Steel Guitar 2.0 User Manual

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Steel Guitar is a custom virtual instrument designed for universal iOS devices. Harnessing our longtime expertise in digital signal processing, virtual instrument design, and computerized musical technologies, Steel Guitar offers a highly versatile electronic medium for guitarists, electronic musicians, and all music enthusiasts.

Built completely from scratch, the new Steel Guitar combines our latest technologies to bring you an exceptionally realistic sound, countless tonal opportunities, and a seamless player experience. Whether your tastes lie in Rock, Blues, Country, Electronic, or discovering your own special thing - the full range of guitars, amps, effects, features, and connectivity of Steel Guitar provides you a perfect springboard for music creation.

The Basics

The basic functions in Steel Guitar for iOS

  1. Fretboard
  2. Slide Bar
  3. Pickguard
  4. Signal Chain
  5. Preset Manager
  6. Guitar Browser
  7. App Settings
  8. Fretboard Scroll / Guitar Dimensions Lock

The Guitar

Pluck the strings by touching the pickguard. Touch or slide over the fretboard to drag the slide bar. Aligning the groove along the center of the slide bar with a fret will give exact pitch.

The new Steel Guitar also lets you rotate (or "slant") the slide bar by using two fingers on the fretboard in a rotating motion. You can also "mute" the string by using three touches. These gestures are customizable in the app settings menu.

Scroll the fretboard, as well as change fret size, string spacing, and pickguard size by touching the PADLOCK button on the upper right.

Load a different guitar by touching the GUITAR BROWSER button on the upper menu bar.

To change or load a new tuning, access the SETTINGS menu and select TUNINGS. Here you can specify the pitch for each string individually or load one of the saved tunings available for the current guitar by touching the tuning display name. You can also save your tunings to easily load them later.

FX and Amps

The new Steel Guitar provides you with a fully configurable signal chain. You can combine effects and amps in your signal chain to obtain an immense variety of tones.

To add an effect or an amp, touch the FX button in the upper menu bar. To remove an effect, drag its icon outside of the signal chain area. Move an effect by dragging and dropping its icon to a different location in your signal chain. Replace an effect by touching and holding its icon until the FX Browser view appears.

Double tap an icon to pull up that effect's control view: here you can adjust amp or effect parameters to your liking. To hide the control view, simply touch the CLOSE button on the right.

TIP: On the iPhone and iPod Touch, access the FX signal chain as well as the control area by touching the FX menu bar button.


Save your current setup as a preset to conveniently recall it in the future. Steel Guitar presets save your signal chain data, as well as the data for the current guitar.Access the Preset Manager by touching the preset name display area on the upper left. Select a folder on the left to view the presets organized in that folder.

TIP: You can install an emailed preset or folder by touching and holding its icon in your Mail app and selecting "Open With Steel Guitar." Currently, iOS only allows a single attachment per email.

TIP: To import presets or folders via iTunes, connect your device to your computer and drag and drop the files to the iTunes app file sharing folder assigned to Steel Guitar in iTunes.

Pedals & Copendent

Steel Guitar has an array of 7 string-bending pedals. Each one can be used to bend one or more strings. String bending works in a principle similar to pedal steel guitars, and is fully customizable using a "copedent" — accessible via PEDAL PREFS in the settings menu.

The pedals (and guitar volume) can be controlled by tilting your device (accelerometer) or by a MIDI controller.

Use the BEND ATTACK and RELEASE sliders in the settings menu to specify the speed at which a string is bent and released after a bend.

Access the PEDAL PREFS screen to specify which pedal bends which strings. On the PEDAL PREFS, each row represents a string on the current guitar. Each column represents a pedal. To set what happens to a string when a pedal is activated, touch the cell at the corresponding row-column pair.

The pedal copendent in Steel Gutar for iOS

EXAMPLE: To bend the 2nd string up two half-steps using Pedal 1, touch the cell on row 2, column 1 twice so that it reads +2. Now to use the same pedal to simultaneously drop the 3rd string by 1 half step, touch the cell on row 3, column 1 repeatedly until it reads -1.

To specify which accelerometer gesture controls a given pedal, touch the corresponding ACCEL button repeatedly until the name of the desired accelerometer gesture is displayed.

Use the SENSITIVITY slider to set how much tilt the device needs to activate the pedals via the accelerometer.

Use the two buttons provided for VOLUME control to configure how the accelerometer is used to control the guitar volume.

The pedal-to-strings map (copedent) is saved into Steel Guitar presets, and is automatically loaded when a preset is selected.

Inter-App Audio and Audiobus

Steel Guitar can be used as an instrument or input with Inter-App Audio host apps as well as an input in Audiobus. By integrating these technologies, Steel Guitar enables you to conveniently use it with compatible DAWs or Audiobus friendly apps without leaving the context of your iOS device.

For more information about using Inter-App Audio or Audiobus, please refer to the instructions provided by your Inter-App Audio host app or the Audiobus documentation.


Steel Guitar's PRO Pack upgrade provides highly versatile user-friendly MIDI implementation. With MIDI enabled, you can use your favorite MIDI device to control any amp or FX parameter. You can also use your MIDI pedalboard or controller to manipulate the string-bending pedals and guitar volume, presenting you a highly expressive virtual instrument that captures the essence of lap, console or pedal steel guitars.

Access MIDI preferences by going to the SETTINGS menu:

MIDI Learn

Steel Guitar can "learn" any of its MIDI-controllable parameters via this feature. MIDI Learn allos you to conveniently assign Control Change messages on your MIDI device to change a Steel Guitar parameter.

Start by connecting your iOS compatible MIDI controller to your device. Depending on your controller, you may be able to connect it via USB through Apple's Camera Connection Kit or a USB-to-Lightning adapter, or by an iOS compatible MIDI interface. Ensure that your device recognizes the MIDI controller.

Turn the MIDI Learn switch on. Foreground any guitar, amp, or effect you would like to program by double tapping on its icon on the signal chain strip. To learn a parameter, select it by touching the green rectangular overlay so that it turns red. Once a parameter is selected, manipulate the control on your MIDI device that you wish to use. Upon success, the CC/Channel combination will appear on the overlay. Repeat with any other Steel Guitar parameters you wish to program. When finished, go back to the settings menu and turn off MIDI Learn

MIDI Learn in Steel Guitar for iOS

Advanced MIDI Learn Options in Steel Guitar for iOS

MIDI Learn Options

Double tap the MIDI Learn Overlay on a Steel Guitar parameter to call up the MIDI Learn Options dialogue.

For CONTINUOUS Steel Guitar parameters, use the MIDI MIN and MIDI MAX entries to map the native value range of your MIDI device to a narrower range. This can come in handy for controlling a smaller range of values on a Steel Guitar parameter while retaining the full sweep on your MIDI device.

EXAMPLE: You can use the full sweep of your expression pedal to control a specific range of the sweep on the Wah 1969 effect.

For continuous Steel Guitar parameters, you can turn on the custom STATE CONTROL feature. When enabled, State Control automatically turns off the parent unit when it receives a Control Change value 0. The unit automatically turns back on if the Control Change value is increased. In order to do this, the unit that the parameter belongs to must have an explicit on/off switch.

EXAMPLE: Turn on the State Control feature for the Sweep parameter on Wah 1969: when you bring your expression pedal to its fully heel-down position, the wah will automatically turn off. When you start moving the pedal down, it will turn back on again.

For LATCH Steel Guitar parameters, use the ON/OFF THRESHOLD option to specify the cutoff value between the parameter's on and off states. The default cutoff value is 64.

Example: with the On/Off Threshold set to 64, MIDI Control Change values 64 and higher will turn the switch on, whereas values less than 64 will turn it off

In order to ensure correct switching behavior, select one of the TYPE options so that it matches the behavior of the buttons on your MIDI device: if your MIDI device has latching buttons, select LATCH; if it has momentary buttons, select MOMENTARY

TIP: Most MIDI devices allow their controls to be programmed to specify value range and latch/momentary behavior. Refer to your MIDI device's documentation for more information.

Reserved MIDI CCs

The following Control Change Messages are reserved for specific features in Steel Guitar, and cannot be assigned to other controls:

Tapedeck and Metronome

The Steel Guitar PRO Pack provides a versatile but easy-to-use Tapedeck to conveniently record, play back, or loop audio without leaving the app. It also provides many production friendly features such as audio import/export, copy/paste, and set-measure recording for easily creating sample-accurate loops.

TIP: You can specify the time signature and tempo on the metronome screen


Use the TAP button to tap in a tempo. Alternatively, use the SET jog wheel to specify the BPM. Use the BEAT COUNT and BEAT VALUE selectors to specify the time signature. For example, a 5/4 signature can be obtained by setting the BEAT COUNT to 5 and BEAT VALUE to 4.

Settings and Preferences



TIP: If SLANT BAR feature is turned off with STRING DAMPING on, you can use two fingers to activate damping. If both features are on, use three fingers to activate damping.

MIDI & Audio