Up From the Top

About five years ago we started the UP FROM THE TOP video series with the A&B pedal version. It was quite a hit with hundreds of players. Since then we have steadily worked on making this course of instruction a true step by step course that would take you through all the right things you need to know in the right order.

There are still lots of new players who don’t know what this is all about, and maybe you are one of them.

First, we need to agree on what a course ought to be. Many players assume that learning pedal steel guitar is about learning a lot of licks or chords. That might be good if you knew how they all got used in a song, or any song. Our view of a pedal steel guitar course is that of teaching you how to understand the real basics of the E9th tuning and what the A&B pedals really do.. first.

That was why we started this course with the four-hour video version using just the A&B pedals and nothing more. It gave you the right foundation for understanding how the E9th tuning came about to start with. This four-hour course gives you all the right licks and scales that got us playing pedals back 50 years ago. If you don’t understand those principles then everything else you learn after that is just useless and confusing information more than likely.

Too many players want to jump into too much at once. They want to learn to play all the knee levers, and all the pedals, all right now. It just doesn’t work out very well. Learning the basics of what the A&B pedals do is a must, and you must be good at playing what you can with those pedals and nothing more. It is a matter of learning to walk before we run.

But There Is More

Some people thought the A&B pedal course was going to be kid stuff only to find out it gave them what they had been missing all this time. This course gives you some great phrases… licks, and how to use them as fills with a singer along with a band. You learn the difference between a major chord phrase and a seventh chord phrase. You learn that there is a time to play, and a time to get out. You learn that it is a science and not a mystery.

We followed that A&B pedal version with the two-hour video course showing you how to use the knee lever that lowers the 4th and 8th string E’s to Eb. We call it the D” lever. Some call it the E” lever. It doesn’t matter what you call it; it is how you know to use it.

The D” lever was the first knee lever to be invented for the E9th tuning. Every guitar has it, and most players use it once in awhile to play some chords. This course shows you how it was intended to be used, in melody lines and phrases. In effect, this one knee lever got us out of playing on one fret, across the strings, and got us thinking and playing left and right laterally the way you hear the good guys playing now. Unfortunately, there are still thousands of players who have this knee lever that still play like they didn’t know the first thing about it.

The “D” lever gave us the ability to invent scales all over the neck that slide and gliss. If you are not using this knee lever this way then you are missing something aren’t you? When you tie the A&B pedals in with the “D” lever you have some of the best pedal steel guitar imaginable. That is why we offer the “D” lever version of the UP FROM THE TOP course.

If you have a normal guitar built within the last 30 years you have the F lever on your guitar This lever is probably the least understood of all. It is one of the last knee levers to come along. Used by itself, it doesn’t sound to well. Maybe that is why so many people leave it alone. But, if you are going to play pedal steel guitar today you cannot ignore it. Every player you hear on television, on the road, and in the studio is using it… extensively.

The F lever raises the 4th and 8th string E’s to F. This change gives you all sorts of scales, licks and phrases, and chord progressions that you just don’t want to do without. It makes the sound of pedal steel guitar as it is today.

It is not a knee lever that you want to learn to use the first day you get a guitar, and that is why we left this for last. The “F” lever version of the UP FROM THE TOP course is four hours long, and could have been another four hours if I had the time to tape it. The amount of information this knee lever offers is limitless. It will change the way you think and play everything. When you can use the F lever along with the D lever and the A&B pedals you can finally see and understand where most of all these good licks you hear on records are coming from.

These pedals make perfect sense when you learn how to use them in order, and with some degree of understanding as you do it. They all make scales, melodies you can use in any song for intros, turnarounds, and the actual melody of the tune.

Some folks would like to know why we call this course;


This series of videos is about learning to play like a pro… from the beginning. The beginning is the top, not the bottom. We learn to play up from there. Playing is fun and we should not forget that part. It is fun from the start… the top of every song to bottom of it.

Each one of these courses comes with videocassettes, audiocassette of all the rhythm tracks to practice with, and a book with everything tabbed out that is played on the video. You can just watch the video, or watch and read the tablature. Any way you do it, you are going to have fun and learn how to play the E9th tuning the right way, and understand what you are doing for a change. If you take this course in order you will find it the best way to learn you have ever tried. This is


Learn the Scale Melody Patterns, Licks and Phrases of the A & B Pedals. Four-hour course includes tablature book, videocassettes and audiocassette. Songs like Storms Never Last, Swinging Doors, Blues Stay Away From Me and more. The video shows the hands and pedals.

$99.00 + S&H

Melody lines, fills, intros, turnarounds and chords using the “D” or E to Eb knee lever. Two-hour course includes videocassette, audiocassette and tablature.

$65.00 + S&H

Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, Crying My Heart Out Over You, Silver Wings show how to utilize the “F” or E to F lever. Four-hour course includes videocassettes, audiocassette and tablature.

$99.00 + S&H

To order, call (615)-470-5224