where steel guitar players connect
This surely has to be one of the most discussed topics. I curl my 3rd finger under my hand and use the edge of my finger to block, the drawback of this method is ifind it really difficult to bring my middle finger. Before attending a seminar with Russ Hicks, he said we could ask him anything, I decided to ask if there was a way I could bring in my other finger. At the very start Russ said " today I intend to show you how to fast pick Russ Hicks style, and you only need two fingers" he held up his thumb and index finger. If you watch Russ chickin pickin he only uses these two fingers. I decided not to ask the question and have stuck with my two finger style.
Donny, it seems like you're covering two aspects in your topic.....fast single note picking (left hand) , and blocking (right hand). Most single note fast runs are picked using the thumb and middle finger (left hand).... occasionally the index, or second, finger would be the used as well. A certain amount of 'blocking' is actually done by the bar hand.... that is, the bar tip gets pulled off the highest note/string you have just picked, allowing the fingers (left hand, behind the bar) to block that string..... the rest of the blocking is still done by the edge of your right hand palm. This is normally called 'Palm Blocking', though I find it to be a bit of a misnomer.......for the UN-initiated it may be confusing.
"Most single note fast runs are picked using the thumb and middle finger (left hand).... occasionally the index, or second, finger would be the used as well." Nic, this has confused me, you've said left hand which is obviously my bar hand, have I missed something, or have you been on the sauce.
Hahahahahaha.....I reckon I must have made my coffee too strong!! .... It should have been "Right Hand", as you correctly point out.
Love a man who can fess up. Well done,
"and the little finger hangs over the strings. Surprising how quick you get used to it."
So True.....There is a slight difference, though. I think because of doing this for many years, I noticed that my little finger may extend itself at times, and sometimes curls in as well..... So, I have the best of both worlds!!.... :)
How do you block? It comes by itself i think? I never ask questions about it?
Maybe i am doing the wrong method of blocking- i don't even know? (i never got lesson of it)
I do blocking with the palm of my hand
If it comes to speed picking i use mostly a thumb and one finger , the third finger i use for hitting the high G or the second string.
It just feels right to me and if it sounds good that's good enough for me - LOL
"It comes by itself i think?"
It is a study all by itself and literally takes years to get it to a high level of competency..... I'm still aware of doing it right, up to today. Some other opinions of this will be welcomed. If it came naturally to you, rest assured you are the envy of many a player....pro or otherwise! .... :)
When i first learn pedalsteel 35 years ago , i remember that a pro to me said you've got already the right move on the left hand bar and the right hand palmblocking. I don't have a clue at that time what he said.
So maybe it comes naturally? I hope so anyway
But i always play 5-string banjo and guitar. A banjo helps me to get the speed of a right pickin' hand i guess?
Anyway it works for me.
And up to day i don't even know that i am using the right method of blocking?
I never had lessons and learn pedalsteel in my own way. later on i use study material available, and i think that i use the right method. If it sounds good that's good enough for me.
Now I understand where you come from....Yeah, doing the 5-string banjo thing will most certainly aid you in applying the same sort of technique to the steel. And you're right....if it sounds good, then it is good!
I use the two finger/pick block method , as well as the palm block as provided in Winnie Winston & Bill Keith's book. Depends on what I'm doing, whether one comes on more natural than the other. Seems for the faster stuff I go for the finger/pick block, but mostly work the palm block. I mostly use my middle finger for the high D# and F# string reaches and will let my bar pull away from there to "block" those notes if they are out there by their lonesome.