Do You Lap Steel?

bottlenecker

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I'm envious of all you guys with these beautiful vintage instruments. In my neck of the woods the vintage models that come up for sale are all super expensive. Luckily I don't think there's much that can go wrong when building even the cheapest lap steel, and my modern models all sound fine to me. But you guys got some lookers, for sure!

I had a rogue and gigged it briefly when I was between fenders. It is high value for $100, but it has the same two issues I see on a lot of new lap steels.
1. Bad design. If whoever designed them understood why a guitar bridge doesn't belong on a lap steel, they'd save money and sound better.
2. Bland rock guitar pickups.

If I didn't have old ones, I'd find an especially nice piece of firewood and buy a low wind vintage fender style pickup, and make one.
 

brindlepicker

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Built this from all scrap I had around 11 years ago. Cherry plank and oak hand tooled tuner slots PIA. Aluminum angle for nut and round steel stock for bridge.Sharpie fret markers. 1” Round stock for bar. Had the tuners from an abandoned mandolin project. Slant cheat sheet on tape on the plank.A couple brother used to have a little bluegrass jam with about 6 guys. The host really liked hearing it through his bandit.It’s sat for about 8 yrs here.Even forgot my tuning.
When I first finished it and fired it up the wife said is that thing in tune?...are you sure it’s in tune.... why don’t you just buy one?.. Also took a while to figure out why everything resolved to C.
 
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archiemax

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After spending some time playing a solid-body Gretsch equipped with a Hipshot G and B bender, I made a six-string lap with a bender setup I designed myself. First one I made now belongs to my brother, second one is owned by a steel player in Sacramento, third one I custom-made for a bassist in Vegas. Here's the fourth one; haven't played it for a while but I'm hanging on to this one:
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Mr. St. Paul

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What's G9 string to string? How did you use it?

D-G-D-G-A-D...so open G, but the 2nd string tuned down a step so you can bend behind the bar to raise it to the Major 3rd.

A cool tuning to emulate that pedal steel cry, and familiar to me after years of playing slide guitar in open G. But C6 tuning is easier for going from major to minor chords.
 

mad dog

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I've tried repeatedly. For some reason, steel just resists my learning. So I'll be selling my latest steel, an early 50s Gibson Century 6. It's too pretty and good to have lying about without playing it.
 

brookdalebill

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Nope.
I play pedal steel.
I had a cool old triple neck Rickenbacker, and an old triple neck Fender non pedal steel.
Both were triple 8 string models.
I can’t find much use for 6 string single necks.
I sold the Ricky to the late guitar string maker John Pearse, and gave the Fender away to a friend.
I just don’t play enough Hawaiian or Western swing enough to justify having one,
 

ping-ping-clicka

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I'm envious of all you guys with these beautiful vintage instruments. In my neck of the woods the vintage models that come up for sale are all super expensive. Luckily I don't think there's much that can go wrong when building even the cheapest lap steel, and my modern models all sound fine to me. But you guys got some lookers, for sure!

Ry Cooder made a statement about the vintage instrument market a long time ago , that is unprintable on this site.
 

T-Bone

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Victoria, BC
D-G-D-G-A-D...so open G, but the 2nd string tuned down a step so you can bend behind the bar to raise it to the Major 3rd.

A cool tuning to emulate that pedal steel cry, and familiar to me after years of playing slide guitar in open G. But C6 tuning is easier for going from major to minor chords.

I prefer a G9 tuning that includes the dominant 7 and the 3rd. G B D F A D. It can be thought of as D minor over G7.

The tunings I like best these days are for 7 string lap steel. Either E G B D G B D which is the standard Dobro tuning with a low E added on the bottom for Em7. Or, G C E G A C E, which is the standard C6 lap steel tuning with a G string on the bottom, for a meaner bluesier sound.

And I shall refrain from making any further comment about bottoms and G strings.
 
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