How Many Strings Should The C Pedal Raise

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When it comes to playing the steel guitar, the intricacies of the pedal steel are both fascinating and complex. As a long-time player of the instrument, I’ve encountered numerous discussions and debates about how many strings the C pedal should raise. In this article, I’ll delve into this topic and offer my insights on the matter.

The C Pedal

The C pedal on a pedal steel guitar is a crucial component that allows players to change the pitch of certain strings. This pedal is often used in conjunction with other pedals and levers to achieve a wide range of musical possibilities. However, the number of strings that the C pedal raises can vary depending on the specific setup of the instrument and the player’s preference.

Traditional Setup

In a traditional pedal steel guitar setup, the C pedal typically raises two strings. This setup allows for the creation of classic chord voicings and harmonies that are commonly heard in country and western music. By engaging the C pedal, players can achieve a sweet and resonant sound that adds depth to their playing.

Extended Raising

Some pedal steel players, including myself, have opted for an extended raising of the C pedal. This modification involves raising three or more strings instead of the standard two. The extended raising offers a unique tonal quality and widens the range of available harmonies, adding a touch of versatility to the instrument’s sound.

My Personal Preference

After experimenting with different setups and configurations, I have found that raising three strings with the C pedal aligns with my musical style and playing technique. The additional string raise provides me with a richer harmonic palette and allows for more intricate and lush chord progressions. It’s a modification that has greatly enhanced my playing and musical expression.

Considerations for Players

It’s important for players to consider their musical goals and stylistic preferences when deciding on the number of strings the C pedal should raise. Traditionalists may prefer the classic two-string raise for its timeless appeal, while others might find the extended raising more suitable for their creative pursuits. Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, and each player should explore different options to find what resonates best with their musical identity.


In the world of pedal steel guitar, the debate over how many strings the C pedal should raise continues to spark engaging conversations among players. Whether sticking to the traditional two-string raise or opting for an extended raising, the choice ultimately rests on individual preferences and musical inclinations. As for me, the extended raising of three strings with the C pedal has become an integral part of my playing, enriching my musical expression in ways that I could have never imagined.