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Lap steel bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BassWombat, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. I spotted this the other day: http://buildyourguitar.com/resources/lapsteel/index.htm and I got to thinking about whether you could make a lap steel bass and what it would sound like...

    The construction looks very easy and I've got all the bits other than a bass fretboard lying around (and with a nice piece of wood as the body I think you could do just as well marking the "frets" on the body rather than a specific fretboard), and I'm looking for a bit of a project at the moment. Am I mad?!
  2. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    To my ears slide doesn't seem to work very well with fat bass strings -- try a traditional slide on a bass guitar and see what YOU think.
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    It's interesting. I wouldn't do it.

    Fretless bass will give you pretty much the same effect.
  4. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    John Paul Jones uses a bass lap steel on his Zooma CD, a must buy for any bass player.
  5. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I don't think it'd work too well, as lap steels are generally tuned to open chords.
  6. I pretty much understand that it wouldn't become a go-to instrument (I've got a fretless anyway). I think I'll probably make one anyway as it won't cost anything but my time - and I enjoy building stuff. At worst I'll end up making it, post a clip of me making a terrible noise with it, then we can all confirm it was a terrible idea! At best it could be something fun for some weird recordings!
  7. wave rider

    wave rider

    Jan 5, 2005
    Just make sure you use the right tone woods...


  8. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    It sounds like a fretless bass with a metal fingerboard, but I've only done it with a regular bass, not a speical lap bass.
  9. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Ever hear Mark Sandman and Morphine?
  10. I say go for it. In that format you can do any number of strings, open tunings, octave strings etc. So what if itÂ’s not the most versatile band instrument.

    I bet Jason Lollar would wind the pickup too.

    Have fun and post sounds.

  11. weissguy


    Feb 6, 2008
    I play weissenborn hawaiian guitars. Bob Brozman has a huge baritone weissenborn steel, a santa cruz fretted and national steel guitar to get down to low B or A. I think all 3 are 27" scale.
    David Lindley has a bass string on his lowest string and when he plays live, he is playing thundering low bass-lines , chords and leads on his weissenborn.
    To me, the longer-scale lapslide guitars just seem so huge to play, and harder to lock in on notes.

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