July 11th, 2012, 03:02 AM
My bandmate Jamie (blargfromspace) has lent me his 8 string lap steel.
I fooled around with it a little (C6 tuning is seriously unusual for a Mongolian stringbender guitarist...) and got nowhere until last night.
I plugged in my Vox Amplug, dialled in some "screamin' Lindley", jacked in my mp3 player and was tooling along with Alejandro Escovedo's "It About This Love" when it began to make sense-- where the minor 3rd is in relation to the major triads etc. I could even make some coherent little improv bits, as I began to "see" where the next note was.
It was pretty loose and messy, but when it sounded good it was goosebump-y good. Then I began to get my head around how I have to slant the steel...
A pedal-steel playing friend said it was a 15 year trip.
5 years to learn the instrument,
5 years to make it sound sweet, and
5 years to get out of the institution.
I'm a little concerned.
Is this the end of normality for me?
July 11th, 2012, 03:24 AM
One-time Saturday Night Live guitarist G.E. Smith has a new Youtube video out about his new signature Tele, and he makes a great case for a direct relationship between Teles and early Fender lap steels--via the bridge pickup. Very interesting.
July 11th, 2012, 04:55 AM
I stay with a six string lap - eight would send me over the edge....
July 11th, 2012, 08:42 AM
I used to be like you. A few months ago I had a friend's pedal steel for the weekend, considered buying it. I was looking at myself in the mirror, going, AM I A STEELER!?!?!?!
.. then, last sunday, I went to a brunch gig where there was a pedal steeler and his VERY softly singing girlfriend... It was three hours of basically solo pedal steel, and I forced myself to stay for all of it. Now I'm cured of the steel sickness!
Of course he'd probably only been playing for about 10 years!
July 11th, 2012, 08:58 AM
I've made some changes since this first one... but the idea is still the same.
Abe said where ya' want this killin' done, God said out on hwy 61.
July 11th, 2012, 01:07 PM
I'm a little concerned.
Is this the end of normality for me?
Yes. Now that you've realized you can do it, you will never recover. Things will never be the same.
Other recent steel guitar discussions in this forum:
The Steel Guitar Thread (http://www.tdpri.com/forum/other-guitars-other-instruments/337269-steel-guitar-thread.html)
thinking about trying to learn to play pedal steel. Where to begin? (http://www.tdpri.com/forum/other-guitars-other-instruments/331540-thinking-about-trying-learn-play-pedal-steel-where-begin.html)
best lap steel slide (http://www.tdpri.com/forum/other-guitars-other-instruments/328944-best-lap-steel-slide.html)
Aaaand there's a Steel Guitar Club (http://www.tdpri.com/forum/guitar-owners-clubs/166113-steel-guitar-club.html) thread in the Guitar Owners Clubs (http://www.tdpri.com/forum/guitar-owners-clubs/) forum.
July 11th, 2012, 04:59 PM
July 11th, 2012, 05:44 PM
Welcome to the fun! Lapsteel is a kick!
July 11th, 2012, 07:28 PM
You should provide some links to your incredible lap steels! If you don't,,,,,, I will!
July 11th, 2012, 07:53 PM
I've been doing Hendrix and Muddy covers down the pub with this rig..........
yeah, you're screwed :grin:
July 11th, 2012, 07:55 PM
jmiles is that last one a New Yorker model of some kind? Looks so great.
The first one I ever bought was in an antique store long ago. It didn't play, and used the old screw on type plug which was unsoldered... $20 later I had it at home and it got me going. No net then so it took awhile to figure out zactlee what I had. The Dlx 8 is pretty nifty but the Supros and Nat'ls scream.
July 11th, 2012, 09:49 PM
The first guitar is a Tele with a Lapdancer square neck conversion.
The second is an Orpheum, which has light bulbs inside that light up the fingerboard.
The third is a very special custom-ordered Gibson D-7. Probably a '39.
The fourth is a Monkey/Wards Airline Rocket/ Valco product. I'd get studio calls for pedal steel, but I always took the Rocket. Artists. producers, and engineers always said, "We gotta hear that thing!." Used a lot!
July 11th, 2012, 10:04 PM
You guys are a bad influence...:mrgreen:
I see we share a surname (https://www.facebook.com/dave.miles.372), jmiles.
July 12th, 2012, 08:11 AM
I'm working on a lap steel design and template right now for my next project, but I get so intimidated every time I look at anything built by Tom Pettingill!!! What a true artist!
July 12th, 2012, 10:47 AM
Miles is my middle name. A most honorable name indeed!
July 12th, 2012, 05:36 PM
You guys are a bad influence...:mrgreen: ...
But bad in a good way :wink:
Here is a fun one from a while back, a Teardrop in black walnut and quilt maple.
July 12th, 2012, 06:34 PM
"jmiles is that last one a New Yorker model of some kind? Looks so great."
Nope. Just a Valco/National Monkey Ward's Airline Rocket. Awesome guitar!
July 12th, 2012, 06:39 PM
What I get my jollies with
July 12th, 2012, 08:08 PM
Oh! Don't get me started into resos and lapsteels! Chandler?
July 12th, 2012, 09:44 PM
^ Chandler steel my wife bought me or Christmas several yrs ago.
The dobro is an inexpensive Regal. I put in a Quarterman cone, and a better bridge and spider.
July 13th, 2012, 07:11 AM
I started on lap steel about 7 years ago, and now I am moving into the pedal steel. Yeah if the bug hits you, you are screwed, chewed and tattoed...
the Jersey Lightning is what I've been using. really quite good!
July 13th, 2012, 11:53 AM
There is a fella kekuku from around pre WWII days who came from Hawaii I believe and created quite a stir going around giving mini concerts on his hawaiian steel. There is some reference to him in the biography on Jimmie Rodgers. As I understand it Rodgers wanted him to work on songs together. This would be the beginning of guitar and steel and country music as I figure it? 1935 or so. I hope I got the facts and dates about right here.
Later he gave lessons on the coast and I met a Rosy riveter who had been a young girl working in the aircraft industry during the war... she spoke VERY highly of him, and that fits with the gossip that he was quite a ladies man.
Steel players do it with more twang. I suppose that fits.
Here's his pic and one of my 1929 Nat'l Tricone. 2 1/2 rose squre neck.
July 13th, 2012, 03:00 PM
As I've said before (http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/282282-lap-steel-post3430477.html), in the 2011 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge, PapaLion built the lap steel Fender should have been building for the last 60 years (http://www.tdpri.com/forum/2011-tdpri-tele-build-challenge/264057-papalions-2011-tdpri-build-challenge-thread.html) (but hasn't yet). It sounds good, too. (He plays bottleneck at the start of the video, but lap style in the second half.)
As I've also said before (in the same post), I never met a lap steel I didn't like, and I've been looking at them for nearly half a century, but the most beautiful ones I've ever seen are the ones Tom Pettingill makes. I'll never be able to afford one, but...
If I had money, tell you what I'd do,
I'd go to California, buy a Pettingill or two, 'cause I'm
Crazy 'bout a Pettingill
Crazy 'bout a Pettingill...
But, Tom... While I've been drooling over the pictures of your wonderful work, I've never had the privilege of hearing any of your steels. If you're not in a position to post a clip yourself, could you perhaps consider coaxing clips from current custodians of your classic creations?
As PapaLion says, Joseph Kekuku is widely regarded as the inventor of the steel guitar; here's Wikipedia's Joseph Kekuku page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kekuku). However, there's reason to believe that Kekuku may have been influenced, directly or indirectly, by Gabriel Davion. Here's a brief overview of steel guitar history (http://www.deltamoon.info/my-instrument-the-steel-guitar/) by Delta Moon frontman Tom Gray. And here's a clip of Tom Gray playing a Harmony Stratotone with an extension nut, lap-style (well, sort of...), complete with a Guitar Support System Malfunction near the end. :eek:
July 13th, 2012, 10:38 PM
8 can be fun once you accept one particular tuning. Love the c6 tuning... acegaceg. Let's you grab a minor chord voicing on ace and major chord voicing on ceg. But also a lot of fun just to take a regular 6 string lap with regular guitar strings and tune it to whatever you like as well.
July 13th, 2012, 10:47 PM
Also if you want to sound like Gilmour on dark side of the moon I think that's all just six string lap
July 14th, 2012, 06:08 PM
July 14th, 2012, 07:59 PM
Your National is a stunner! In my 50+ years of playing, I've had several. But what is quite surprising, is the best sounding reso I've ever had is this el cheapo Regal built Dobro. Bottom of the line guitar. 1937, Perhaps it sounds so good because it's lightly built. It has the voice of an Angel.
It''s a roundneck, but I've recorded it with a nut raiser. Just stunning!
July 16th, 2012, 01:04 AM
Spent most of yesterday with earphones in jamming along to Alejandro Escovedo, Buddy Miller, Hank Williams Snr, Steve Earle ("Never Get Out Of This World Alive"), Junior Brown, David Lindley, Sonny Landreth (not exactly right, but I liked how it sounded!) and even some Charlie Sexton. I'm getting comfortable with how it sits across my legs, and how I can get I, IV, V and minors without moving the steel too much. I'll never be a virtuoso, but I think I'll get handy at it.
I've been using the Vox Amplug (the "Marshall" model) to get a real screaming-David-Lindley-esque sound.
I know it's not "traditional", but I like that sound.
To get something similar live I'll probably have to use either both my little TT Peavey Rages (stereo out of my Marshall Vibratrem), or my Ibanez TSA15.
I'll get a pic of the weapon of choice- it's got no name on it that I can see, but it has like a Strat-ish pickup with oversized polepieces. Wooden body, and black wrinkle-finish on the bridge. I might swap out the tone knob for a Gibson speed knob- I like how it sounds comping behind with the tone rolled off, but the knobs are like effects pedal knobs and a little awkward to tweak while playing.
I'm not using any picks. I tried the thumb- and finger-picks, but I have a real problem getting any connection to the strings with them. I can't fingerpick on a "normal" guitar with them either, so I'm happy enough to play without them at the moment.
I think I'm going to enjoy this off-track excursion.:wink:
As soon as I can record something that doesn't sound like tomcats at midnight, I'll post it...:mrgreen:
July 16th, 2012, 10:26 AM
... I'm not using any picks. I tried the thumb- and finger-picks, but I have a real problem getting any connection to the strings with them. ...
There is no wrong way as long as it makes you smile. Here is a dude that does ok with just a flat pick :wink:
July 16th, 2012, 11:30 AM
I play both with and without picks. I fit the picks so they don't stick out very far from my fingertips, so the feel is a similar as possible. I also cut the blade on the thumbpick very short.
Pedal and lapsteel-picks
Bottleneck and 6-string- no picks, unless I'm playing something fast like Gatton.
July 18th, 2012, 11:29 PM
I just bought a Grestch G5715 with the Tobacco Sunburst finish a few months ago. I've been loving the sounds I've been getting from it. 1st song I learned was Sleepwalk then started in on the Don Helms licks. I have it tuned to C6 for that Classic Country sound. I've been running it through my 65' Deluxe Reverb Reissue. It creates those Classic Country sounds very well! I'm in love haha. I can't wait to get better so I can actually put it on my tunes.
July 19th, 2012, 12:17 AM
Welcome to the club mratomic! I've always liked the Gretsch body style, Magnatone had one very similar too, the Troubadour.
Here is a body I made for a guy based off that asymmetrical stepped shape.