Pedal Steel Guitar String Gauge Guide

by Bobby Lee


The SGF Store
Strings & instruction for lap steel, Hawaiian and pedal steel guitars

The pedal steel guitar makes severe demands on electric guitar strings. Care must be taken when selecting string gauges to get the proper amount tension on all of the strings. The following chart shows recommended guages for each pitch over the entire range of the instrument. To use this chart, select the gauge from the highest pitch created on the open string when a pedal or knee lever is engaged.

        PLAIN                    WOUND                    WOUND
 pitch  gauge             pitch  gauge             pitch  gauge       
---------------------    ---------------------    ---------------------
   A    .011 or .0115       A    .022w             G# Ab  .044 or .046
 G# Ab  .011              G# Ab  .024                G    .046
   G    .011 or .012        G    .024 or .026      F# Gb  .048 or .050
 F# Gb  .013              F# Gb  .026                F    .052 or .054
   F    .014                F    .028                E    .056 or .058
   E    .015                E    .030              D# Eb  .058
 D# Eb  .015 or .016      D# Eb  .032                D    .060
   D    .017                D    .034 or .036      C# Db  .062
 C# Db  .017 or .018      C# Db  .036                C    .064 or .066
   C    .018                C    .036 or .038        B    .066
   B    .019                B    .038              A# Bb  .068
 A# Bb  .020              A# Bb  .040 or .042        A    .070
   A    .020 or .022p       A    .042 or .044      G# Ab  .072 or .074

In cases where there is a choice of two gauges, the characteristics of the individual instrument should be considered. To minimize cabinet drop, the lighter of the two gauges should be used on guitars that have less body strength.

Before buying your next set of strings, be sure to read Steel and Strings by Paul Franklin.

Copyright ©1995 by Bobby Lee

Ray Price Shuffles
Classic country shuffle styles for Band-in-a-Box, by steel guitarist Jim Baron.