Pedal Steel Guitar
The Pedal Steel Guitar is a type of electric guitar that uses a metal bar to "fret" or shorten the length of the strings, rather than fingers on strings as with a conventional guitar. Unlike other types of steel guitar, it also uses pedals and knee levers to change the pitch, hence the name "pedal" steel guitar. The word "steel" in the name comes from the metal tone bar, which is called a "steel", and which acts as a moveable fret, shortening the effective length of the string or strings being plucked as the player moves it up and down the neck with one hand. The instrument is horizontal with the strings face up, and is typically plucked with thumbpick and fingers or (two or three) fingerpicks. The pedals are mounted on a cross bar below the body and the knee levers extend from the bottom of the guitar's body and are used to stretch or slacken the strings and thus change the pitch in the process of the guitar being played; the action of the pedals may either be fixed, or may be configurable by the player to select which strings are affected by the pedals. The pedal steel, with its smooth portamenti, bending chords and complex riffs, is one of the most recognizable and characteristic instruments of American country music.