#1
So I was thinking about getting a lap guitar with my Christmas money, but I honestly know nothin Bout them brand wise. I looked on musicians friend and the only brand I saw was Luna (the only acoustic brand I mean, which is what I'd want, I'm not looking for an electric lap steel). So I turned to ebay and found just an absolute crapload of guitars, but I have no idea what a trustworthy brand would be. I mean, I understand buying used is always a bit of a gamble, but I'd like at least some reassurance before buying. So, do you guys know of any good/decent lap acoustic brands I could swipe for under 250?
#2
They don't really make acoustic lap steels per se. What you're looking for is a square neck resonator guitar (usually referred to as the genericized name Dobro) or a Weissenborn style instrument. Weissenborns are not doable for anywhere near 250. Square neck resonators are probably not either, but if you can get up to 350 or 400, Regal makes some lovely instruments in that range.

In theory you could also use a round neck resonator, but those are inferior for steel since they can't handle adequately thick/tight strings and the action is usually too low without an extender not.

I'm just wondering though why exactly you don't want an electric, since there are a lot more choices for cheaper, plus they are far more durable instruments. It also does depend on what type of music you are looking to play.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#3
I play acoustic lap steel, among other things, and I would suggest getting an extension nut or conversion capo for a conventional guitar for a start. This has a few advantages:

It allows much more choice, including junker guitars from the hock shop that aren't good for anything else.

You can maybe use one of your current guitars.

It will be easier to sell if you don't take to it.

Here's a pic of my conversion capo:



I've since substituted a piece of knitting needle for the bamboo skewer.

Merry Christmas - I could be the first on Christmas day.
Last edited by Tony Done at Dec 24, 2015,
#4
The problem with that is that you still run into the problem of not being able to use heavy enough strings in the 60+-16 range and suffers in volume compared to a resonator. Also those strings are usually still uncomfortably low for playing with a legit 8 oz plus tone bar. It's really more of a cheap "just to try it" solution rather than an effective one.

Still, if he is looking to spend under 250 (ie not willing to put out for a real instrument), it might be worth trying. However I would recommend using a legitimate extender nut. It will give better (ie higher) string action as well as not having to sacrifice the first fret or two. You can buy them from StewMac for under $4 so there isn't much to lose.

http://www.stewmac.com/Materials_and_Supplies/Nuts_and_Saddles/Slide_Guitar_Extension_Nut.html
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#5
^^^Yes, I use 13-56 strings in open D for acoustic slide and acoustic lap steel; I would worry about structural damage going any heavier on a flattop of any kind. A high nut tends to exert more torque on the neck, which could cause bowing, though I guess a truss rod would effectively counteract that. Even on a Weissenborn the bridge might pull off with heavy strings. Anyway, I play safe and use the lowest feasible nut or conversion capo on flattops, and the same heavy brass bottleneck I use for Spanish position slide. - The logic being that if the guitar, slide and strings work well in the Spanish position, they will also work well for lap style. In fact, they can work too well with the sound coming at you instead of heading outwards - I have found this with my resos and the kona.

I have thought about using the conversion capo hard against the nut rather than using an extender. It will put the frets in slightly the wrong place, but I think that you would soon get used to it, since they only act as a rough guide.
#6
https://youtu.be/K5RxriY7AGE
I'm looking for an acoustic to play stuff like this. It also looks different is size/shape/structure from a standard acoustic (or a Resonator imo, but I'm not as expirienced with them). I've been thinking about the conversion, but as of now I have a 12 String, a Dread, and a Parlor, all or which I use for certain applications, so getting rid of one so I can play lap wouldn't be ideal, it'd just create another hole in my arsenal, yno? As of now I use my dread lap style, and in general really like playing it, but since the action is normal I end up knocking into the neck/fretwires when I try to hit solo strings
#7
That's what's called a Hawaiian guitar. Your best bet though if you want to get a new instrument is to look into square neck resonators since there are more options than the Hawaiian or Weissenborn style guitars. They also tend to have the beefiest necks and so they can take those ridiculously heavy strings the best.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#8
My mistake, lol. He played it on his lap so I figured Lap Guitar was kinda a catch all. I took a quick peek on MF for Square Necks and I really love the look of the Gretsch Boxcar, but I'd need to save up a bit more
For the time being I had an OK sound using a Capo and Candy Cane, did a run of Jolly Old St Nicholas that everyone was pretty entertained by, but I can't even begin to imagine how awful it must've been to the guitar. Ill keep playing on a normal guitar until I have enough for a dedicated lap one
#9
They're kind of all just called lap steel guitars. But when you say lap steel, people tend to think of electrics playing stuff like this:

http://vocaroo.com/i/s1oelALftZoD
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#10
He is playing a kona (a kind of guitar, not a specific make), which is what I have, but you can just convert a standard flattop to play that, as discussed. A reso like the boxcar gives a different kind of sound, generally louder, just depends what you want. I find I soon get tired of having a reso blasting up at me, but there again I don't like loud noises.

Theo, I tend to use the generic term, not "Hawaiian" - I have had this confusion before, just minor cultural differences.
#11
I figured I'd ask this here instead of starting a new thread
Right now I'm using a small metal stylus to hold the strings up on my Parlor for slide playing, and I absolutely love it, so I decided to buy a conversion capo. My problem now is I busted a string, and I'm having trouble deciding which replacements to buy. I've heard you're supposed to use heavier strings for slide playing, but I've also heard you're supposed to use light strings on parlor guitars, and I'm having a really hard time deciding which to grab and put on. I'm also not sure if I should go for Phosphor or 80/20, but that's really just up to preference
#12
I go 13-56 tuned to open D or G, then capo at the 2nd fret to get open E or A. That should be OK, and if the scale is 24", it will be fine.

80/20 or phos bronze is a matter of personal taste and the paricular guitar. I like phos bronze, they don't start off as bright as 80/20, but they last longer before they go dull.