Is there a practical way to do hammer-ons and pull-offs on a lap steel without only using open strings? As a lap steel has no frets and the strings are too high to push it to the fretboard.

I've tried to use a bottleneck on my pinky to make a barre chord. But that makes playing with your left hand really hard, and you have to deal with two intonations. I've seen some video's of people doing it this way but it sounds a bit sloppy and out of tune.

I've also come across a device knows as the Pedal slide. I think this is the closest thing available right now. But I'm not convinced yet. You can only use your thumb, you sacrifice a lot of left hand mobility and it feels too light because it's hollow.

1 Answer 1


I could imagine the steel guitar equivalent of two-hand tapping; holding a second bar in your right hand. There trick with "normal" tapping is that you don't just pull off, but a bit to the side to impart vibrations, so for the steel version, you'd snag the strings with the bar, maybe using a Shubb-style instead of a bullet-style. You'd have a problem switching back and forth from normal picking, I'd think, but it could be interesting.

  • Normal tapping surely does involve just pull offs - they're the ones that pluck with the fretting finger.
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 18:48
  • @Tim How does that differ from what I wrote? Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 20:10

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