Lessons from other instruments by Andy Volk

Andy Volk

We lap Steelers are an insular bunch. We tend to listen to and refer to other lap steel players. Sometimes we forget that the lap steel is a musical instrument! By that, I mean you can play anything you want on steel and there is a lot of cool stuff to be learned from master players on OTHER instruments.

Here are two terrific free downloadable resources …
The late jazz guitarist and teacher Ted Greene’s legacy site has a lifetime worth of free study material plus these audio recordings of performances and recorded lessons with his students. You have to do some work to write down concepts from these free-ranging taped discussions but there are real gems to be had.


Mandolin virtuoso Kenneth “Jethro” Burns passed away in 1989, but we can still learn from him through these recordings from his students, Jim Nikora and Mike O’Connell. Rob Coleman graciously shares their audio lesson recordings here:


Andy Volk is an award-winning Boston-based television producer/director, writer, designer and musician. He’s the author of the books Guitar Dreams, Lap Steel Guitar (Centerstream/Hal Leonard), and Slide Rules and co-author (with John McGann) of Joaquin Murphey: Classic Western Swing Steel Guitar Solos. Volk is a also contributing writer to The Fretboard Journal and Acoustic Guitar as well as various online venues.

One thought on “Lessons from other instruments by Andy Volk

  1. robanderlik says:

    Great post Andy! I recall an interview with David Lindley where he talked about hearing a lap steel for the first time at a club and not being able to see who was playing or what instrument they were playing and thinking it sounded like a horn. Certainly a lot of Lindley’s phrasing seems to be influenced by horn players. He has a way of saying so much with just a few notes! Looking forward to digging into the links you’ve provided above!

    Rob Anderlik

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