I like blues featuring steel guitar

Can you recommend anything? I just discovered Kasey Chambers and “Runaway Train”–I think this counts as an example.

Hey Doghouse,

I would get “Genuine Houserocking Music” by Hounddog Taylor and the Houserockers. Slide guitar, guitar, and drums. Nothing else. It’s hard, primitive Chicago blues.

My personal favorite song to recommend would be “Love in Vain” from Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out by the Rolling Stones. This features Mick Taylor on slide, and it’s awesome.

BTW, it’s really slide guitar that you’re hearing in the blues, not steel guitar.

There is also:
a) lap steel (David Lindley w/Jackson Browne, Sleepwalk by Santo and Johnny)
b) pedal steel associated with C&W, Hawaiian, and Nigerian JuJu,
c) Dobro (an acoustic guitar with large metal plates in it) that is used in some country and bluegrass. I believe you can hear one played by Jerry Douglas (the name in dobro) in Man of Constant Sorrow on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.

Before I forget, check out some Ry Cooder records. Very rootsy, not necessarily the blues, frequent use of slide guitar. For blues, maybe some early Johnny Winter stuff. For a trip back in time, Hello Central, Give Me Dr. Jazz has some slide work on it, in an old-timey vein.

Frequently used sliding materials: bottle necks, metal pipes, penknives, ashtrays.


Duane Allman was a master of slide guitar, which is more a style than a particular instrument.

If you’re talking about pedal steel guitar, look for Poco; Rusty Young was terrific.

Thanks, and thanks for correcting my misconception on slide vs. steel!

What is the guitar that looks like it has an upside down metal dish right under the guitarist’s fingers?

Doghouse Reilly

Wait a minute, I think this answers the question I posed just now. Isn’t this the guitar that has a kind of boxy metallic sound?

“Dobro” is actually a brand name, which has become somewhat genericized in that a lot of people will use the term to mean “resonator guitar”, which is the more correct term for a guitar with the metal thing (called a resonator) in the middle of the body. For instance, a lot of people will comment on Mark Knopfler’s “dobro” playing. When he plays a resonator guitar, he actually usually plays an old National. An artists rendition of his National appears on the “Brothers in Arms” album cover.

Before somebody calls me on it, I suppose the rendition on “Brothers in Arms” could be from a photograph. Anyway, it is Knopfler’s “O Style” National that he is shown here with:


As others have pointed out, you should use the term “steel guitar” to mean pedal steel or lap steel to avoid confusion. One reason confusion arises, of course, is that some brands of resonators, like Knopfler’s National, have a metal body (you also now know what Paul Simon was getting at with the lyric “The Mississippi Delta was shining like a National guitar.”).

I think the OP was expressing appreciation for “Slide guitar” in more proper terminology. Among others, try Roy Rogers (NOT the singing cowboy - the contemporary blues guy who plays with Norton Buffalo a lot). He plays one mean slide:

What’s this? No Robert Johnson? If you really want to get to the basics, get some Robert Johnson. He also has a really interesting legend attached to him. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Crossroads” (early 90’s movie, not the Britney Spears one), it involves the legend of Robert Johnson.


If you want to get back to the roots of blues slide, also look up Elmore James.

IIRC, the National Steelbody guitars were available as slide instruments with square-backed necks and as regular guitars with a more rounded back to the neck. Bob Brotzman’s Hello Central, Give Me Dr. Jazz features both fretted and slide steelbody instruments. Monster chops, hot licks!