Steel guitar

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Steel guitar is a type of guitar and/or the method of playing the instrument developed in Hawaii. The guitar is usually positioned horizontally, strings are plucked with one hand, while the other hand changes the pitch of one or more strings with the use of a bar or slide called a Steel (generally made of metal). The term steel guitar is often mistakenly used to describe any metal body resophonic guitar.

Steel guitar can describe:

  • A method of playing slide guitar using a steel. Resonator guitars, including round necked varieties, are particularly suitable for this style, yet are seldom referred to as "Steel Guitars", but rather referred to generally as a Dobro, acoustic slide guitar, or square neck resonator guitars. Dobro is also a brand name of one of the leading manufacturers of resonator guitars.
  • A specialised instrument built for playing in steel guitar fashion. These are of several types:



Steel guitar refers to a method of playing on a guitar held horizontally, with the strings uppermost and the bass strings towards the player, and using a type of slide called a steel above the fingerboard rather than fretting the strings with the fingers. This may be done with any guitar, but is most common on instruments designed and produced for this style of it.

The technique was invented and popularized in Hawaii. Thus, the lap steel guitar is sometimes known as the Hawaiian guitar, particularly in documents from the early 1900s, and today any steel guitar is frequently called a Hawaiian steel guitar. However, in Hawaiian music, Hawaiian guitar means slack string guitar, played in the conventional or Spanish position.

Bottleneck guitar may have actually developed from Steel guitar technique. It is similar, with the exception that the guitar is held in the conventional position, and using a different form of slide to accommodate this playing position.


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