what is the best lap steel?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by dbeeman, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. dbeeman

    dbeeman Gold Supporting Member

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    I keep hearing David Lindley in my head. Going to get a lap steel and learn.

    What is the best one for tone and playability? I'd prefer not to have an high priced relic museum piece.
     
  2. erksin

    erksin Member

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    Well, they all pretty much play the same - obviously the different knob layouts make them different ergonomically but all in all pretty similar.

    Vintage laps can be had CHEAP (most well under $500) - you just need to find out what pickup sounds best to you. I had a '56 Gibson BR-9 with a gigantic P-90 in it, sounded awesome and I only paid $125 for mine with original case! Oahus, Nationals, Supros, Magnatones, Fenders, Rickenbachers - all will sound different.
     
  3. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I really like the Asher lap steels. They have a long scale length that makes playing in tune easier. They have several different models, but I think they start around $1K for a very basic model. There are plenty of lap steels in the $150-$500 range (including some vintage models), but I've been most impressed with the tone and quality Ashers.

    Bryan
     
  4. michael30

    michael30 Gold Supporting Member

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    Supros are pretty cool and can be found for a couple of hundred on ebay. They have the Lindley vibe.

    Michael
     
  5. billygoat

    billygoat Member

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    Picked up a vintage national at a pawnshop and it sounds superb with that big pickup. I play in a modified C6 tuning... EGCACE
     
  6. GuitarG

    GuitarG Member

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    My #1 lap is an Oahu. Big, big tone. The bakelite Rics are incredible sounding but like Travis said, they're getting up there in price. I kick myself for never picking one up when they were cheaper. Check the Supros and Airlines for a good affordable lap.
    Lindley is one of my favorite guitarists. My Oahu with the over-under 'Ry Cooder' pickup gets me pretty close to Lindley's Jackson Browne era tones.
     
  7. snarkle

    snarkle Member

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    I've never met a lap steel I didn't like, but you can't go too far wrong with a bakelite Rickenbacher. That's Rickenbacher with an "h", although the bakelite 'backers aren't too bad either.

    For gigging, however, I usually end up using a Tonemaster¬ónot the familiar Oahu Tonemaster but the "English Electronics" model, which doesn't refer to imported parts but to a now-defunct music store somewhere in Michigan, I believe. (Kudos to Andy Marshall at THD for turning me on to this instrument!)

    It's another pearloid Valco product with the strings-through pickup, but it's long scale, which makes for a bigger tone and easier bar slants. It does a pretty good job of nailing the Lindley sound, insofar as anybody can sound like Mr. Dave...and mine was $200 on eBay, not too long ago.
     
  8. dbeeman

    dbeeman Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks a lot guys
     
  9. WaysideRickNJ

    WaysideRickNJ Member

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    My #1 is an Asher Ben Harper Model - like a squareneck 59 Les Paul... it's perfect!
     
  10. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    Lindley has a bunch of those things.The one on "Runnin on Empty" is a Bakelite Rickenbacker.He has a bunch of old Supro/Valco/Nationals in a large variety of shapes and sizes...
     
  11. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    Just like guitars, no one perfect one. But I do have my favorites:

    Fender stringmaster
    Fender deluxe, pro, dual - whatever you call the pre-stringmaster, trap p/u model
    Ricky bakelite
    Oahu, valco, supro, mckinney - anything with that string through p/u
    Gibson EH-185 w/CC pickup. This one I'm lucky enought to own. Deep mojo.
     

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