Any advice on learning to play the lap steel?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by marktweedy, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. marktweedy

    marktweedy In Transit® Silver Supporting Member

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    I picked up a fine old Silvertone lap steel off of Ebay for cheap and my guitar guy has fixed up the electronics and set it up in open D. Makes very cool sounds. I hacked my way through Dead Flowers with my band last night and it sounded just good enough that I think I would like to play again (and will be permitted to do so), but bad enough that I really should learn a thing or two before I again subject others to my musical musings.

    Anyone here play? Favourite tunings? Recommendations as to web sites for instruction?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Neer

    Neer Supporting Member

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    Yes, I play. It has taken over my musical life significantly over the last few years to the point that it's mainly what I focus on.

    I have a blog which is surprisingly popular called Lapsteelin'. It started off talking about my beginnings playing lap steel, but it has evolved into more of an online magazine type of thing, with interviews, lessons, etc. Some of this may not be in the style you are interested in playing, but most of us start where you are today. I did--I was a David Lindley wannabe 15 years ago.

    I also have a web site that sells instructional materials (you can see the link in my sig). Much of it is traditional steel guitar stuff that I've transcribed and even adapted from pedal steel. I've sold a ton of lessons over the last year--again, a big surprise for me. Lots of budding lap steel players out there!
     
  3. Crowbar

    Crowbar Member

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    Interesting website there Neer, it will take me some time.

    I play the steel a bit. Old metal body Rickenbacher. The tuning is everthing to me. I do C6 on the lap and don't sound a thing like bottleneck licks in E or G. I really like C6, its good for that Western Swing sound. It is a Cmajor triad and a Aminor triad stacked together so you can get minor chord voicings easier than with the "blues tunings"
    Another big trick is learning to slant the bar to get certain double-stops. Seemed hard at first but I got it. You can also try a string pull behind the bar. All this is why they invented the pedalsteel. I have one of those too and find it very difficult, the lap is a lot easier.
    Another interesting site to google is Brads Page Of Steel
     
  4. clemduolian

    clemduolian Silver Supporting Member

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    Mr. Neer does a bit more than "play"...he inspires and groks non-pedal steel. And he is an amazing teaching resource.

    You should become a member at the Steel Guitar Forum...the best resource anywhere for all things steel guitar. Many legendary players actively post and/or lurk there. Lots of teaching/tab resources. Check it out.
     
  5. Neer

    Neer Supporting Member

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    Thanks, Geoff. In no way, do I "grok" it, though--it's another lifetime I wish I had to spend on it.

    I second the Steel Guitar Forum--the best forum on the internet.
     
  6. marktweedy

    marktweedy In Transit® Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys. Lots to look at. The Bakersfield style clip on the instructional materials site looks interesting as does the forum.
     
  7. Marble

    Marble Member

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    lap steel and bottleneck slide use two different muscle sets. When I started out playing slide I played it with the guitar across my knee but in less than 6 months I switched to bottleneck playing and while my skills playing bottleneck are very advanced, my lap style playing does not have the same level of finesse.

    But early on playing all kinds of slide will be good for your intonation. Open D and E are where its at for slide.
     
  8. franksguitar

    franksguitar Member

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    I 2nd on C6 tuning and use a Dunlop bar and finger picks. A good song to start out on C6 is Sleepwalk
     

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