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The Lap steel guitar which is believed to have originated in Hawaii in the late 19th century. They were developed by Hawaiian musicians who adapted traditional guitar playing techniques to a new instrument that could be played while sitting down. The first lap steel guitars were made from cigar boxes and other materials, and were played with a steel bar or slide. The instrument became popular in the United States in the early 20th century, and has since been used in a variety of musical genres, including country, blues, and rock.

The Sound Of A Lap Steel Guitar playing the style and sounds of lap steel on a Strat. ( Conventional guitar)

What are the Parts of a Lap Steel

Lap Steel Guitar Bridge

The Bridge of a Lap Steel Guitar Photo by Paul Wildman

Unlike conventional guitars lap steel guitars are generally made from one piece of wood and the strings high above the fretboard A lap steel guitar typically consists of the following parts:

1. Body: The main part of the guitar that houses the pickups, bridge, and other components.

2. Neck: The long, thin part of the guitar that extends from the body and holds the fretboard.

3. Fretboard: The flat surface on the neck where the player presses down on the strings to create different notes.

4. Tuning pegs: The small knobs at the top of the neck that are used to adjust the tension of the strings and tune the guitar.

5. Bridge: The component that holds the strings in place and transfers their vibrations to the pickups.

6. Pickups: The electronic components that detect the vibrations of the strings and convert them into electrical signals.

7. Volume and tone controls: The knobs on the body of the guitar that allow the player to adjust the volume and tone of the sound produced by the pickups.

8. Output jack: The socket on the body of the guitar where a cable can be plugged in to connect the guitar to an amplifier or other audio equipment.

Who are considered great lap steel players?

There have been many great lap steel guitar players throughout history. Here are a few notable ones:

1. Sol Ho’opi’i – Considered one of the greatest lap steel guitarists of all time, Sol Ho’opi’i was a Hawaiian musician who popularised the instrument in the 1920s and 1930s.

2. Jerry Byrd – Known for his smooth, melodic playing style, Jerry Byrd was a prolific lap steel guitarist who played with many country music legends, including Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb.

3. David Lindley – A versatile musician who has played with a wide range of artists, David Lindley is known for his innovative lap steel guitar playing, which incorporates elements of blues, rock, and world music.

4. Cindy Cashdollar – A Grammy-winning musician who has played with artists like Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams, Cindy Cashdollar is one of the most respected lap steel guitarists in the world today.

5. Robert Randolph – A virtuoso player who has been called the “Jimi Hendrix of the pedal steel guitar,” Robert Randolph has brought the instrument to new heights with his innovative playing style, which incorporates elements of funk, rock, and gospel music.

Tunings on a Lap Steel Guitar

We asked guitarist Paul Wildman about the tunings on a lap steel guitar he can recommend for lap steel guitar players and this is his answer:

Paul recommends some open lap steel Tunings including a very useful open D (DADF#AD) as he used on “Steel Guitar Rag” and G (GBDGBD) Also DGDGBE as he uses on the Pink Floyd Great Gig In The Sky riff. All low to high strings.

Lap Steel Guitar Lessons and Licks On Youtube

Paul Has lots of Lap Steel Guitar Licks on his Youtube Channel Wild River Guitar

Playing a lap Steel Guitar with a slide

Photo by Paul Wildman Lockdown Licks/Wildman Guitar

Our Friend Paul Wildman of Lockdown licks has lot’s of licks to play on a lap steel guitar if you want to check it out he also send us these photos of the parts of a lap steel guitar in the previous section. I asked Paul about getting his lap steel guitar and if he had any tips about playing a lap steel guitar and he told me that on his videos on YouTube and Facebook he goes into more detail about different tunings for a lap steel guitar and the types he plays are glass bottleneck, tone bar, steel tube and bullet bar. He also told me that if you are considering buying a lap steel guitar you don’t have to go big budget and you can get a decent lap steel guitar for around $200. He has a Harley Benton Lap Steel Guitar which he got for only about $80 and other guitars makers such as Recording King and SX instruments are well under £200. If you would like to know more about playing lap steel guitars why not subscribe to Paul’s Wildmans Youtube Channel and Follow him on Facebook for more on Lap Steel and Regular Guitar Licks on Facebook for beginner lessons Paul Recommends Troy Brenningmeyer who has lots also lots of lap steel guitar lessons on YouTube