What is this musical instrument?

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Main Question or Discussion Point

This instrument starts at about 0:13

Marie Osmond singing "Paper Roses"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3fqJkTeDNU

I hear it a lot in country music and it drives me nuts. Of all the sounds in the world, this is the one that makes me want to pull my head off.

My mom said it's a steel guitar. But I've seen some videos of those and there's a similar sound but not so disturbing to me.
 

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  • #2
Evo
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It's a steel guitar. That's the typical whiney sound in country music.
 
  • #3
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Ah. Thank you for verifying that for me.
 
  • #4
Chi Meson
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Steel guitars can be beautiful. They are originally called Hawaiian guitars, but I think that's because Hawaiian music was the first popular music that used them.
 
  • #5
turbo
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Steel guitars can be beautiful. They are originally called Hawaiian guitars, but I think that's because Hawaiian music was the first popular music that used them.
Hawaiians played acoustic guitars laid across their laps. The guitars were tuned to open chords, and the "fretting" was done by slides that allowed chords and individual notes to be slid up and down easily. Even before companies started electrifying Spanish guitars, they had built lap-steels on planks of wood with electromagnetic pickups. Often the lap-steels came with matching amplifiers, some of which are still highly sought-after. Often the guitar and amp was covered in what collectors call "mother of toilet-seat" resins that lent a flashy finish to both. As country music embraced the lap steel, instrument makers put the steel guitar on legs to bring the guitar to a comfortable height for a seated player, and often incorporated a second neck on the same body so the player would have access to a second open chord structure. It wasn't too long after that they added foot-pedals and knee-levers so that the player could alter the structure of the open chord during songs. This is the "pedal-steel" heard in the OP and on every George Jones record ever released.
 
  • #6
Chi Meson
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^^
I think Turbo's just making things up!

:smirk:

I keep forgetting about this interwebs thing. I could have just looked it up in the Wicker Patio.
 
  • #7
turbo
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^^
I think Turbo's just making things up!

:smirk:
Yep! It's all a lie.

BTW, if you know any old codger with a 40's-era lap steel and matching amp with pearloid resin finish, please give me their name and number.
 
  • #8
turbo
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BTW, black musicians were using very similar techniques playing blues, and still do. Slide guitar was very prominent in Elmore James' repertoire, and lots of that carried over into Duane Allman's work, Johnny Winter, Bonnie Raitt, and many others. Lots of earlier blues musicians became well-known for their tunings and styles and some managed to create some very distinctive sounds. Some old blues-boys used the back of a pocket-knife as a slide, some used beer bottles or the smoothed neck of a wine-bottle, others used a cut-off piece of pipe...Lowell George of Little Feet used a socket from the Sears store.
 
  • #9
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George Jones. Yup. Just watched one of his vids. I guess I know what will happen to me if I go to hell.

That sound is worse for me than fingernails on a chalkboard. I'm not kidding. When I was last at a wedding reception, the band started a song with that and I was out the door!
 
  • #10
turbo
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George Jones. Yup. Just watched one of his vids. I guess I know what will happen to me if I go to hell.

That sound is worse for me than fingernails on a chalkboard. I'm not kidding. When I was last at a wedding reception, the band started a song with that and I was out the door!
You have to be a recent immigrant or a visiting student! The idea that a Maine resident has to ask about pedal steel guitar is shocking.
 
  • #11
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Meh. Born and raised in Maine, moved to other states, recently back to Maine. Too many country folk, but not bad.
 
  • #12
turbo
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Meh. Born and raised in Maine, moved to other states, recently back to Maine. Too many country folk, but not bad.
Wow! I'm an old codger, but I grew up with pedal-steel-flavored country music on both local TV and radio. I bought and sold guitars and amps all through college to help pay my way, so I had to figure out pretty fast where the profit was. I wasn't perfect, by any measure. I once traded a refinished '59 Strat for a new late-sixties Les Paul Custom and $300. Stupid is as stupid does.
 
  • #13
Ouabache
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This is a great topic title. But the first one (lap pedal steel) was a kinda easy.
How about some more instruments we might guess?
And to make it a little easier, how about samples of some of the lesser known instruments
from around the world.

Newai said:
That sound is worse for me than fingernails on a chalkboard.
I'm also not particularly fond of the pedal steel sound.
So Newai, I know where you're coming from.

turbo-1 said:
Lowell George of Little Feet used a socket from the Sears store.
But, by the same token, I do enjoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7oPHLzEc3Q" guitar.
They add another dimension of emotional expression to the music, as does the http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QGKlZLgz3w"
(sample is a pretty version of Ashokan).

Let me start the world instruments with http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz1YMjLwExE" (anyone know what instrument the lady is playing?)
 
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  • #14
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This is a great topic title. But the first one (lap pedal steel) was a kinda easy.
How about some more instruments we might guess?
And to make it a little easier, how about samples of some of the lesser known instruments
from around the world.
:confused:

This wasn't meant to be a game. But feel free if you want to go that direction.
 
  • #15
Ouabache
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:

This wasn't meant to be a game. But feel free....
Thanks! You picked out such a great topic title,
I bet we can learn about some very fascinating instruments.
 
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  • #16
Ouabache
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Last edited by a moderator:
  • #17
Chi Meson
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nharo3.jpg


Thumb piano

I wonder what inspired the development of this instrument?
necessity, ingenuity, and poverty
 

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