever made, in 1930. By the time he was in high school, Frankie Kay (as he would become known) was already a bandleader in his native Kansas City, Kansas, playing steel guitar. In 1951, he was a studio musician at

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Conversation with Henry Bogdan, Part 1

Henry Bogdan is one of the few players of the modern era who has embraced the National Tricone resonator as his main instrument. His playing with The Moonlighters was particularly influential (especially to myself) in the resurgence of traditional string bands featuring ukulele and steel guitar, and with the Moonlighters

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Talking Steel Guitar with Joel Paterson, Part 1

Joel Paterson is a helluva musician. He is widely recognized as a guitarist in the Rockabilly, Jazz, and Blues styles from his associations with Chicago groups like Devil In A Woodpile, Jimmy Sutton’s Four Charms, Kelly Hogan’s Wooden Leg, and his own Modern Sounds trio, as well as touring and

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Conversation with Lee Jeffriess, Part 1

Lee Jeffriess, to many of us, needs no introduction. He has been one of the driving forces in the revitalization of steel guitar in Rockabilly and Western Swing for more than 15 years. As a member of Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys, he was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall

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Buddy Emmons “Gentle On My Mind” solo transcription

Someone on the Steel Guitar Forum posted a link to this great solo by Buddy Emmons on John Hartford’s “Gentle On My Mind.” I’d never heard it before, but it knocked me out, so I sat down with it and transcribed it before bed. Took me an hour or so–it’s

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