Question on Lap Steel tunings

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by bsause, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. bsause

    bsause Member

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    Hey everyone. Just to see if I could, I built a lap steel on Saturday afternoon. My goal was to see how cheaply I build it. It wont win any beauty contests but it is a working guitar. Here's a link of me playing it.

    https://youtu.be/znf3_C0-nj0

    If there are are any players out there, what tunings are you using. I'm just trying to get a consensus on what works best. I've been playing in open E (E,B,E,G#,B,E)
     
  2. Steve Hotra

    Steve Hotra Silver Supporting Member

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  3. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Silver Supporting Member

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    Depends on what you want to play. Blues is often done in open tunings, while country and Hawaiian music typically use a 6th or 9th chord. I use some variation of A6 for just about everything.
     
  4. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

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    I have one of those Artisan/Rogue lap steels that you've probably seen around. I had it tuned to open E until recently. I just switched it over to C6 since I wanted to learn something different. The page mentioned above is right. Everything in C6 sounds Hawaiian (or Western Swing) at first.

    One thing about some of the tunings is that they work better with non-standard string sets. I bought a couple of sets for C6 from JustStrings.
     
  5. Quarter

    Quarter Member

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    Absolutely, the right set of strings for the chosen tuning is important. While lap steel sets are not all that common, they are not that hard to find and or makeup your own. John Ely has a handy page covering strings and a handy chart that can be helpful. http://www.hawaiiansteel.com/learning/gauges.php

    Once you settle on the tuning and a set of string gauges that you want to stick with, I'd highly recommend spending a little time with the nut and file the slots so that all the tops of the strings are the same level. If too out of whack, the low strings will buzz on the bottom of the bar. When that happens, we tend to press down on the bar to stop it. That then can cause the tuning to go a bit whack and worst of all, its no fun playing with a death grip on the bar. Your bar hand should be able to glide around and move freely.
     
  6. bsause

    bsause Member

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    Thanks guys. I just tried out GBDGBD. I'm thinking I'll stick with it for a while.
     

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