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Author Topic:  Lap Steel Guitar Making a Comeback!
Nathan Laudenbach


From:
Arizona, USA
Post  Posted 4 Feb 2016 10:40 pm    
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I just wanted to acknowledge the fact that lap steel guitar is making a comeback! With all the wonderful "small" independent builders out there making really great lap steels, and now two mega guitar brands reissuing vintage lap steel models, It's a great time to play lap steel! Thank you to all the builders, bloggers, and forum contributors.
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Jan M√ľnther


From:
Germany
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 1:41 am    
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No doubt you're right, but pardon my ignorance, which mega brands do you mean? I dimly remember new Gibson models, right? Who else?
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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 2:41 am    
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Maybe Gretsch. I dunno good question?

I think it won't make a comeback until its used in a modern popular context by a really great player.

Or just a great songwriter. Ben harper made the Weissenborn popular - great songwriter

David Gilmour made the Lap Steel Guitar slightly popular - great songwriter

Hmmm... come to think of it the "Great players" maybe won't make it popular unless they become great songwriters as well. Doing the millionth version of classic tunes probably won't.

But hey I don't care I love Bebop.
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Stefan aka Bilal Khalif
Bill Hatcher custom 12 string Lap Steel Guitar
E13#9/F Bebop Tuning

Head & Hands to Steel your Heart.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 4:22 am    
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I've noticed more people coming up to me at gigs saying they are thinking of getting one or have just got one rather than "what's that?"
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 4:53 am    
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Epiphone Electra

and

Supro
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Robert Allen


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 7:57 am    
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For several years I sold 50 to 60 custom lap steels every year. Over the past 3 years orders slowed down. Last year I had orders for only 8. Then in January, 5 orders came in and I've had many more inquiries. So maybe lap steel sales are increasing. Time will tell. Fortunately guitar repairs are holding up well and probably always will so the shop is busy.
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 8:27 am    
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I believe it is making a comeback, but why do we cling so tightly to the past?
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 8:49 am    
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Because we are uncertain about the future. Whoa!
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 9:45 am    
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Erv Niehaus wrote:
Because we are uncertain about the future. Whoa!


All the better!
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Niels Andrews


From:
Salinas, California, USA
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 10:43 am    
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I think it is just a matter of time before you see some break through artist. If you look at some of the things Justin Johnson has been doing, and the influence on young players that David Lindley has, it is coming.
Where it will not be is in traditional Country or Bluegrass. There will always be your retro market but I don't see the traditional D-10 PSG being more than a novelty item in the future.
Would like to be wrong but have yet to hear a solid argument about it's gain in popularity. Music today is controlled by a handful of companies, until that changes you will continue to see the blending where Taylor Swift does pop and Steven Tyler is doing Country. I guess we can be thankful Tiny Tim has passed on?
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Mike Brown


From:
Meridian, Mississippi USA
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 2:08 pm     Lap Steel
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Here's my two cents. Transforming from six string slide guitar to perhaps lap steel style guitar was exactly the idea behind the Peavey Powerslide guitar. Check it out at www.peavey.com or visit you Peavey dealer.
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David Matzenik


From:
Cairns, on the Coral Sea
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 2:20 pm    
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Mike Neer wrote:
I believe it is making a comeback, but why do we cling so tightly to the past?


I would not call it clinging; I see it at as reverence.
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Terry VunCannon


From:
Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 2:25 pm    
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David Lindley with Jackson Browne drug me in. I hope it's true that it is growing. It would be a great thing.
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Steve Branscom


From:
Pacific NW
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 4:10 pm    
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I've seen a couple of interviews with Bill Asher that he contends the lap steel market is growing. A quick look on ebay shows 2 whole pages of weissenborns of all things. Many are the $250 to $1000 range but I wouldn't be surprised if there are more weissenborn players today than back in the 20's and 30's when the instruments came out. In addition, there's 9 pages or more of lap steels. They continue to stay cheap. While Fender Champions have moved up over $1000 they're still cheaper than the equivalent year telecaster. In addition, there's quite a few Valco, Supro string-thru pick up models for $225 to $350 but the Supro guitar with the string-thru is priced at $1150. While the lap steels don't get the respect of the spanish guitars it still shows what great value and bang for the buck that's available in the lap steel arena and I think that's something that will attract players.
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John Mulligan


From:
Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 4:40 pm    
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Music is more independent than ever, and more kinds of instruments are becoming accepted. Ukes are crazy popular. Lap steels have already become a little more common. Ray Benson has had many great steelers for years, and is one of the loudest voices in Western Swing. Non-pedal steel will always be unusual, but I don't think it's in any danger of dying out, whether it's Mike Neer of Asleep at the Wheel. I'm gonna keep playin' mine.
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Michael Maddex


From:
Northern New Mexico, USA
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 7:15 pm    
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Mike Neer wrote:
I believe it is making a comeback, but why do we cling so tightly to the past?

"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones." -- John Cage
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Robert Allen


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2016 7:31 pm    
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Lap steel players suffer only from mild nostalgia compared to banjo pickers.
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David Matzenik


From:
Cairns, on the Coral Sea
Post  Posted 6 Feb 2016 5:06 am    
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Real steel is appearing in public more than it did twenty years ago. I saw this neo-country band on Steve Colbert's Late Show the other night. (Can you believe we get it in FNQ?)They had a steel player with a Gold Tone that probably cost 600 bucks. He contributed the same amount of nothing that would have cost a pedal player 5k.
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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post  Posted 6 Feb 2016 5:34 am    
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Musically sadly it's not making a comeback. But most instrumental music or even less widely known instruments are featured on the radio.

Imagine how a uke player feels. He probably sells CD's still in Hawaii. But don't expect a world tour unless he has an amazing voice to boot.

Well Lap Steel Guitar is the same. I tested out by playing amazing bebop players to colleagues in radio and they all said except for one or two that it was elevator music.

Barney Kessel "elevator music".

Then if you play some rhianna they are like "did you hear her new song?"

Sucks.

I say this to say Lap Steel Guitar will make a comeback when someone is willing to go there as well and play that music primarily.
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Stefan aka Bilal Khalif
Bill Hatcher custom 12 string Lap Steel Guitar
E13#9/F Bebop Tuning

Head & Hands to Steel your Heart.
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chris ivey


From:
california - r.i.p.
Post  Posted 6 Feb 2016 6:17 am    
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well. 'i think' laps steels are just a very cool expressive instrument in the right hands.
i don't expect them to turn up largely in modern popular music, though they probably have already in the soundtracks. i don't particularly want modern popular people at my party for that matter.
they are more of an interesting niche instrument that can produce cool sounds.
i would love to be able to rip some joachin level
licks off here and there.
and after tying my d10 pedalsteel and pakaseat on the backseat of my goldwing many times, schlepping the lap around would be a breeze!
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Bill Hatcher


From:
Atlanta Ga. USA
Post  Posted 6 Feb 2016 6:34 am    
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if only derek trucks played the lap steel.....
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Webb Kline


From:
Bloomsburg, PA
Post  Posted 6 Feb 2016 6:44 am    
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I got back into them out of necessity.I couldn't put a pedal steel on top of my piano, so I went to a pair of 8 stringers. I couldn't really care less if they made a comeback or not, but I can tell you that playing this old-timey western swing, rockabilly, post-prohibition blues and jazz stuff is really working for us at fairs and amusement parks. It's so different that people are digging it everywhere. I am really surprised by how it is catching on with college kids. Shag dancing is making a comeback, and it works well with the genre, so maybe that has something to do with it. But people love the sound of the C6 and E13 tuning guitars and make a big deal of it everywhere we go. Just because something isn't making a comeback with the labels doesn't mean that there isn't a market for it. In a sense, that fact alone actually makes a market for it. One thing that I find interesting from my own perspective and that is that I find approach to the instruments much more aggressive and energetic than when I'm playing pedals. I feel the sense that I am replacing the big band and it drives the band's sound. Most things grow in popularity in a sustainable manner start from a cult following that grows, rather than from the hype spit out by record execs. The jam band phenomenon is proof of that, as is the bluegrass movement, which kind of follow each other. Grassroots, underground stuff that the labels can't tap into successfully, yet, there are people doing extremely well with it and developing huge followings.
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Mike OMalley


From:
Virginia, USA
Post  Posted 6 Feb 2016 7:37 am    
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I think there may be a certain amount of fatigue with the guitar center/corporate sales/les pauls for lawyers vibe that,. to me, infuses rock music, and a search for different approaches
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 6 Feb 2016 11:34 am    
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I don't think reverence is a good thing for artists. It impedes progress. Respect is a more healthy thing. If you revere someone to the point of thinking that no one can ever surpass that playing, then you have just put up a barrier for yourself. Joaquin and Buddy and Sol and Jerry were all phenomenal musicians, but music changes and grows there is always room for new voices.

There are very few people in the world today who only play lap steel and no other instrument. I challenge anyone who is a good, solid musician to devote his or her time strictly to playing steel guitar.

When it is the only instrument you play, it pushes you into the realm of problem solving. You learn how to circumvent limitations and find other paths to being a better player and musician.

The bad news, you won't get as many gigs.
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Terry VunCannon


From:
Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 6 Feb 2016 1:53 pm    
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Probably true Mike. I have slowly let lap steel songs take over 1/2 of my band's stage show, and have have played many one set festival shows with the lap steel only. Although I have been a guitar player for most of my life working gigs, I am loving this change to lap steel.
When playing a multi-act festival filled with guitar slinger bands, I love being the only lap steel player on the bill.
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