PICK & FINGERTIP BLOCKING
THE PF4 PEDAL
THE TOMMY WHITE SPLIT
C6 & E9 CHORD EXAMPLES
Paul Franklin began playing steel guitar at age 8. Taking lessons from a Hawaiian guitar master, he quickly progressed and when pedal steel guitars came about, he got one immediately.
Paul was already gigging in local clubs at 11, and a member of the Musician’s Union. Soon calls came to the house asking for a pedal steel player for sessions in the thriving local music scene.
Not only were Pop, Motown and Jazz popular, but the “Hillbilly Highway” of Southerners heading North to build cars fueled a burgeoning Country music scene.
Paul got his first taste of national success as a teenager on Gallery’s “It’s So Nice To Be With You”, a #1 hit single. He also guested on Parliament’s “Country Boy” track and worked with Motown producer Dennis Coffey (of instrumental hit “Scorpio” fame).
The pedal steel was being embraced by Country music, and Nashville was the place for this young prodigy to be, so he headed to Tennessee as a senior in high school to join Barbara Mandrell’s band at the invitation of her father, Irby. He also toured with Dottie West, Lynn Anderson, and Donna Fargo.
Session steeler Pete Drake hired Paul to play on jingles and a few recordings. Franklin joined Jerry Reed’s band and recorded solo albums of original pedal steel instrumentals and Jazz standards. A long stint with Mel Tillis’ Statesiders playing classic country and honky-tonk with an excellent road band was next.
After leaving Tillis, his studio career took off and he was featured in many of the albums of the 1980’s-2000s. In 1991 he took a call from Mark Knopfler that led to playing on The Notting Hillbillies album and eventually with Dire Straits, touring the world and recording On Every Street with them.
In recent years, besides his busy studio schedule, Franklin is a member of Vince Gill’s touring band (and recorded the CMA- nominated "Bakersfield" album as a duo with Vince) and holds down the pedal steel seat with the Time Jumpers who showcase Western Swing and classic Country every Monday night at a local Nashville club.
Born in Louisville, KY on January 9 1960, Steel Guitar Hall of Famer Tommy White is considered a pedal steel guitar prodigy. He received his first pedal steel at age nine.
12 months later he was performing in clubs in and about his hometown. At 11 he joined Grand Ole Opry member Stu Phillips’ band, touring the upper Midwest playing in high school auditoriums and private parties.
By the time he was 13 he was appearing at various steel guitar shows, at 15 years old he was teaching others how to play and that year released his first album, “Tommy White, 100 Proof Steel, Aged 15 Years”.
He was 16 when he took a gig with Nashville star, Donna Fargo (Happiest Girl in the Whole USA), a job that launched his professional career. Tommy stayed with Fargo from 1976 to 1985. That year, he joined The Whites and stayed with the family band until 1993.
Tours with great guitar players like Vince Gill and Steve Wariner in the early 2000’s, countless recording, TV and radio gigs with notable positions in the staff band of Nashville Now and The Grand Ole Opry, where he remains the staff pedal steel guitarist.
Recent work with Alison Krauss on her acclaimed record “Windy City” and appearances with Pop icon Lady GaGa (Academy Awards and Grammys) have put the amazing Tommy White in the larger public eye, bringing the sound of the pedal steel to whole new audiences in 2019.
- A Message From Tommy and Paul
- How to Navigate The Course Player - SLIDES
- How to Navigate The Course Player - PDF
- Early Challenges - VIDEO
- Early Challenges - TAB PDF
- The Chicken Pickin' Technique - VIDEO
- Chicken Pickin' - TAB PDF
- Fingerpicks and Technique - VIDEO
- Fingerpicks and Technique - TAB PDF
- The Role of the Bar - VIDEO
- The Role Of The Bar - TAB PDF
- More On The Bar - VIDEO
- More On The Bar - TAB PDF
- Right Hand Technique - Blocking - VIDEO
- Blocking Techniques - TAB PDF
- The 3-Element Technique - VIDEO
- Blocking Hammer-Ons - TAB PDF
- History of the PF4 and the TW Split - VIDEO
- PF4 and TWS TAB - PDF
- How to Practice - VIDEO
- Application: Uptempo - AUDIO
- Application: Ballad - AUDIO
- Tommy Plays, and Some Final Advice - VIDEO
- Viewing Paul’s Right Hand Technique - VIDEO
- Viewing Paul’s Bar Technique - VIDEO
- Tommy White Part 1 of 2 - VIDEO
- Tommy White Part 2 of 2 - VIDEO
- Scale Permutations - PDF
- Background Drones In Various Keys - AUDIO DRONES
- Major Chord - PRACTICE TRACKS
- Minor Chord - PRACTICE TRACKS
- Knowing Intervals in Any Tuning - TEXT
- Cycle Of 4ths and 5ths - PDF
- Major Scales and Triads - PDF
- Chord Formulas - PDF
- How To Read TAB - VIDEO
- How To Read TAB - PDF
- TAB Basics - PDF
- Blank Tab Sheet - PDF
- Our Other Courses!
What is this course all about?
Tommy and Paul get more questions about picking, blocking and the PF4/TW Split pedals, than any others.
Much of the previously available instruction for pedal steel guitar has not covered these topics in depth. Tommy and Paul show all of the options, and explain and demonstrate the differences and advantages of their personal choices.
While doing so, they tell the history and evolution from their perspective and the "how and why" they ended up using their own versions of the 3-Element Blocking concept.
They also get into their own individual contributions to the pedal steel tuning - the PF4 pedal and the TW Split.
Is this Course appropriate for me?
Here's the answer straight from Paul himself:
"Choosing and perfecting the correct hand positions ensures great tonal clarity and accuracy whether speed picking or playing ballads.
From 1st year to advanced players this course is an eye opener towards improving tone and technique. At any stage of learning a musicians personal tone comes from the hands.
The techniques revealed here are exactly how we play. These insights into how our techniques evolved as music progressed in our musical journey should help everyone on their personal journey.
For the absolute beginner I advise those to start with the Foundations: E9 Pedal Steel Basics course, and then come here to advance those beginner's tools.
What if I am already enrolled in Paul's Method course?
Method students will recognize some of the instruction (as far as Paul's technique) though presented here in a different setting. And of course all the Tommy White material is new and exclusive.
This course is focused more on application of various pedal steel techniques, and the PF4 and TW Split are covered in depth for the first time anywhere. If you are interested in the topics covered, you will find this an informative compliment to our other instructional courses.
Can you explain the course format?
Contemporary Pedal Steel Guitar is a streaming video course.
Unlike private lessons, you can review the materials by watching the videos over and over, use the video player to slow things down, and print out TABs and other relevant lesson materials.
The Course is comprised of video content, downloadable PDFs, TABs and practice backing tracks.
The course videos are available to stream online 24/7.
What will I learn in this course?
Tommy and Paul have reached the highest levels following similar paths but choosing different preferences in both technique and copedent.
They teach how and why they ended up making their choices, and show the student the many options they have available to them.
Am I allowed to download the videos?
The videos are not available for download. However other items like PDFs and MP3s are. Your enrollment allows you access to view the videos online 24/7, with no expiration.