From Country Standard Time: Don Helms, pedal steel guitarist for Hank Williams’ Drifting Cowboys, died this morning at 81. He is featured on more than 100 Williams recordings. Helms played a lap steel (also known as “Hawaiian steel”) guitar. This type of steel guitar lacks the foot pedals found on the more modern pedal steel guitar, which did not come into prominence in country music until after Hank Williams’ death in 1953.
Now go put on a Hank Sr. song (“So Lonesome I Could Cry” is a good one) and listen to the distict wail of Helms’ pedal steel.