The Pedal Steel

Starting this past Wednesday afternoon, I am taking a week of time-off to learn the pedal steel guitar. It arrived last Monday, and I've been playing it a lot these past few days.

It's a fun instrument! I like how easy it is to make smooth voice leading.

The instrument that I bought was fairly expensive, but the quality is excellent. It's a Mullen Discovery, and I bought it from Steel Guitars of Nashville. It looks like a pretty complicated instrument at first, but the instrument is engineered well such that it simply works.

One thing that annoys me about the instrument is the picks. I don't find them natural to use. I much prefer to use my fingertips, although this is certainly unconventional.

When I use the picks, I find that it's challenging to mute the strings that I want. Pedal Steel strings will ring a long time unless you stop them.

The two primary ways to mute strings with the right hand are "pick blocking" and "palm blocking." Without going into extreme detail, I find it hard to do either naturally with the picks on.

It would take a great deal of practice to perfect each, and I'm not willing to put in that effort at this time. I will instead use whatever works easily for me. So for now, I'm going to play without picks entirely.


During this week of CTO, I'm also working on programming challenges at I need to be more confident when solving problems on the spot for interviews.

Stiff neck... again

I biked to work on Monday, and when I got to work, I took a shower. In the shower, my neck suddenly stiffened. I'm guessing I pulled a muscle or got a knot. I don't really know! My neck was stiff all week, and it's just now getting better. If this happens again, I'll probably go to a massage therapist immediately and see if they can debug what's going on.

I find it hard to be positive or motivated when it feels like my body is letting me down. I wish I had a better relationship with my body. Most of the time when I'm having some sort of issue, I don't know where it comes from or what it means. I just have to deal with it and hope it doesn't take my life too soon.

We'll see.