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Author Topic:  "How to intonate a Lapsteel"
James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 13 Dec 2017 3:06 pm     Reply with quote

Happened upon this instructional video today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3t_4lzj-ao

How did Jerry Byrd (or anyone else) ever manage to play in tune on those fixed-bridge instruments?
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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 13 Dec 2017 3:17 pm     Reply with quote

This guy is not serious.

I commented on his video and he deleted my comment.

In mentioned that we DO NOT INTONATE A LAP STEEL GUITAR.

We do not Fret our instrument.

We tune using Just Intonation and not based on equally tempered tuning.

I then posted a link to John Ely's website to educate him.
http://www.hawaiiansteel.com/tunings/my_tunings.php

Rather than educate himself and others he is misguiding a generation of potential Steel players with his intonation rubbish.

Once again we DO NOT EVER INTONATE A LAP STEEL. It is ridiculous.

I can throw his entire theory off with POOR BAR technique. And that exactly what he suffers from.

The fretboard is not used to give you the accurate position of a note/chord it is merely a guide.
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James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 13 Dec 2017 3:31 pm     Reply with quote

Yes. I only mentioned it here because I hate to see people dispensing misinformation to the unwary. And it appears this guy is also marketing lapsteel instructional DVDs, so he may reach quite a few novice players with this.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 13 Dec 2017 8:16 pm     Reply with quote

Stefan Robertson wrote:
...DO NOT EVER INTONATE A LAP STEEL. It is ridiculous.

I can only partially agree with that statement. When setting up a lap steel, it's important that the nut and bridge are spaced the correct distance apart, the bridge is perfectly parallel to the nut, and that the 12th fret on the fretboard is exactly half the distance between the two. Anything beyond that is superfluous.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 13 Dec 2017 8:57 pm     Reply with quote

Hopefully beginners who watch this video will not remove the original bridge from a vintage lap steel and put on a completely unnecessary Tune-o-matic bridge.

The problem begins with the builders of these cheapo lap steels. To keep costs down, they buy cheap adjustable guitar bridges and put them on their lap steels. Then beginners screw around (no pun) with the intonation and mess things up. So maybe videos like this are helpful to correct the intonation "adjustments" made by unaware owners. The adjustable bridge should never have been put on the lap steel in the first place. What's next? ...a truss rod in a lap steel? Maybe these cheap steels are so poorly designed they need an adjustable bridge. Oh Well
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Chase Brady


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 14 Dec 2017 6:37 am     Reply with quote

I believe Dillion boasts a two way truss rod.
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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 14 Dec 2017 7:35 am     Reply with quote

Chase Brady wrote:
I believe Dillion boasts a two way truss rod.
Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

Aww my sides are hurting. I needed a good laugh.
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Stefan aka Bilal Khalif
Bill Hatcher custom 12 string Lap Steel Guitar
E13#9/F Bebop Tuning

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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 14 Dec 2017 8:09 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
I believe Dillion boasts a two way truss rod.


...and jumbo frets!
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Robert Allen


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 15 Dec 2017 7:42 am     Reply with quote

Over the years I've built a half dozen lap steels with adjustable bridges. People email, "I don't understand why you don't offer a model with an adjustable bridge". Despite my explanations it's a deal breaker for some. I've built things that I thought were ill advised but being a custom shop, building what someone wants is what puts the food on the table.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 15 Dec 2017 8:04 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
People email, "I don't understand why you don't offer a model with an adjustable bridge". Despite my explanations it's a deal breaker for some.


It shows how harmful misinformation on the internet can be. Beginners watch videos made by other beginners teaching poor technique and disseminating bogus information... and then they leave comments thanking the poster! No wonder steel guitar has become so dumbed down in recent years.
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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post Posted 15 Dec 2017 8:04 am     Reply with quote

Robert Allen wrote:
Over the years I've built a half dozen lap steels with adjustable bridges. People email, "I don't understand why you don't offer a model with an adjustable bridge". Despite my explanations it's a deal breaker for some. I've built things that I thought were ill advised but being a custom shop, building what someone wants is what puts the food on the table.


As they say..............The customer is always right! Even though it rubs one (the builder) the wrong way.
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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 15 Dec 2017 8:30 am     Reply with quote

Doug and Chase

you guys made me laugh so hard. Great.

Laughing
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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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David Knutson


From:
Cowichan Valley, Canada
Post Posted 15 Dec 2017 10:58 am     Reply with quote

Just a question and reality check here regarding truss rods. When I look at the steels on the Dillion website, am I not seeing round necks on those steels? So isn't a truss rod quite appropriate in that case? I don't think a round neck steel would be my choice, but if I had one I would certainly want the neck to remain flat.

And . . . . jumbo frets are really easy to see . . . Very Happy
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 15 Dec 2017 11:25 am     Reply with quote

David, you're right. The Dillion lap steels DO have a truss rod! Good grief. They should stick to making cheap guitars. They also call the lap steel FRETBOARD a "finger board". Wrong. The player's fingers never touch the fretboard. More guitar lingo and confusion.


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James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 15 Dec 2017 11:42 am     Reply with quote

Doug Beaumier wrote:
David, you're right. The Dillion lap steels DO have a truss rod! Good grief. They should stick to making cheap guitars. They also call the lap steel FRETBOARD a "finger board". Wrong. The player's fingers never touch the fretboard. More guitar lingo and confusion.


Hey, at least it has a roller nut. Must be anticipating all the likely purchasers who'll be putting palm pedals on those instruments.
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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 15 Dec 2017 1:16 pm     Reply with quote

I think since its a Chinese import you are lucky that it makes sense.

I also notice that on Alibaba - the Chinese ebay for companies to order hundreds of one product(bulk ordering)

that where possible they always mention European, Italian or American named locations as place of origin - as its probably sitting in a warehouse/shipping container from China.
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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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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 15 Dec 2017 2:10 pm     Reply with quote

That’s it. Made in China and much was lost in the translation. 😏
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George Piburn


From:
The Oklahoma Hills, USA
Post Posted 15 Dec 2017 3:14 pm     Ruthless business sellers Reply with quote

How about the Plagiarized String Receiver Bridge unit, >> complete copy of the 1994 GeorgeBoards CopyRited Design.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 15 Dec 2017 3:34 pm     Reply with quote

Dillion also makes exact copies of Tele, Strats, and Gibsons. Oh Well

I'm beginning to think that the neck on their lap steel is just one of their standard guitar necks mounted on a lap steel body. Hence the truss rod and the raised guitar frets (both unnecessary on a lap steel). It's either ignorance, laziness, or cost cutting. If you see one of these, run the other way.
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post Posted 16 Dec 2017 6:24 pm     Reply with quote

But the Dillon also includes a..."pus"? Laughing

I wonder if: "there is also a margin of the truss rod with the good neck. It is about 70% remaining. Overall fine scratch fine scratches, scratches on the bag etc. There is a feeling of use. The dullness of the metal part etc. is seen. The sound is excellent with the pickup original."

- copied and pasted from an active eBay listing for an Epiphone Les Paul.

honest!

I commented on the video as well. I'm *sure* he'll delete it. It stuns me how many comments there were from supposed players and (gasp) techs that agreed with him.

Adjustable bridge? So what? Just set the saddles up in a nice, straight line like every decent lap steel ever made.

Maybe "words" confuse him and he just needs to look at a few thousand pictures.


Whoa!
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Bill Creller


From:
Saginaw, Michigan, USA
Post Posted 16 Dec 2017 8:01 pm     Reply with quote

OK......!!
For those who need to "adjust" the bridge, the cheap Rogue lap steels have "adjustable" bridges, which I assume ( there I go, assuming again !) are plectrum/ Spanish guitar parts they had for production, and just screwed'em on there, with no need to make solid bridges ! Very Happy

I have one of those Rogues here, that Bobby Ingano sent, for my grand daughter to learn on. First thing was to get things "even" & the scale set right ! Very Happy
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 16 Dec 2017 9:35 pm     Reply with quote

Yes, those adjustable bridges are a solution in search of a problem. In fact, the bridges are the problem. That’s why today’s players need videos like that to tell them how to correct the intonation problems created by the wrong kind of bridge on a lap steel.
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James Hartman


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 17 Dec 2017 7:15 am     Reply with quote

Doug Beaumier wrote:
Yes, those adjustable bridges are a solution in search of a problem. In fact, the bridges are the problem. That’s why today’s players need videos like that to tell them how to correct the intonation problems created by the wrong kind of bridge on a lap steel.


This. My objection to the video is that, as presented, it implies that some degree of string length "compensation" is required in order to get a lapsteel to play in tune, from which one might infer that the bridge with adjustable saddles is necessary - in other words, that the same intonation issues exist as on a standard guitar. Indeed, he says early on something like: "even a fretless instrument like the lapsteel needs to be intonated".

He might better have introduced it from the perspective of some of you might be starting out on an instrument with an adjustable bridge that's not been properly set up, here's how to correct it if it won't play in tune when barred across the strings.
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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post Posted 17 Dec 2017 7:42 am     Reply with quote

And yet one more vid.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB6nmmycSWM
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 17 Dec 2017 8:14 am     Reply with quote

Isn't it amazing that Jerry, Buddy, Santo, Kayton, and so many others were able to play in tune with a fixed bridge? Now steel guitarists have to learn to adjust string height and intonation thanks to those $99 Asian-made lap steels that use cheap guitar bridges. The companies probably buy boxes of those bridges for $2 each.
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