Hello everyone I am a lefty guitar player-but I originally learned on a right handed guitar, I had to make a switch though after my shoulder started making it pretty much impossible to play on a righty. Now my shoulder is doing a lot better and I am considering switching back-but before I commit I want to make sure that I will be able to play slide the way I do on a lefty. My main issue is with hitting the exact note-on a lefty I can do this no problem and quickly, on a right handed guitar though I tend to have a hard time. Any advice on how to quickly gain this skill? I really want to make sure that I am able to play close to equally well on both before I decide on which one I am going to stick with. Sorry my grammar is probably impossible to understand-I am very tired. Thanks for any and all help
I'm impressed. I Can barely write my name left handed...I tried playing left handed guitar at one time, out of curiosity, it was a disaster...

About all I can tell you is lots and lots of practice. You're basically learning to play guitar again. sorry I can't be much more help, do the same as you did left handed but reverse it. I'm sure if you already know how to play slide left handed the most important thing is keeping the slide bar directly over the fret, not between like normal playing. And mute behind the slide bar.

That's the only thing I can tell you, lots of practice..
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Tony - I love lap steel. I have to get new strings for mine, I pulled it out s few days ago (don't play it often enough) and the strings were so rusty it sounded scratchy. As we both just advised him, lots of practice and you can do it...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
^^^^ Yeah, I've got three nice old electric lap steels, a kona, and I also use nut raisers and conversion capos on other guitars. The funny thing is that at gigs I would often start off in the Spanish position, and end up playing it as a lap steel after a few beers. The audience still seemed appreciative, so I think most of the problem I have with lap steel is in my mind; I just need to learn to relax without the hep of psycho-actives.
hehe...I quit imbibing onstage long ago...

I put mine on a keyboard stand and play it standing up. Most of the time if I have to use it onstage I'm not playing it the whole song, just for a lead, so I need to be able to switch fast. At home I use it in my lap. Don't even know what Spanish style is, guess I need to look that up...

The keyboard stand works well, it's height adjustable, sits flat same as when I play it in my lap, and I mounted a L shaped wire to hang a bottle on so I can grab the slide bottle and play, takes longer to rehang it and go back to regular guitar...I use old medicine bottles I pick up at resale and antique shops any time I can find them. I have a couple of metal slide bars I use for acoustic, the bottles seem to work well for electric, I like the tone better, but I have to get a longer one to cover the wider string spacing of the lap steel. How I wire it depends on the amp setup. If I'm using one amp, I have to plug it into the normal channel, and swap it when I have to use it, since I use that channel through an A/B switch for different tones. Using a dual amp rig, I can just plug into the normal channel and forget about it.

Mine is an Electromuse made in late 40's or early 50's, I can't even find out by codes on the pots, they didn't have date codes yet.

Sorry to get off topic...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
^^^^ Yeah, I could go on about old lap steels. I've got a 1942 Ric 59, the pressed pressed steel one with the original 1 1/2" horseshoe pickup. I know the date because the neck is stuffed with newspaper from then - a nice time capsule. I've also got two MOT Valcos with the string-through pickups - a National Chicagoan and a Bronson Singing Steel. Electricheads who've never tried those old pickups don't know what they are missing. Those Valcos can still be found at good prices.

I found that the same heavy brass slide I use in the Spanish position works well for me. I could never get used to those skinny bars, even the ones with finger grooves. I like the idea of old bottles, lotsa mojo.
Since we're all off topic, I need to get a lap steel because lugging around my D12 is a pain. I use this old Dunlop tone bar that weighs 12 oz. It looks suspiciously like my vibrator but shorter. I would be interested in seeing how the vibrator works as a tone bar, but I am not sure how scratch resistant it is.
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I like the idea, maybe if you stuck it inside a bit of metal tube? And used it with an ebow. The mind boggles.

I don't know if you've heard of Heston Blumenthal, he's a talented but eccentric Brit chef. He was once doing a Victorian feast, which included jelly. In order make it shake attractively, he stuck half dozen vibrators in the base. The scene of him buying them in the adult shop was interesting. They're apparently useful for all sorts of things.
Remember the band Steely Dan? That was a slang name for a sex toy in the 20's, before vibrators existed.

I only have the Electromuse, missed a chance at a couple years ago, still kicking myself. A old Gibson, a Rickenbacker...

If you haven't tried a bottle, they work well for electrics, I find them occasionally at antique stores, but not often. Most bottles that size didn't seem to have survived this long. The Alka Seltzer bottle used up to the mid 60's might work for lap steel, too fat for my finger though so I can't use it for regular slide. I grab every one I find, each has a slightly different tone and response.

Never used the steel bars often used for old lap steels and pedal steels, I think once many years ago was it. I have a brass factory made one, stamped Mighty Mite, I've used it since the mid 80's for acoustic, made one just like it when working as a machinist and another from stainless steel. Hollow fit on the finger types.

Never have been able to find an authentic vintage Coricidin bottle though...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Apr 3, 2015,
Actually vibrators have been around for almost 300 years, usually used by gynecologists as a treatment for everything and vibrators were commercially available to consumers back in the 19 zeros.

The problem with it though is that at 7" it probably is too long to be used as a tone bar unless you just laid it flat on the strings. It actually might be kind of light as well, since it can't be more than 6 oz.
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That's a new one, I thought vibrators didn't exist until electricity ... never too old to learn stuff I guess..

As far as physical size, I've seen beer bottles used...OK get that thought out of your dirty little mind, I meant as a SLIDE BAR dammit...lol

I've tried Craftsman sockets, too heavy, too greasy...a tall shot glass works, I learned slide with a zippo lighter between middle and ring fingers, yes really, but never tried a vibrator...

Weight shouldn't be a major issue, my medicine bottles weigh almost nothing while the brass slide bar weighs more than the zippo lighter but less than the deep well socket. The old traditional chromed slide bars were probably heavier than the socket. The only ones I've found that didn't like were the really thin lightweight glass bottles like prescription bottles from the 60's. I have a half dozen older medicine bottles just right to fit my left ring finger, and a couple of glass prescription bottles. One still had the label inside, from 1964. I keep toothpicks in it in my Jeep. Those are too light, and don't get a lot of sustain. The screw on cap medicine bottles similar to the Alka Seltzer bottle of the same time period are good. Alka Seltzer bottle would work for lap steel, but too fat for regular slide. Point is weight is very variable, it's all about what you get accustomed to.

More important is a slick surface so it won't screech when sliding against wound strings. I have bottles with lots of scratches, can't use them, the scratches make a lot of noise. Plastic probably wouldn't work either, haven't tried it. Johnny Winter used a chromed tube cut from a drummer's broken high hat stand. With a lap steel, strings are usually very high, weight is not such an issue, since you can't easily make the strings hit the neck, and my Eletromuse has no frets, just markers. With regular guitar it's easy to bang the slide bar against the frets. That's my biggest problem using my brass bar when I play acoustic.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Apr 4, 2015,
The problem with steel guitar is for fast playing you need a bar that is easy to control since you only want the bar to be touching the strings that you are playing or at least as few as possible. This is particularly important when doing long sustained stuff where you gradually swell the volume to counter the natural decay of a note. When you've got the volume pedal all the way at the very end, anything will make potentially make noise no matter how smooth.
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That's where string muting comes into play. How depends on which type instrument. Playing lap steel, I always use the heel and pinkie of the left hand to mute all the strings all the time. Then I can also mute other strings than the one I want to sustain by using various fingers of the right hand, and I always finger pick lap steel. Rarely have any problem, and the bar is almost always covering several strings, I don't even try to use it on just one string.

Playing standard guitar hanging on my shoulder same thing, but I put my slide bottle on the ring finger, and use the index finger to mute all the strings most of the time, and selectively mute strings with the picking hand that I don't want to hear.

Muting behind the bar is especially important on notes near the nut, for the first several frets, to avoid overtones from notes created behind the bar, and above the octave. In some places on the neck it's barely noticeable. String muting with the picking fingers takes a lot of practice, but I do it without thinking about it now. Tried to show a friend a couple of years ago and found it really difficult to slow it down and do it intentionally so he could see exactly what I was doing. That's what makes finger picking much more preferable to using a pick for slide. I can pick a note with one finger and almost at the same time mute one I just played with another, eliminating dual notes you would hear otherwise...If I want just one note to sustain I mute the other strings. Wobbling the bar for a vibrato will often help sustain.

I almost never work the volume to help bring out sustain, when I play the note it's almost always full volume already. The sustain is whatever the guitar will give me...you get what you get...

The diameter of the bottle I use for lap steel is the main consideration, I want it long enough to cover all 6 strings, if it's an inch longer I don't care, but it needs to be about the diameter of a roll of quarters or a little smaller, anything bigger is hard to get decent accuracy. I've tried a beer bottle, it works but I can't control it for crap, too fat. My favorite bottle got broken years ago, it was about the diameter of a quarter, and around 5 inches long. Only needs to be about 3 inches. But it was the best sounding one of the bunch. Bobbled it one night onstage, it hit the floor and I Had to sweep up a hundred pieces...I have 2 now, both identical, green medicine bottles about 3 1/2 inches, and 5 or 6 for regular guitar that are a little shorter.

Found a picture using the Electromuse, shows a pretty good view of how I hold the bar and mute. Seems I actually use pinkie and ring finger for muting, never realized it...you can also see fingers on the picking hand doing a little muting...

lapsteel4a by Paleo Pete, on Flickr
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Apr 4, 2015,
So you're basically describing fundamental techniques that all steel guitar players are aware of?

The volume pedal is more of a pedal steel thing since it requires far longer sustain on diads... sometimes shifting though half a dozen note changes spanning have the length of the neck over like 10 seconds with only picking the initial notes... it's impossible without starting half or less on the volume pedal and then fading in.

I'm kind of curious as to what music you actually play though since I would imagine that it is a lot less techinal than the pedal steel stuff I'm doing.
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Last edited by theogonia777 at Apr 5, 2015,