Lap Steel Guitar: Faking your way through the 12 Bar Blues

Episode Transcript

Thanks for checking out sub150.  I recently uploaded a video to my channel called Getting Started on Lap Steel Guitar.  In the video, I provided you with info on purchasing a cheap lap steel, tuning the instrument, important accessories, and basic playing tips.  I have received a great deal of positive feedback from that video and several requests to dive deeper into playing tips.  While I’m not an expert player by any means, I am going to share with you what I have learned in my time playing the instrument.

In this video, I’m going to show you how to fake your way through a 12 bar blues progression.  I will also provide you with a simple backing track video so that you can practice what you have learned.

We are going to be playing in the key of G.  My lap steel is tuned D-G-D-G-B-D, and I have removed the sixth string, or the lowest D, as I rarely use it.  This is a personal preference.  You may want to keep yours in tact until you have a better grasp on how you will personally play the instrument.

For more information on tuning check out my previous video “Getting Started on Lap Steel Guitar”.

To start, I will show you the three chords that you will be playing.  They will be G at the 12th fret, C at the 5th fret, and D at the 7th.  Now let’s chord through the basic progression:

Now that you know the basic chord structure, let’s try playing individual notes in the chord structure.  We’re not going to do any sliding just yet.  You will see that you can play some basic lead lines just by playing individual notes in each chord.  You can improvise and play the notes in any order like this.  

To make it easier try playing the same pattern as you slide to each new chord.  Like this:

Now let’s add the backing track and try that.  Also, remember that I have uploaded a looped backing track to my channel so that you can practice this after you complete this lesson.  I will link to it at the end of this video.

Not too bad right?  Once you’ve mastered that, we can try adding some slides in to make it more interesting.  You can make dramatic slides down the neck but for now let’s try sticking in what I like to think of as the safe zone.  Try sliding in or out of the notes from one step lower or two frets above like this:

You will also have to practice muting the strings after you have played individual notes to provide some clarity to your leads.

Let’s play through with the backing track now implementing our slide technique.

To add a little more variety to your lead lines, you can also slide up the neck three frets higher from each chord position like so:

To wrap up, I will demonstrate the final lead with all of the tips that I have shown you.  Once you’ve watched this, click through to the next video to play along on your own with my looped backing track.