If it was my posts you’re referring to then I’m glad you found them inspiring
I’ve been playing steel guitar for a few years now and while I’m self-taught and I haven’t played many guitars at all to compare, I hope I can at least bring a few tips or observations:
It’s an instrument family, not really a singular instrument. Dobro and pedal steel have pretty different techniques for example. I’d recommend researching different types of steel guitar as they all sound and play differently and there’s a lot of beautiful music out there with steel guitar in it. I started with an electric lapsteel and I think it’s perhaps the easiest and definitely the cheapest to start with.
Lapsteel guitars are (or at least can be) a lot less complex than Spanish guitars to manufacture. You don’t have frets to deal with and intonation is done by the player manually with the bar, so cheap budget steel guitars are a lot more playable than you might expect. It’s a good way to see if the instrument is for you or not.
Things to watch out for are machine heads and electronics but if you only want an instrument to practice on, these are great.
If you want a good lapsteel I’d look for a used vintage one. Pricing and availability depend a lot on where you live (North America is king when it comes to steel guitar in general) but if you look around you can surely get one for a good price.
The lapsteel I have is a Peavey Powerslide, which was kind of a mistake in retrospect as it’s made out of some type of glass fiber, giving it very little sustain. I also have very little use for its humbucker mode.
If you’re coming from a guitar background, the only technique that translates is the right hand if you play fingerstyle. The “guitar” in the name is more historical than descriptive though it seems to have led to a lot of guitarists playing steel with little or no practice or understanding of the instrument as well as quite a bit of online content that teaches what at least in my opinion is bad technique (even moreso than my personal bad habits). Just please be wary about some YouTube tutorials, especially ones that tell you to play with a plectrum or do it “in the style of” someone who’s known for playing another instrument.
I seriously recommend you get a real steel or tonebar. Things like guitar slides or other objects often don’t have the the weight to produce a nice sustain and don’t press down on the strings as easily.
There are different styles of steel that are good for different styles of playing and I can’t make a strong recommendation either way. I like the grip of a dobro-style tonebar but I can see the benefit of a cylindrical steel for things like slants. I like a rounded tip because they don’t snag when transitioning between strings as easily.
Tune however you want but conventional tunings such as C6 for the instrument are really useful and beautiful. I stubbornly started out tuning to a repeating minor chord (ACEACE) but realized just how much I was missing by not just adding the extra G for occasional major chords, 6th or 7th chords.
It’s really fun to experiment with any kind of tuning though.
If you’re more looking for a pedal steel sound, you can still approximate it with techniques such as bending strings or bar slants. It’s not even close to what a pedal steel can do but it’s far less of a money/time investment. If you want advice specifically for pedal steel, @Pineyb gave me a lot of needed pointers.
I still appreciate all the time I put into learning lapsteel before going to pedal steel. It would have been overwhelming having to learn the basic techniques on top of all the complexity to do with the pedals and knee-levers.
I also recommend a volume pedal. It’s not necessary at all for lapsteel but it’s so beautiful and expressive. For steel guitar what you need is one with an extremely light action. You’re playing sitting down so you have less weight to exercise on the pedal and there are a lot of volume pedal techniques specific to steel guitar that require a swift foot. It takes a while to learn but I love using it.
I hope at least some of that was useful. I don’t consider myself an authority (anyone who feel they know more, please pitch in) but I’ve been playing for about half a decade now and have at least acquired some type of perspective on some of these things, as insular as it may be.
…and have fun!