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Lap steel players... please help.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by two fingers, Dec 27, 2017.


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  1. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    So, my outlaws (translation: in-laws) are the BEST at giving Christmas gifts. They give you things you didn't know you wanted until you got one.

    That leads me to this. It is one of only three ever made by a luthier down where they live. The craftsmanship seems fantastic. I know exactly zero about lap steel. I know even less about this one. But I am excited to give it a go!!!

    Supposedly the guy milled the nut, string retainer, the plate at the base of the neck and saddles out of hunks of metal. All wood was done using hand or bench tools. Solid poplar with a rosewood board.

    Pics then questions...
    20171226_151158. 20171226_151417. 20171226_151727. 20171226_151424.

    Pretty cool, huh?

    So, talk to me about bar slides. I like the looks of the Shubb GS-1 Just because it's wood. Thoughts?

    Picks. I know nothing. Whataya think? My fingers are big. Other than that I got nutn.

    Tube combo. I want a cool amp for this thing. A buddy of mine has a custom amp that is made for guitar and uses a 15" guitar speaker. It sounds super cool when he plays slide. Are there any out there factory made like that? I'll probably wind up with a Blues Jr. or something but just curious about your thoughts.

    Then just general advice about good video lessons. I don't think anyone near me plays so in-person lessons are out.

    As always, thanks! Short and choppy answers are fine. Or go nuts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  2. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Cool guitar!

    Get a steel “steel” - not wood. That’s where the steel in steel guitar comes from. Now, steels are a personal choice, but as a beginner and since you have a six string a dobro steel might work well - it has channeled finger holds and is curved on one end - very forgiving. If you go round, there’s diffferent lengths, diameters and weights - and you may need to experiment.

    Amp - generally, you’ll want a clean sound unless your going for a Ben Harper/Robert Randolph kind of vibe. I use a Peavey Nashville 112 for pedal and straight steel and sometime my old Gibson Falcon for straight or lap.

    There’s a guy called Troy Brenningmeyer that has a ton of great lesson snippets on YouTube. And his for-fee video lessons are quite affordable. He’s very systematic and his lessons make a lot of sense.

    One more good resource is the “Steel Guitar Forum”...kinda like Talkbass for steel guitarists of all types - pedal, straight, lap, reso, Hawaiian, weissenborn etc.
     
    Lo-E, McFarlin, Stumbo and 1 other person like this.
  3. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Oh, and picks. I’m 50-50 with them....sometimes yes, sometimes not. Easier to learn without, but then you kind of limit yourself in the long run. Get steel picks for index and middle, plastic pick for thumb. To start....
     
    McFarlin and two fingers like this.
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
  5. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    You’re welcome @two fingers. I went through this journey in 2013! Happy to pass on what I learned....
     
  6. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    And if you’re looking for some incredible playing and inspiration, google up Cindy Cashdollar. Her website is a good resource for alternate tunings and string gauge references.

    Do you know the tuning of your guitar? Could be Dobro (open G variant) , C6 or A6?
     
    Bunk McNulty and mikewalker like this.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    By the way, just the "handle" on the Shubb is wood. :D
    Shubb-GS1-2.
     
    EdwardofHuncote and S-Bigbottom like this.
  8. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Ah...ok, that’ll work nicely! I think I might try one of those!
     
    two fingers likes this.
  9. Oddly

    Oddly Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    That's a beautiful-looking instrument!
    I know absolutely nothing about lap-steels except that in the hands of Jerry Douglas (Alison Krauss' band and especially the Transatlantic Sessions TV series for a more celtic folk sound) they can sound truly beautiful.
    In fact I've been toying with the idea of finding one myself despite not being a guitar-player at all.
    Looking forward to hearing your progress.
     
  10. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Jerry Douglas is just about the best example of a resonator player that there ever was.
     
    Deak likes this.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Lap steel isn't just for breakfast anymore apparently..... (Yes, I have gone down a lap steel YouTube rabbit hole).
     
  12. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Wow - that was quick! :D
     
  13. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Funny story - when I got my pedal steel, my daughter (aged 9 at the time) asked me about that funny little piano I brought home. Funny thing was, for the longest time as a kid, when I saw a pedal steel on TV, I always thought it was the world's smallest piano played by people with forearm and hand disabilities!
     
    mikewalker, two fingers and Oddly like this.
  14. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    https://steelguitarforum.com/

    John Ely's Hawaiian Steel Guitar Web

    Fingerpicks-yes. Shubb bar-not so much. A cylindrical bar is the way to go.

    There are lots of 6 string tunings.

    Warning-steel guitar can be addicting. As a friend put it-when you play bass, you're driving the bus; with steel, you comment on the scenery.
     
  15. Inky13

    Inky13

    Nov 13, 2016
    Buffalo NY
    It's a little different, but check out Daniel Lanios
    "Goodby to Language" soundtrack.
    Lap steel sounding very unconventional.
     
    two fingers likes this.
  16. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Other lap steel players are David Lindley and Ben Keith. Lindley worked a long time with Jackson Browne. That's him on the "slide" parts on the "Running On Empty" album. Keith was with Neil Young starting on "Harvest".

    Another amp suggestion is to try a Peavey Delta Blues 115. 4 EL84 tubes in the power amp, a couple of 12AX7s in the pre, decent reverb, cool tremelo. They make/made a 210 version too which I have, but the 115 has a different character in the mids that might augment the slide with a 'bucker.
     
    two fingers likes this.
  17. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Yep - very unconventional. DL has been developing his own pedal steel style for a while now. Half of what you hear on that soundtrack is lap steel, the other half is pedal steel.
     
  18. Mosfed

    Mosfed

    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    Get a metal bar slide.

    Get an old Fender Vibro-champ and it will sound perfect for the same if not less than a blues junior.

    I use either finger picks or thumb with no fingers or abnormal pick or none at all.

    Learn open tunings quickly
     
    two fingers likes this.
  19. Basshappi

    Basshappi

    Feb 12, 2007
    Tucson,AZ
    Very cool, Congrats!
    Steel guitar is an instrument I have always wanted to learn (maybe I should do something about that).
     
    two fingers likes this.
  20. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Few more pics......
    20171227_173613. 20171227_173632. 20171227_173741. 20171227_173844. 20171227_173917.
     
    floydman likes this.

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