Welcome to...

John Ely’s Steel Guitar Web

Announcements...

Speedy West
With the late, great Speedy West during my set at Scotty's 1994 convention in St. Louis.

Lessons

For a number of reasons I made the decision to suspend my teaching last year, among them so I could focus more on my steel guitar instruction book. I do plan on resuming teaching at some point so please contact me if interested and I'll keep you informed on a likely restart date. General Lesson Information...

Chord/Scale Locators on Hold

Something seems to have suddenly gone wrong with my PHP scripts, which include the chord locators and the scale locators. Ether that or my web traffic has now exceeded the limits of my web hosting plan. Either way, I'm having to post a barebones version of my site without some of these popular features. I will gradually add in the locator scripts over time to determine what's causing the problem. You can help me by reporting any recent problems you've had using the locators. It will also help if you let me know which of the locators you use the most. That may determine which ones I repost first. Just contact me via the Guestbook or using the contact info at the bottom of any of my webpages. It may take several weeks for me to work this out... Sorry for the inconvenience!

This is a disturbing development, as the scripts have essentially not changed over the last 10 years. So possibly increased traffic is the culprit. Incidentally, though the website scripts have not changed, I've been working steadily on improvements to the locators, which I hope to roll out soon, including improvements in how results are displayed. Stay tuned!

The Mailing List

I would encourage students of the steel guitar to sign on to my mailing list on the Guestbook page. Here's what I send mailing list members:

  • Updates on the release of instructional materials
  • Newsletter covering various steel guitar topics
  • Free tab arrangements sent periodically

If you're interested in arrangements, you can use the Guestbook to let me know your tuning(s), playing level, and any requests you have.

Hotspots...

Master Tuning List

My comprehensive listing of playable Hawaiian, country, and western swing tunings gathered over 30 years, including comments on each tuning type and possible strengths and weaknesses of various setups. Details...

String Gauge Chart

Choice of string gauges is one of the most asked about technical topic in setting up a steel guitar. I have listed common string gauges used for each pitch from the rarely used high A string to the low A (very few will try to tune a note below this pitch). And there a host of issues that will affect your choice of strings gauges. Feel free to download my handy string gauge chart. Details...

New Arrangement Samples

I have posted some new material, including two new sample arrangements, "Coconut Grove" and "Bubbles In My Beer," and an updated Tablature Key. I also posted a couple of music theory primers you may find helpful. I now have the ability to create audio to go with the tablature. Details...

Beginner's Pages

If you a beginner, here are a few tips I hope will point you in the right direction, including basic equipment such as picks and steel bars and a little about the psychology of learning steel guitar. It is not the easiest instrument to take up, but the payoff is huge. Details...

The Chord Locators

I wrote the chord locators to allow you to locate chords commonly used in most steel guitar styles on whatever tuning you happen to play. No knowledge of music theory is required to use the Generic Chord Locator. I'm continuing to add to the menu of chord types and chord voicings within each chord type—if you think I've omitted an important chord in any of the chord categories please let me know. Details...

The Advanced Chord Locator is for experienced musicians who have a voicing in mind and want to see if it's available on their tuning. You can also use this locator to determine if your voicing might be available transposed up or down using open strings. Details...

Scale Locator Update—June 22, 2010

The scale locators now have much improved display of results, using the same graphics engine used by the chord locators. The scale forms generator is virtually complete; I consider the basic scale locator to still be in beta—more work needs to be done to eliminate unuseful results. Check out the Scale Forms Locator...