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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Ash Telecaster, Feb 23, 2020.
$200 plus nominal shipping
I’ve got a ‘47 Gibson BR9. Yes, a mahogany plank with a pickup. look around and I’d bet you can get a decent axe for not much money.
I wouldn’t go nuts price wise until you know it’ll be, at least, a little more than a passing fancy
Buy vintage and buy once. I went the cheap route first, and after upgrades, I had about the same in it as my 55 National. ($250.00)
Laps sit on reverb and at GC forever. Make an offer and it will most likely go.in your favor.
What kind of music do you want to play? For blues or rock you already have some great suggestions, but if you want to learn to play Western Swing or classic 40s/50s honkytonk country, you should start with an 8-string right away. Those are slightly harder to find, and slightly more money (but not a lot), and so much more useful when you want to start with a 6th tuning rather than a straight open tuning...
I would mostly use it for blues, rock, country, folk, etc. Western Swing is super cool but I haven't ventured far into that space as of yet.
I have three... A Peavey Powerslide that I bought for cheap, used but new, with the plastic still on the pickup. That was my entrée into laps. The Peaveys look ridiculous, but are actually pretty nice instruments. They have a humbucker that blends to single coil with a knob.
The thing with lap steel is, different tunings have different musical applications, so if you get serious at all you'll end up with more than one.
Besides the Powerslide (which I keep in Open E), I ended up with an Eastwood Airline which I keep in C6 and a Gretsch G-5700 which I keep in Open G.
I would have loved to buy vintage, but around here vintage steel prices are higher than new lap steels, and the ones that were more affordable required more work than I'm capable of putting into them.
Lap steel is an amazing journey for sure! Good luck!
For blues and rock Open E is a very good place to start. If you have any experience at standard guitar you'll be able to play blues licks in no time. Like-- literally no time! You'll likely start to get the hang of it in minutes...*
For country there are a lot of various tunings, but C6 is the one that there's the most instructional material out there for. As soon as you sit down with a C6 steel you'll begin hearing those familiar country western sounds.
*That said, lap steel is a whole world unto itself and the technique required to play really well can take years to develop -- but for rocking along with a common blues progression Open E will get you going right away!
EDITED TO ADD: Check out the Steel Guitar Forum online for lots of friendly, supportive advice from long time players.
I'd recommend C6 low to high C E G A C E (but be aware, you'll need a customized set of string gauges - the lowest pitch C, on the 6th string, is higher than the typical low "E" on guitar).
Here's a pair of Nationals that I had..Really sweet sounding laps..
You should be able to find one for $500 or less..
I paid $15 for the Chicagoan at an auction..And the Rocket 110 was payment for about an hour of repair work..
Interesting! I've used open E on guitar playing Alman Brothers songs. I was totally unaware of this tuning.
I just got a new Gretsch Electromatic. Sounds good. Everything works. I see them for about $200-250 on Craigslist. Bought mine new after buying two “vintage” lap steels that both had major tuning problems. Thought I would start with an instrument that I don’t need to fix before I can start learning to play. It is a lot of fun.
Wait----What? They will build a left handed model at no additional cost. Oh my, where is my credit card. Crap, the wife has all the cards.
I play lap steel,.. have 4 a decade
my opinion you can take a two by four secure two pieces of any thing. With all due respect you are looking for a beginners model, should you lose interest, you won't lose your shirt. anything that raises the strings off the neck , a means of tuning and a pickup, output jack and you are ready to roll. advice: buy a cheap one,, with a no questions asked policy if you don't like it send it back
If I were to by another to add to my 2 Chandler Lap steel guitars I would by the Peavey, you could buy an Asher that are played by Cindy Cashdollar and Ben Harper.
Here's something I put together a long time ago when I was learning Lap Steel.
Its a PDF guide for C6 and open D. I thought I'd love open tunings, but they are tough to play minor chords on. The 6th tunings seem to give the best options for accompanying pop and country stuff. The crappy thing about tunings is that a new tuning requires new strings, because of the gauge needed. So settle on a tuning and stick with it.
Get (rent or borrow) a cheap one and decide. They aren't for everyone. After 10 years, I still have difficulty adjusting my thinking to them.
I found this one for $300 on GC's used listings. Its a Supro I think from the early 60s. Came with the original cheap case and warranty card, which is cool. It also has the pickup where the strings pass through it. Sounds great and just needed new strings. The older ones can be found cheaper and are worth looking into.
I built one out of Slotted Steel Channel because I didn't have any 2 x 4's.
These are very easy to build.
I bought my NIOMA at a yard sale for $15.00 many years ago. The one at Gryphon has the same clear tone as mine. Into a Tweed Deluxe, it spits fire.
Here is minE into a PRS 50 watt H head and a single 12” Jensen MOD.