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Post new topic Does anyone prefer their lap steel tone unplugged?
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Author Topic:  Does anyone prefer their lap steel tone unplugged?
Daniel McKee


From:
Corinth Mississippi
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 6:07 pm    
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Ok so I know this sounds crazy but I have an older McKinney lap steel, wood body. Really thin and lightweight but acoustically its actually loud enough to practice. Oddly enough I kind of prefer the tone I'm getting out of it without an amp. Its a really nice mellow tone but still some nice edge to it when I really dig into the strings. Anyone else prefer the tone they are getting unplugged?
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David Weisenthal


From:
Arizona, USA
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 7:23 pm    
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Dan, it seems the volume would be so low it would be hard to tell.
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Tim Whitlock


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 14 Aug 2019 6:54 am    
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My hollow, chromed brass Ric Silver Hawaiian is quite resonant on its own and I enjoy playing out on the porch or while watching TV. It sounds pretty good but no comparison to plugging in.
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Frank James Pracher


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 14 Aug 2019 7:38 am    
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I have a couple of those hollow Keyless Magnatones .. they have a great acoustic tone. They have a nice sound plugged in as well, but I probably play them more acoustically.
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David Knutson


From:
Cowichan Valley, Canada
Post  Posted 14 Aug 2019 8:27 am    
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I often practice with my unplugged steel sitting on my maple plywood work-table/desk, and it sounds pretty darn good. And it certainly adds enough volume for playing along with tracks on my computer. I can't say I prefer the sound to plugged in, but it works great for practice.
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Michael Butler


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 14 Aug 2019 10:06 am    
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i have an acoustic lap steel that i like that it is acoustic, however, my electrics always get electrified.

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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 14 Aug 2019 1:10 pm    
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Certain guitars I've found have more resonance than others acoustically. My T8 Stringmaster and even my cheap Morrell lap (short scale) seem to be slightly fuller sounding acoustically (still, it is really quiet, obviously) than some of my others. That said, there's not a strong correllation for me to sounding better acoustically and sounding better amplified. For instance, my Clinesmith frypan is not a loud guitar acoustically...it feels compressed and quiet. But when amplified it gives a feeling of smoothness and sustain (it's also just an awesome guitar Smile ).

I'm not too picky with acoustic tone...I play that way all the time to practice, I just need to hear it. But if the guitar doesn't sound good, or better, amplified, I would think something is kinda wrong with the rig somewhere, that might be fixable...

Also when I first started (Morrell lap steel) I think I kind of favored the acoustic tone over the amplified tone for two reasons, one conscious and one subconscious...the former being, crappy electronics I had in it that gave it a thin, buzzy sound, and the latter, the fact that I was a completely green beginner and having a fair amount of input gain makes any sloppiness (of which I had, and have, plenty on tap) much harder to conceal than when you are just playing it acoustically. So I sounded better to myself unamplified, strangely enough...turn up the volume and can't hide the mistakes as easily!
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Cody Farwell


From:
Los Angeles, CA
Post  Posted 14 Aug 2019 1:34 pm    
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One thing I like to do is to put a mic over my hands and record the steel that way, as well as with a mic on the amp (or direct in if you can't isolate the amp).
I love the mix of the pickup + acoustic sound & the sound of my fingerpicks on the strings. I think it makes the recordings sound more natural.
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Daniel McKee


From:
Corinth Mississippi
Post  Posted 14 Aug 2019 3:52 pm    
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I've had several ask how I could hear the steel enough to prefer it acoustically. Not all of my steels are really loud enough to hear much acoustically but my McKinney lap steel is fairly loud unplugged. When I sit in my small music area and play it acoustically. Sometimes when I am just experimenting, I will just play without the amp and I actually hear a lot of sounds in the guitar that I just feel like I lose through the amplifier.
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Tom Campbell


From:
Houston, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2019 5:41 am    
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I play my Melbert on my lap or on a stand and the sound is so good I rarely plug it into an amp anymore. The natural resonance of the wood is fantastic.
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