Midnight Voices
THE PETE ATKIN WEB FORUMRSS
Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register.
This page loaded: 17.11.17 at 19:36 UK
PA
HOME
Pete Atkin home page
MV Home | Short | Help | Search | Members | Login | Register | Shop | PA Home
Midnight Voices Playing a National Steel
   Midnight Voices
   Pete Atkin
   Music
(Moderator: Ian Chippett)
   Playing a National Steel
« Previous thread | Next thread »
Pages: 1   Start of Thread | Latest Post Reply | Notify of replies | Send Thread | Print
   Author  Thread: Playing a National Steel  (Read 2657 times)
Simon Reap
MV Fixture
****



Toggler to the few!

   

Posts: 101
Playing a National Steel
« : 05.03.08 at 13:52 »
Quote

A few weeks ago I heard a band (playing at someone's retirement party) with an interesting mix of instruments (guitars, keyboards, mandolins, a flute) with, sitting at the front of the stage a bright, shiny, National Steel guitar.  I'm still kicking myself for not waiting to hear it played (we had to leave early), but I did get a chance to chat with the owner.  He said he'd only had it a couple of months and was still a bit wary of it.  He said that this was a powerful beast, and that he still wasn't in charge when playing it - to some extent the guitar was still playing him.  That was why he limited himself to the odd song, towards the end of the set when he'd warmed up!  And before you ask, I didn't find out what he was intending to play (he'd started waxing lyrical about a tiny tuning aid he'd clipped to the head of his regular guitar, and the opportunity to ask had passed).
 
I'm not a guitar player so I don't know whether he was stringing me a line.  Pete, does this sound familiar?  How easy is the NS to play?  Is it different from other guitars you use?
 
Simon
IP logged
Ian Chippett
MV Moderator
*****


In the clear at over fifty-five

   

Posts: 330
Re: Playing a National Steel
« Reply #1: 06.03.08 at 09:01 »
Quote

The drummer of my ex-band had a huge collection of guitars including a National Steel which he brought along one evening. My principal recollection is that they are bloody heavy: it's not surprising that after a hard day in the fields  picking cotton and then spending the evening in a club playing one of these things that blues singers had the blues. They are the same to play as normal guitars though they sound quite different. You need a bottleneck to play them with (at least I don't recall seeing anyone play one without a bottleneck.) This requires a technique that escapes me: I can't play with a bottleneck unless the guitar is in open tuning and this is a bit limiting in terms of what you can do musically.  
 
My drumming buddy also brought along something I'd never seen before, a Gibson solid-body electric Spanish guitar. Nice to play but it wouldn't stay in tune for some reason. Ha anyone else seen one of these?
 
Ian C
 
Feeling the weight in Pantin France
IP logged
Simon Reap
MV Fixture
****



Toggler to the few!

   

Posts: 101
Re: Playing a National Steel
« Reply #2: 06.03.08 at 12:30 »
Quote

on 06.03.08 at 09:01, Ian Chippett wrote:
You need a bottleneck to play them with (at least I don't recall seeing anyone play one without a bottleneck.) This requires a technique that escapes me: I can't play with a bottleneck unless the guitar is in open tuning and this is a bit limiting in terms of what you can do musically.

 
Sadly I didn't see him play it, so I don't know whether he used a bottleneck.
 
Quote:
My drumming buddy also brought along something I'd never seen before, a Gibson solid-body electric Spanish guitar. Nice to play but it wouldn't stay in tune for some reason.

 
Not a problem that the Gibson Robot Guitar has, I understand.  My neighbour at work occasionally drools over their website, but can't really justify the $2500!
 
Simon
IP logged
Pete Atkin
MV Deity
*****





   

Posts: 463
Re: Playing a National Steel
« Reply #3: 06.03.08 at 19:42 »
Quote

Ah well, Simon, you see, there are dead men still alive in that guitar.   But as well as being exceptionally heavy, it does have an undeniably dominating presence, and not just because of its loudness.  I always feel a bit apologetic about how little I play mine, but that's probably got more to do with the fact that although classic country blues means a great deal to me, it doesn't have much connection with either the way I sing or the stuff I write.  But then again, I've often thought I should maybe try to find a new way to use it.
 
There's no reason it can't be played conventionally, but the higher action and (usually) higher tension strings make conventional fingering harder work than usual.  In fact, Clive's and my song is played with conventional tuning and conventional chords, with the bottleneck on my fourth finger playing either single-note phrases, or picked in sixths on the first and third or second and fourth strings, and sometimes major triads on the 2nd-3rd-and-4th strings or minor ones on the top three strings.
 
But there's no question that experimenting with open tunings is the way to get the most out of it.   And that ultra-slick Gibson website includes an unusually user-friendly guide to most of the commonest ones.  I have to agree that two and a half thousand bucks for the Robot Guitar is a lot of money, of course, but for what you're getting it really doesn't seem unreasonable;  it's less than I'd have guessed, anyway.   (However, I imagine the UK price may well end up representing something more like a one dollar=one quid exchange rate.)
IP logged
Pages: 1    Start of Thread | Latest Post Reply | Notify of replies | Send Thread | Print
Return to Top « Previous thread | Next thread »
MV Home | Short | Help | Search | Members | Login | Register | Shop | PA Home
Midnight Voices is not responsible for comments made by its members. All opinions expressed are entirely those of their authors.
Midnight Voices » Powered by YaBB 1 Gold - SP 1.3.1!
YaBB 2000-2003. All Rights Reserved.