The Steel Guitar is a unique instrument for many reasons, but primarily for its portamento capabilities. The portamento technique is performed when a musician plays one note and slides to another note sounding every pitch in between. Though some instruments like the piano cannot perform this maneuver at all, many instruments allow for portamento playing - the violin and the trombone for example.
But the pedal steel guitar is perhaps the only instrument that allows full chords to played in this manner. This means that each chord note can each be altered at varying degrees, allowing for one chord to be smoothly changed into another. This capability is the finest, unique characteristic of the steel guitar.
The steel guitarist must use all limbs and all fingers to achieve the sliding sound. As a result, the steel guitar is not the easiest instrument to learn, but it is definitely one of the most rewarding. It is also incredibly addictive. The complexity of the instrument is a challenge. And its limitless possibilities can be unbelievably encouraging. Keep working at it and I'm sure you'll agree.
Don’t forget to take a look at the chord dictionary I have for sale. I published it in 2011 and have sold several copies. Those that have purchased it have found it very useful and have been giving me very encouraging feedback.
I started creating it in 2010 because I became more interested in learning how to read sheet music for the steel guitar. The problem was that I would see a chord in some classical piece, and I wouldn't be exactly sure if there was an equivalent voicing possible on the steel guitar. This dictionary contains the sheet music for every chord at every fret, so now I'll be able to quickly find out if a particular voicing in the sheet music is possible, or at least the closest voicing possible.
The chord dictionary has lots of other value too. It shows a voicing at every single fret, so you can see if there is some new or interesting way to smoothly play from one chord to another. It has 32 different types of chords (Major, Diminished, etc.) for every key so there's lots of room to get experimental here. Jazz, Western Swing, Classical, (Techno?). In any case, the I'm sure the book will be a handy resource for everyone, even for the three-chord-country fans!
You also may want to pick up the scale dictionary. I finished it earlier this year. It is comprehensive, including thousands of scales. Primary scales are all in there with all their modal variations as well. Some of the scales included are the diatonic (major, minor, etc), the country and blues scales, the harmonic and melodic minors, the enigmatic, various asian and indian scales, and many exotic scales. This dictionary really has every scale you will ever need to play in any genre of music. Check it out.