Look Into The Future

The pedal steel guitar as we know it has been played in the “modern” manner ever since Bud Isaacs recorded his famous intro on Webb Pierce’s “Slowly” in 1953. That unique and familiar sound is still what most people reference when they think about the pedal steel guitar.


65 years later, the guitar has gone through many changes and improvements in design, construction, tuning and techniques. In the early 1960’s the pedal steel guitar enjoyed its first Golden Age thanks to the great and innovative players like Buddy Emmons, Jimmy Day, Pete Drake, Lloyd Green, Weldon Myrick, Hal Rugg and John Hughey to name just a few. 

Country artists embraced the sound of the pedal steel and the early masters made their careers playing on countless Country sessions. A few of the more adventurous pursued a Jazz passion.

While the instrument and the genres into which it’s accepted have expanded, the available tuition has not. Based on my many conversations with players at gigs and appearances all over the world, there are wide gaps in the existing lesson materials that need to be addressed, filled in and connected.

The pedal steel guitar needs a complete Method that respects and encompasses everything that came before and dares to look into the future. A Method that is maintained with up-to-the-minute knowledge and info, available anywhere at any time – one where students can send in feedback and questions and get rapid responses from the teacher in return. Many instruments have had dedicated Methods for centuries (classical guitar and violin for example) and in the early days of steel guitar, teachers and schools also took that route.

The Early Years of Teaching Steel

Lap Steel/Hawaiian Guitar instruction was typically written in standard notation. Companies like Oahu and Smith’s took advantage of the Hawaiian music fad and sold them by mail order or even via door-to-door salesmen. At one point, Oahu had over 1,200 schools teaching the Hawaiian Steel Guitar. Many future Hall of Fame players (including Lloyd Green and Buddy Emmons) got their start learning steel with these type of mass-produced methods. Foundational knowledge like proper bar technique, picking and blocking, chord theory and other essential musicianship skills were taught.


The Last 40 Years of Teaching Steel

As the instrument evolved and pedal steel guitars gained in popularity, Country music replaced Hawaiian as the venue for steel guitar. Several of the big names of the day like Buddy Emmons and Neil Flanz offered “Learn-To-Play” courses on LP in partnership with instrument manufacturers like Emmons and Sho-Bud.  


Winnie Winston wrote one of the first widely-available books on the instrument. His  “Pedal Steel Guitar” was published in 1975 and covered the basic grips, mechanics, an overview of the history of the pedal steel guitar and a look at the top players at the time. It is often cited as “The Beginner’s Bible” and many current players credit it as helping them get started. Being in a print format with limited space, it was necessarily a condensed version of a complete method and could not delve deep into the nuances.

Winston’s book originally shipped with a flexi-disc plastic record of the audio examples and eventually came with a CD. Mostly based on the Nashville Country sound, it touched upon the burgeoning Country Rock scene and players like Rusty Young, Lucky Oceans and Buddy Cage.

The C6 neck is briefly discussed in a chapter about “Other Tunings” . Techniques like Pick Blocking, bar slants, effects pedals, and Rock/Blues/Gospel styles were not covered in depth in the book; they simply did not exist then or had to be left out due to publishing constraints. The great Mel Bay company published several books on pedal steel by DeWitt Scott that many players cite as the first book they learned from.

Jeff Newman held many seminars and workshops at his Jeffran College, offered courses on LP and cassette, and pioneered the video/booklet lessons format on VHS and eventually DVD. I helped Jeff teach some of his week-long seminars, and while they allowed some extended teaching over several days, once the week was over you were on your own and could not easily get further instruction or clarification of the concepts taught. Time and technology limitations caused this approach to focus on smaller subsets of the bigger picture out of necessity, and a complete method was just not feasible.


The Next Level of Instruction

Perhaps due to the constant changes in strings, tunings, pedals and levers, there has never been a modern method for the pedal steel that covers ALL aspects of this amazing instrument. The earlier and still-useful material is out there, but the guitar itself has progressed and is now accepted in nearly every style of music all over the world, from Gospel to Metal, Blues to Pop.

Each generation of players learned from the best info available at the time and worked the rest out on their own. The traditional tutorial references to the great 50’s, 60’s and 70’s players (and the classic Country standards they played on) are not going to be as relevant to future generations of players as they used to be.

For the next generation to discover what we pedal steelers have known for years – that this is one of the most expressive and versatile instruments ever devised for any style of music  – we will not only need to embrace the history, but keep moving the instrument and the music created on it into the future. It is my dream to teach everything that I know (and am still learning) about the guitar, and that includes all of the styles I am asked to play in.

My Perspective

I was fortunate to be taught solid fundamentals by a Hawaiian guitar master.  In my teens I was able to talk directly to the pedal steel legends in Nashville and helped teach seminars during the advent of a dedicated pedal steel college. Now I can use today’s technology to share my experience and perspective in a modern fashion.

In The Paul Franklin Method, I’ve made certain to include all of the relevant info that earlier instruction courses offered and filled in the gaps by updating and adding to it to cover the past 20 years of music… and I am adding new videos regularly. Included in the Course will be a complete method for the C6 neck, which has been under-served for many years.

Because I am treating the Method as an on-going project, I will continue to make videos, teach lessons and make the Course as comprehensive as I can. I’ll address every student request until there are searchable answers to every question…or until everyone is tired of me! I think it is important to get this info down permanently. We all wish we could have “downloaded” what was going on in the minds of the early masters of the pedal steel and saved it for posterity.

Full Stream Ahead

The music industry was changed forever when music could be sold online, and now music is increasingly being taught online. My Method is shot in HD video and recorded with top quality audio so you can hear and see everything clearly. I have the flexibility to quickly respond to changing styles, techniques student requests, gear innovations and more. I can respond to student demand immediately via the private Facebook Group, an invitation to which comes with enrollment. Students can form virtual Study Groups and help each other out unlike any other previous Courses.


It was the advent of streaming video and the ability to create online Courses that convinced me that the time had come to update the curriculum of pedal steel guitar beyond the 60’s-90’s timeframe. Online streaming courses are an effective blend of video instruction, printed materials and an up-close-and-in-person private lesson. The camera angles get you zoomed right in to the action, the ability to slow down and rewind the videos make each lesson as efficient as you need it to be, at whatever pace is best for you.

If I could some how juggle my touring and recording schedule to teach individual lessons, I could only reach a couple dozen students a month at my least busy time. There is no clock running once you are enrolled in the Method, you can (and should) take as long as you need on any lesson. You’re not tied down to whatever device may have a DVD player, and with new laptops no longer including them, the DVD era is coming to a close.

If you’re just getting started, have been playing for a while – even for decades – there’s something for you in The Paul Franklin Method. I invite you to join me and over a thousand other students on our journey to master this amazing instrument.

– Paul

Click Here To See The Paul Franklin Method Course Syllabus

The Paul Franklin Method
(complete syllabus as of October 19, 2019)

Full Course Syllabus


  • How to Navigate The Course Player – SLIDES
  • Presentation
  • How to Navigate New Player – PDF


  • STUDENTS: Check here for the LATEST NEWS


  • The Parts of the Pedal Steel Guitar – VIDEO
  • Tuning Your Guitar – 3 VIDEOS
  • The Jeff Newman Tuning Chart – PDF 
  • Changing Your Strings – VIDEO
  • For 6-String Guitarists – VIDEO
  • Strings, Groups, and Chords – 3 VIDEOS
  • The Open Strings – QUIZ
  • Fretboard By The Numbers – VIDEO
  • The Nashville Number System – PDF
  • Looking At The E9 Tuning In Intervals – VIDEO
  • Fretboard and Pedals – VIDEO
  • Thinking In Intervals – PDF
  • E9 Tuning – QUIZ
  • The Four String Groups – QUIZ
  • Chord Names On The Fretboard -QUIZ
  • How To Sit Behind The Guitar – VIDEO
  • How To Read TAB – VIDEO
  • How To Read TAB – PDF


  • History Behind The E9th Floor Pedals – VIDEO
  • Basic E9th Pedals & Knee Levers – VIDEO
  • The Pedals – QUIZ
  • Pedals and Chords – QUIZ
  • Rocking The Pedals – VIDEO
  • Knee Lever Placement – VIDEO
  • Using The Volume Pedal – 2 VIDEOS
  • The Emotional Sound of the Pedals – VIDEO
  • PF4 And Pedal Placement – VIDEO


  • The Picks – Why The Choice Matters – VIDEO
  • Mastering The Bar (Tuning And Tone) – VIDEO
  • Bar Pressure – VIDEO


  • The Arpeggio – VIDEO
  • House of the Rising Sun TAB PDF
  • Blocking – VIDEO
  • Pick Blocking – VIDEO
  • Blocking the “Picked Rake” – VIDEO
  • Scale Permutations TAB – PDF
  • Applying Permutations TAB – PDF
  • Chimes – VIDEO
  • Viewing Paul’s Right Hand Technique – VIDEO
  • Building Speed TAB – PDF
  • Building Speed Pt 2 – VIDEO
  • Building Speed Pt 2 TAB – PDF


  • Bar Precision And Playing In Tune – VIDEO
  • Controlling The Bar – VIDEO
  • Bar Slants – 3 VIDEOS
  • Viewing Paul’s Bar Technique – VIDEO
  • Vibrato – 2 VIDEOS
  • Hammer On Exercise – VIDEO
  • Exercises For Bar & Pedal Coordination – VIDEO


  • The Four String Groups (Major) – VIDEO
  • Beginner Chord Etude TAB – PDF
  • Beginner Chord Etude – BACKING TRACK
  • The Four String Groups (Minor) – VIDEO
  • Minor Chords – QUIZ
  • Timing: Working With A Metronome – VIDEO
  • Practicing The String Groups – VIDEO
  • The 1-4-5 Progression – VIDEO
  • More On 1-4-5 Progressions – VIDEO
  • Goodnight Ladies TAB – PDF
  • Chord Progressions – VIDEO
  • Chord Progressions – PRACTICE TRACKS
  • 1-4-5 – Piano & Click PRACTICE TRACKS
  • 1-4-5 Chords In Every Key – PDF
  • Basic Music Theory – PDF
  • Major Chord Piano & Click – PRACTICE TRACKS
  • Minor Chord Piano & Click – PRACTICE TRACKS


  • Pads & Power Chords – VIDEO
  • Power Chord TAB – PDF
  • Dominant 7th Chords – VIDEO
  • Sliding Into 7ths With Pedals – VIDEO
  • More Positions For 7ths, 9ths & 13ths – VIDEO
  • Dominant 7th Workout – PRACTICE TRACK
  • Dominant 7 Workout – PDF
  • The Major 6th – VIDEO
  • The ‘add9’ & ‘add2’ Chords – VIDEO
  • Using the Flat 5 – VIDEO
  • Augmented Chords – 3 VIDEOS
  • Augmented Chord Progressions TAB – PDF
  • Playing The Blues – VIDEO


  • Major Scale Key Of C – VIDEO
  • Basic Harmony – PDF
  • Harmonies Found Inside The Major Scale – VIDEO
  • Diatonic Harmony TAB – PDF
  • Harmonizing the Major Scale In 3rds – VIDEO
  • Applying the Harmonized Major Scale – 3 VIDEOS
  • Diatonic Harmony Across the Frets TAB – PDF
  • Putting It All Together – VIDEO
  • Extending Fretboard Knowledge – VIDEO
  • Expanding The E9 Neck – VIDEO
  • Expanded Neck Lesson Etude TAB – PDF
  • Modes: Ionian (Major) – 3 VIDEOS
  • Londonderry Aire TAB – PDF
  • Thoughts On Chords – TEXT & PDF
  • E9 Chord Substitutions – VIDEO
  • E9 Chord Substitutions TAB – PDF
  • Thinking Simply – Major Chords – VIDEO
  • Thinking Simply – Major TAB – PDF
  • Thinking Simply – Minors – VIDEO
  • Thinking Simply – Minors TAB – PDF


  • Setting the Amp for Tone – VIDEO
  • Using Compensators – VIDEO


  • How To Practice – VIDEO
  • How To Practice Without A Guitar – VIDEO
  • The Importance of Memorization – VIDEO
  • On Being Analytical, Buddy, and Influences – 3 VIDEOS
  • Practicing Advice – VIDEO


  • Keeping An Open Mind – VIDEO
  • How To Make Everything Your Own – VIDEO
  • Focus – VIDEO


  • Resolving To G – VIDEO
  • Resolving To G TAB – PDF
  • G Major – Banjo Roll – VIDEO
  • Banjo Roll Lick TAB – PDF
  • Bakersfield Variations – VIDEO
  • Bakersfield Variation Lick TAB – PDF
  • G To G7 – VIDEO
  • G to G7 TAB – PDF
  • Bakersfield Hammer-On – VIDEO
  • Bakersfield Hammer-On TAB – PDF
  • A Nice Pull Off Ending – VIDEO
  • A Nice Pull-Off Ending TAB – PDF
  • The Rake – VIDEO
  • The Rake TAB – PDF
  • Chordal Pull Offs – VIDEO
  • Chordal Pull-Offs TAB – PDF
  • Cool Chord Lick – VIDEO
  • Cool Chord TAB – PDF
  • Ballad Lick (Feet & Knee Practice) – VIDEO
  • Ballad TAB – PDF
  • Pentatonic – 70’s Country Style – VIDEO
  • 70’s Country Style TAB – PDF
  • 60’s Country: 5-1 Walk-Down – VIDEO
  • 60s Country Walk-down TAB – PDF
  • Memphis Groove – VIDEO
  • Memphis Grove TAB – PDF
  • Western Swing Style – VIDEO
  • Western Swing TAB – PDF
  • Beautiful Ballad Phrase: 1 – 1dom7 – VIDEO
  • Beautiful Ballad TAB – PDF
  • Rock Style With R&B Harmonies – VIDEO
  • Rock Style TAB – PDF
  • Breakout Lick – VIDEO
  • Breakout TAB – PDF
  • Thinks He’s A Train Lick – VIDEO
  • Thinks He’s A Train TAB – PDF
  • C6 Sounds on the E9 Tuning: 1 to 4 Changes – VIDEO
  • C6 Sounds 1 to 4 TAB – PDF


  • Bakersfield Style – VIDEO
  • Bakersfield Style TAB – PDF
  • Bakersfield Style 1511 Var 1 – VIDEO
  • Bakersfield Style Var 1 TAB – PDF
  • Bakersfield Style 1511 Var 2 – VIDEO
  • Bakersfield Style Var 2 TAB – PDF
  • Bakersfield Style 1511 Var 3 – VIDEO
  • Additional Bakersfield – BACKING TRACKS
  • 5511 Ballad – VIDEO
  • 5511 Ballad TAB – PDF
  • 5511 Ballad Var 1 – VIDEO
  • 5511 Ballad Var 1 TAB – PDF
  • 5511 Ballad Var 2 – VIDEO
  • 5511 Ballad Var 2 TAB – PDF
  • 5511 Ballad Var 3 – VIDEO
  • 5511 Ballad Var 3 TAB – PDF


  • Backing a Singer Intro – VIDEO
  • Backing a Singer Pt 2 – VIDEO
  • Backing a Singer Pt 2 8 Individual TABs – PDF
  • Backing A Singer Pt 3 (Fills) – VIDEO
  • Backing A Singer 3 (Fills) TABs – PDF
  • Backing A Singer Pt 4 – VIDEO
  • Backing A Singer Pt4 TABs – PDF
  • Playing to the Lyric – VIDEO


  • Intro To Approach Notes – VIDEO
  • C6 E9 Approach Note Method – VIDEO
  • C6 E9 Approach Notes TAB – PDF
  • Phrasing Pt 1 – VIDEO
  • Phrasing Pt 1 TAB – PDF
  • Phrasing – Pt 2 – VIDEO
  • Phrasing – Pt 2 TAB – PDF
  • Intro to Pivoting – VIDEO
  • Intro To Pivoting TAB – PDF
  • Counterpoint – VIDEO
  • Counterpoint TAB – PDF
  • Connecting With Your Instrument – 3 VIDEOS
  • Technique Options – 2 VIDEOS
  • Technique Options Pt1 TAB – PDF
  • Technique Options Pt2 TAB – PDF
  • Technique Options Pt3 – VIDEO
  • Technique Options Pt3 TAB – PDF
  • Knowing Intervals in Any Tuning – TEXT
  • Permutations As Shapes – Pt1 – VIDEO
  • Permutations As Shapes – Pt2 – VIDEO
  • Permutations As Shapes Pt2 TAB – PDF
  • Open String Licks – VIDEO
  • Open Strings TAB – PDF


  • Sounds and Techniques – VIDEO
  • Crafting a Rock Solo – 2 VIDEOS
  • Blues Rock TAB – PDF
  • Joe Walsh Style TAB – PDF
  • Americana Music – VIDEO
  • Americana Music TABs – PDF


  • Overview of C6 Instruction- VIDEO
  • Differences Between E9 and C6 – VIDEO
  • C6: Tuning The Open Strings – VIDEO
  • C6 Open Tuning – QUIZ
  • C6: Open Strings Explained – VIDEO
  • Chords in Open Tuning – QUIZ
  • C6: Fretboard Explained – VIDEO
  • Thoughts on the Tuning & the Buddy Emmons Setup – TEXT
  • C6: Buddy Emmons Pedal Setup – 2 VIDEOS
  • C6: Chord Pockets (Maj & Min) – VIDEO
  • C6: Chord Pockets TAB – PDF
  • C6: Single Note Pockets Pt 1 – VIDEO
  • C6: Single Note Pockets Pt1 TAB – PDF
  • C6: Single Note Pockets Pt 2 – VIDEO
  • C6: Single Note Pockets Pt 2 TAB – PDF
  • C6: “PFM Blues” Part 1 & 2 – 2 VIDEOS
  • C6: PFM Blues TAB – PDF
  • PFM Blues Backing Tracks – MP3s
  • C6: 2-5-1 Progression – VIDEO
  • C6: 2-5-1 Progression TABs – PDF
  • C6: Harmonizing the Scale in 3rds and 4ths – VIDEO
  • C6: Harmony Scales 3rd and 4ths TAB – PDF
  • C6: Turnaround Progression 3m 6 2m 5 – VIDEO
  • C6: Turnaround 3m 6 2m 5 TAB – PDF
  • C6: 2-5-1 Eb and Bb – VIDEO
  • C6: Lick 2-5-1 Eb Bb TABs – PDF
  • C6: Blues With Extensions Pt 2 – VIDEO
  • C6: Pedal Change – VIDEO
  • C6: Intervallic Improv VS Scales – VIDEO
  • C6: Paul’s Pedal Setup – VIDEO
  • C6: Paul’s Pedal Setup TAB – PDF
  • E9 Sounds on C6 – VIDEO
  • E9 Sounds On C6 Tab – PDF
  • How to Translate C6th Lessons to Lap Steel – VIDEO
  • Soloing Advice – Pt 1 – VIDEO
  • Soloing Advice Pt 1 TAB – PDF
  • Lenny’s Lesson – VIDEO
  • Lenny’s Lesson TAB – PDF
  • All My Exes – VIDEO
  • All My Exes Live in Texas TAB – PDF


  • How To Create A Facebook Account
  • How To Determine Your Facebook Email Address
  • Improvisation
  • Applying The Basics
  • Bluegrass Backup and Soloing
  • Right or Wrong
  • Interval Memorization Application
  • E9 Blues
  • Difficult Is Good
  • Applying Your Interval Knowledge 


  • Background Drones In Various Keys – DRONES
  • Drumbeat Practice Tracks – Shuffle and Ballad – DRUMBEATS
  • Browser Settings for PDF files
  • Cycle Of 4ths and 5ths – PDF
  • Major Scales and Triads – PDF
  • Chord Formulas – PDF
  • How to Maximize the Paul Franklin Method – PDF
  • Suggested Listening – LINKS
  • Some Pedal Steel Resources – LINKS
  • TAB Basics – PDF
  • Blank Tab Sheet – PDF
  • Our Other Courses


  • Dann Huff Part 1
  • Dann Huff Part 2
  • Lloyd Green Part 1
  • Lloyd’s Venus Moon – TAB -PDF
  • Lloyd Green Part 2
  • Lloyd Green Part 3
  • Lloyd Green Part 7
  • Tommy White Part 1 of 2
  • Tommy White Part 2 of 2