Lap steel guitar and pedal steel guitar vs "normal" electric guitar

Discussion in 'Other Cool Guitars' started by lectric, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. dak55

    dak55 Country Gent

    May 31, 2018
    NC
    I suppose when I started my nails were sort of normal length which would have indeed been a problem. I've kept them filed down for so long now it seems normal. Barre chords in standard tuning with E and Am shapes still require fingering. I assume open E tuning doesn't but I'd have to try barre chords in open E tuning. If I've ever used open E I don't remember.
     
  2. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    If you're not using it I'd be happy to take it off your hands :p
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  3. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Oh @Waxhead , I should use it and learn to use it correctly :mad: at the "favor" of isolation ! It's in project - like so many other things :rolleyes:... It's a new world, very attractive, in which I should deep and venture ASAP :cool:;)

    It may be me, certainly, but I find learning playing Lap Steel so different and more demanding than playing guitar... :confused::oops:

    A+!
     
    Waxhead likes this.
  4. lectric

    lectric Electromatic

    33
    Apr 7, 2020
    Belgium
    That's what I was thinking! :)
     
  5. lectric

    lectric Electromatic

    33
    Apr 7, 2020
    Belgium
    Thanks for the link! Why would a standard guitar used as a slide be the best place to start? Just curious...
     
  6. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    For a few reasons.
    Standard guitars are easy to get, easy to transport, you can play them standing, sitting and anywhere.
    You can play acoustic or electric.
    Once you get proficient at slide guitar you can play many music styles.
    And then can easy move into playing any guitar in normal way (without slide) when your left hand is ok.
    Your right hand (finger picking) will be skilled in the correct technique for playing a normal guitar.

    One of the great things about standard guitars is their convenience.
    You can go anywhere, pick one up and play it.

    With a steel guitar you're sitting down with the instrument laying flat on a stand and normally pluck strings with plastic picks on thumb and fingers. It's a different technique to playing a standard guitar and not transferable. They are more trouble to transport cos you need the guitar, stand and amp. With a steel guitar you're unlikely to find one anywhere else other than your own at home.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  7. lectric

    lectric Electromatic

    33
    Apr 7, 2020
    Belgium
    OK, thanks for the reply. But, I think you missed something… You mention that when the left hand is OK (not sure what you mean here by that hand being OK...?) you can move into playing any guitar in normal way. But that is the point, and the reason why I'm informing about lap steel/pedal steel guitars, I'm pretty convinced I can't play guitar the conventional way due to my nails… having my hands horizontally, when I try to touch the tips of my fingers, the first things that touch are my nails, and they're cut as short as possible.
     
  8. lectric

    lectric Electromatic

    33
    Apr 7, 2020
    Belgium
    I think I noticed different thicknesses for strings as well... The acoustic guitar I have is a Washburn D14N. Would it be necessary to put thicker strings on it to be able to use it as a slide guitar, or would that damage the neck? Any opinios on that guitar - I know, this is a Gretsch-forum... ;)

    Edit: spelling
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  9. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    I think it likely that whatever the issue is with your nails that it will resolve itself over time.
    If it does you would then be able to finger the fret board with left hand ok.
    You can also learn to adjust technique to finger the fret board with long nails.

    On string gauge it's not necessary to use thicker gauges on a slide guitar.
    I just use my normal 10-46 gauge and I've noticed most other sliders do also.
    I don't have a dedicated slide only guitar.
     
  10. Dennison

    Dennison Country Gent

    Jul 17, 2011
    Kent, UK
    A well-played pedal steel is a wonderful thing, but they tend to be expensive and must take an enormous amount of time and effort to reach even a moderate standard. So, a lap steel played sitting down or a conventional guitar set for slide.

    I've always liked the idea of a lap steel. One of my favourite players is Kelly Joe Phelps who often uses a conventional acoustic guitar. You can either have a nut specially cut to lift the strings well clear of the frets, or simply fit an inexpensive string raiser over the nut -- just take it off if you want to return the guitar to its normal state.

    string raiser.png
    Here's Kelly Joe doin' his thing. He's using one of those nifty lap steel capos.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmut5WhT3cI
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  11. Scott Fraser

    Scott Fraser Country Gent

    Jan 14, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Have you tried filing your nails? I never use a clipper, since it can't get in close enough, so I use a file, which allows me to get the nail back below the flesh.
     
  12. lectric

    lectric Electromatic

    33
    Apr 7, 2020
    Belgium
    Yes, actually 2 weeks ago. I can't stand it if my nails get a bit long, so I always cut them very short. 2 weeks ago, I cut them as short as I can, and than started filing them back on my pinky fingers, it's on those fingers they are the longest. I was thinking that maybe if I do that on a regular basis, I might get them back enough. But I guess that would take a serious amount of time, especially since on one of the pinky's, it even hurt a bit afterwards, I think I filed too much back. OK, hurt maybe is a big word, but I felt it anyway.
     
  13. lectric

    lectric Electromatic

    33
    Apr 7, 2020
    Belgium
    First of all, I want to thank you guys for the explications so far! I'm considering this now https://www.thomann.de/be/grover_perfect_guitar_extension_nut.htm, so I can convert my guitar to a lap steel. Just a few more questions at the moment...
    - what would be a preferred tuning/what tuning would you advise? I read somewhere about C6 as a good one, or D, or E;
    - am I right in thinking that in slide guitar fingers ánd slide bars are used?
    - I 'm mostly interested in slap steel at the moment, so only using a tonebar. Are there any good books you can advise me?

    Thanks again!
     
  14. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    yes agree moving from a slide guitar to a Lapsteel is an easier transition and much cheaper :)
    I've been gasing over these 2 Lapsteels for several yrs now

    http://coleclarkguitars.com/products/lap-steels/lapdog/
    http://coleclarkguitars.com/products/lap-steels/violap/

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
    new6659 likes this.
  15. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    For slide guitar .....

    On tuning there's no right or wrong.
    It's often recommended to start with open E tuning on slide guitar.
    I did that and then tried different tunings as I progressed.
    Open E gives lots of advantages imo and I still prefer it.
    Standard tuning allows to you to more easily play with others in bands.

    Tube shaped slides are used - metal, glass or ceramic.
    Need to fit your slide finger well - all personal preference.
    I prefer a thick shortish glass slide myself.
    They are cheap and there's many different one's easy to buy in any guitar store.
    Look at youtube videos on choosing a slide and getting started.

    Steel pedal guitars and lapsteels need slide bars - they are thick and metal.
    They are quite expensive and not easy to find in stores.
    I got one online.
    Youtube is your friend :D

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  16. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Here's another excellent video on slide for beginners

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
  17. ArchieTop

    ArchieTop Newbie

    2
    Apr 14, 2015
    Martinsville
    I have been playing pedal steel for 40 years and 6-string for longer than that. Still gigging but most of my work is on pedal steel now. It’s an addicting but hard instrument to learn. Expensive.

    Getting a good start-up pedal steel rig can be tough because chances are one doesn’t know a steel player who can help.

    Looking back I was fortunate. I was playing 6-string in a band and was able to work in a couple of tunes per set on pedal steel. It ramped up from there.

    Anyway, I’d recommend starting on a lap steel tuned to C6th. Yeah, there are other tunings which are certainly fun but C6th is fundamental. Lap steels are cheap, too. Instruction for that? There’s a lot out there but Doug Beaumer’s “60-melodies for lap steel” is just plain fun.
    Want to jump right into pedal steel? I still say Winnie Winston’s book for that is great. It’s been around a looong time for a reason.
     
    Henry, Waxhead and new6659 like this.
  18. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    You coulda already learned some stuff in the time of this thread!

    Let's try again...
     
  19. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Lectric - looking at some of your original questions.

    I noticed that there are not only 6-string instruments, but also 8-string? Is it preferred to start with a 6-string?
    Answer - the fewer strings the better/easier for learning.
    I have never wanted to try more than 6 strings.
    An 8 string pedal steel would be very difficult imo.

    Starting points on instruments ??
    Answer - Depends on what type of music you wanna play and what your budget is

    How hard is a lap steel/pedal steel? Which one is the hardest?
    Answer - lap steel is easier and much cheaper than pedal steel.
    Slide guitar is easier again.
     
  20. lectric

    lectric Electromatic

    33
    Apr 7, 2020
    Belgium
    Those Cole Clark guitars are nice indeed, and that demo is sweet!! Not really the kind of laps I'd buy though at this point, rather something like Gretsch G5715, or Epiphone Electar Century 1939... Thanks for the slide video's for beginners!

    Apart from YouTube, any books you can recommend? I know private lessons are always best, should a normal guitar teacher - a real one, teaching at an academy - be qualified to teach lap steel? Or should one really need a lap steel teacher for this? I assume you need someone who really plays lap steel, no?
     
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