The History behind the Steel Guitar

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The steel guitar is a type of stringed instrument which, instead of having its strings placed in a parallel arrangement and played with a bow, as in the violin family, or being plucked, as in the harp, is placed horizontally on its back and its strings are plucked with a metal bar. This technique makes it possible to obtain slides and vibratos not otherwise possible on string instruments.

The History behind the Steel Guitar:

There are two types of steel guitars: lap steels, which are played in the player’s lap; and pedal steels, which are played while standing. The first instruments were made by Hawaiian guitar makers in the late 19th century, when Hawaiians were adapting traditional Spanish guitars to suit their own music. The idea of using a metal bar came from the Hawaiian method that was used for playing slack-key guitar, even though this was done without using a steel.

The Steel Guitar is an instrument that-in many instances-has become synonymous with Hawaiian music. It has a long and colorful history, from the adaptation of the Hawaiian Kika Kaliki (also known as the Hawaiian guitar) by Portuguese immigrants, to its use in country music and rock and roll.

The Spanish Vihuela

It’s believed that the origins of the steel guitar can be traced back to the vihuela, a Spanish instrument that was introduced to Hawaii by Mexican cowboys in the early 1800s. The vihuela was a smallish guitar with five strings, played much like a ukulele, that was used primarily as a rhythm instrument. In 1879, Mexican brothers Manuel and Augusto Nunes arrived in Hawaii, bringing with them their “braguinha” (little trumpet) instruments. These were adapted to create what we now call the Hawaiian guitar (more commonly referred to as the “steel guitar”). Its popularity quickly spread throughout the islands, leading to its inclusion in many bands of the time.

The First Steel Guitarists

One of the first well-known steel guitarists was Joseph Kekuku (known by some as “The Father of Steel Guitar”), who began playing at age twelve. According to his


The steel guitar is one of the most misunderstood instruments in history. The following is a story of how it evolved, and the instrument’s true history.

To begin with, we have to go back to ancient Greece, when there was a stringed instrument called the Sytara. There are no known drawings or pictures of this ancient instrument. It was probably just a cross-stringed instrument that had from four to six strings on it. However, the Sytara had no neck or fingerboard. The strings were stretched across a board, and were tuned in unison by pegs inserted into holes in the board. The strings were then plucked with a plectrum (or pick). This was the very first form of what we call today “the steel guitar.”

The Sytara evolved into an instrument called the Lute, which became very popular during medieval times. This instrument also had no neck or fingerboard, but it had frets that were tied around the strings to give it some sort of scale length. The Lute was held like a guitar and strummed or picked with fingers or a pick made from wood or tortoise shell.

As time went by, the Lute slowly evolved into what we now know

The Steel Guitar is a Hawaiian invention and was born out of the need to play Hawai’i’s native musical instruments (the ukulele and Hawaiian guitar) with the Spanish style guitar picking. The Steel Guitar has been around since the 1880’s and is said to have started in Hawaii when Joseph Kekuku traveled to the mainland United States and gave demonstrations of this new way of playing. Joseph Kekuku met with a Mr. J.H. Nafe who patented the idea on Nov. 27, 1885.

The original steel guitars were played on the lap but by 1900 they were being mounted on legs, therefor making it easier to play while standing up. The design of these early steel guitars was crude and tended to fall apart, or change tunings during performances due to loose tuning pegs, broken strings etc…

By 1915 steel guitars were being built that were more durable and easier to tune, but still had problems with changing tunings during performances. In 1917 Paul Bigsby heard Leon McAuliffe playing one of these early instruments at a dance in California and was inspired to build one for him that would not suffer from these tuning problems. Paul Bigsby used a ball bearing device that allowed the strings to be tuned very accurately, thus eliminating changes

The steel guitar is a type of guitar that has a steel bar as it’s slide. There are many different types of steel guitars, but they all have the same basic design: a body, neck, headstock and strings. The body is where the strings vibrate when you play them, and also where you attach the string. The neck is where the frets are attached. The headstock is where you attach the tuning pegs and strings to tune the instrument. There are two main types of steel guitars: acoustic and electric.

Acoustic Guitars

The acoustic guitar is the most common type of steel guitar. They can be made from many different types of materials like wood, metal, plastic or even paper. Some people prefer acoustic guitars because they sound better than electric ones, while others like them because they’re easier to carry around with them (especially when traveling). Acoustic guitars come in various shapes and sizes depending on what kind of music you’re going to play with it; some people prefer smaller models while others prefer larger models.

Electric Guitars

Electric guitars use electricity instead of wood or metal like acoustic instruments do. Electric guitars usually have pickups that convert your movements into sounds by vibrating metal coils called “pickups”, which then send electrical signals

The steel guitar was invented in Hawaii in the late 19th century on the Hawaiian Islands. The Steel Guitar was adapted from the Mexican Gibson Guitar, but it is played horizontally on the lap and has a slide that can be moved up and down the strings to change pitch. The sound of the steel guitar has been identified as an exclusively Hawaiian instrument, but it is heard throughout country music today.

Today’s modern steel guitars are made of chrome-plated steel with wooden necks and bodies. To play the steel guitar you place it on your lap and move a metal bar along the strings to produce various sounds depending on where you play it and how hard you press down on it.

The history of the steel guitar begins in Hawaii when a Portuguese immigrant named Joseph Kekuku accidentally discovered that he could create different sounds by sliding something along his guitar strings with his fingers. He was playing with a knife one day and started sliding that along his strings and came up with what we now know as a “slide” style. He used a piece of bone at first (probably a chicken bone), then moved up to nails, then finally some brass or glass tubing. There is some debate over whether he went straight to the tube or not, but all accounts agree that he eventually settled

The steel guitar, as we know it today, is thought to have gotten its start in Hawaii in the late 1800s. The original steel guitar was a Hawaiian acoustic guitar with a metal bar attached to the neck that allowed the player to slide around on the strings. This type of steel guitar quickly gained popularity among Hawaiian musicians and became an important part of traditional Hawaiian music.

In the early 1900s, Hawaiian music began to gain popularity in the United States. Musicians from Hawaii would tour the country, performing for large audiences. These performers would often play at shows called vaudeville shows, which were variety shows that featured many different types of entertainment. The most popular form of music at these shows was ragtime music, which used a lot of syncopation (the stress on beats other than those normally accented). A musician named Joseph Kekuku brought the steel guitar to these shows and began playing it in a way that allowed him to perform syncopated melodies. He also used a small piece of wood or bone as a pick so he could play very rapidly and make his instrument sound more like an accordion than a guitar.

Around this time electric pickups were invented that could be attached to acoustic guitars, allowing them to be played through an amplifier and making

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