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25 Feb 2020

Going to buy a lap steel guitar? Read here on where to look out for

instruments/stringinstruments Going to buy a lap steel guitar? Read here on where to look out for


As a starting musician, you might not know which lap steel guitar suits you best. Should you buy an acoustic, a resonator or an electronic lap steel guitar? Do you even want to buy a lap steel guitar and if so, what should you pay attention to when purchasing? In this blog, we are going to help you answer these questions to make a considered choice.

What is a lap steel guitar?

A lap steel guitar, also called a Hawaiian guitar, is a string instrument that is played in a horizontal position. The unique sound produced by applying pressure to the strings via a metal or glass bar (also called a Steel or a Tone bar) gives the instrument its character. The strings are generally placed higher above the fretboard relative to a standard guitar. This instrument is mainly played with a plectrum or with your picking hand.

Going to buy a lap steel guitar? This is where to look out for

When purchasing, pay attention to the material used for the guitar body. The body determines the sound to a large extent. Alongside that, the tuning mechanism must be working properly to make sure that the guitar stays in tune. When buying an acoustic lap steel guitar, it is advised to choose a solid wood edition. With an electric lap steel guitar, make sure that the tone- and volume buttons are working properly.

Ready to purchase your lap steel guitar?

Make sure that you know the difference between lap steel guitar models and the genre that fits with them. In general, there are 3 different models: acoustic, resonator and electric.

  • The acoustic lap steel guitar is mainly used for Hawaiian, Jazz, Blues, Country, and Latin music.
  • The resonator lap steel guitar is mainly used for Country, Bluegrass, and Western music.
  • The electric lap steel guitar is mainly used for Blues, Jazz, Soft Rock, and Indie music.

The lap steel guitar is usually played in an open tuning such as open-G (DGDGBD) or open-D (DADF#AD)

In conclusion

The lap steel guitar is a fun and simple instrument that is usable in many different genres. If you still have no clue whether to buy a lap steel guitar or not, visit a local music store and try it out for yourself.

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