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Post new topic Noob Help
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Author Topic:  Noob Help
John Kennedy


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 20 Jun 2019 2:46 pm    
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Hey friends, I am interested in learning acoustic lap slide. I bought a Morrell electric and decided I really like the sound of weissenborn guitars so I fitted my Seagull for slide. It sounds great but I find that I have no idea where to start. I will take lessons once I finish the vocational program that I’m in but I want to start learning now. I find that everything I do sounds like delta blues but I aspire to play more “folk” like Thomas Oliver and Gerhard. I checked a few lessons with Troy but find it’s a little advanced. I am not a musician, just a guitar strummer. Are their resources for me to find to start at square 1? Any advice or encouragement welcomed.
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Gene Tani


From:
The Pacific NW,
Post  Posted 20 Jun 2019 3:38 pm    
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First, did you put on one of those metal A-frame things over the nut? does that guitar have a radiused fingerboard/bridge? That could make it difficult to play slide, depending on the radius. What other equipment do you have, fingerpicks, bullet bar or Stevens style bar w/grips on the sides?

I haven't subscribed to Troy's lessons but they seme to be extremely well prepared, did you start at beginning? https://www.lessonswithtroy.com/Lap-Steel-Basics-Vol.-1-Part-A.html

Are you comfortable doing basic chord arpeggios using fingernails or fingerpicks, 1 note per string or 2-3 notes per string?

There's some good intro books out there, Dewitt Scott's Basic c6 Nonpedal Lap steel Method:" and Andy Volk's "Exploring c6 LS" start from very basics, holding bar, reading tablature and treble clef, finding the same note on different positions on different strings etc. I think Mike Witcher and Stacy Phillips's books on dobro/resonator are very good also. Also "Hal Leonard Lap Steel Guitar Method by Johnie Helms" which i got from the public library
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John Kennedy


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 20 Jun 2019 5:05 pm    
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Thank you so much for responding. I will look into those resources. So far, I have put a Grover nut extender on and a bone saddle, contoured on the back edge with no height removed. The action is high and comfortable. I had a Shubb PS2, iirc and really liked it but sold it with the Moreell. I ordered a cheap traditional bar to see if I like it but have a Paloma stone countoured bar in the mail. That is pretty much where I am at. I’m getting comfortable with the weight of the bar, pull offs, and slides but musically, I have no ide where step 1 is.
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Gene Tani


From:
The Pacific NW,
Post  Posted 21 Jun 2019 4:08 am    
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I would say choose a tuning, open something or C6 and make sure your strings are perfectly level on top and evenly tensioned and spaced, to start with. Also use the free resources on this forum, the search button and the tablature thread, books and DVDs in your public library

Then ask around at bluegrass/blues/jazz eetc festivals/workshops / jams or other places where lap steelers might be congregating, maybe you can find somebody to teach you or somebody to at least look over your instrument and technique and show you basic stuff
_________________
- Rukavina and Sonny Jenkins laps, stage 1
- The secret sauce: polyester adidas sweatpants to buff your picks, 5 compressor pedals, Diet Mountain Dew
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John Kennedy


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 21 Jun 2019 6:25 am    
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Sound advice. I have searched the forum a little but will search further. I just need a spot to jump in the pool, I guess.
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Steven Hudson


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 24 Jun 2019 6:48 am    
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I started playing about a year ago. I started with open E tuning because it was easier to translate from playing guitar for me. Search you tube for open E lap steel. A couple of videos will show you major and minor chords. From there I learned to play kinda a rhythm to songs and was able to expand from there. Stay within 2 frets up or down and you can usually find what you are looking for. I do have another lap steel tuned to C6 now, but have not had a lot of time with it. Remember. Less is often more.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 24 Jun 2019 8:27 am    
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Steven Hudson wrote:
I started playing about a year ago. I started with open E tuning because it was easier to translate from playing guitar for me. Search you tube for open E lap steel.

This is good advice, and not just because it is easier to understand.

Tuning a standard guitar or round neck resonator to E or D puts relatively the same amount of tension on the neck as standard tuning. If you change to lap steel gauge strings and tune to C6 or A6 or even G dobro tuning, you will stress the neck and it will bow. I don’t think there is enough adjustment in a truss rod to accommodate that kind of string tension. I almost ruined my round neck with G tuning. Now that it’s in D, the intonation is much more stable up and down the neck, and I can even use a Shubb capo on it.
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Stephen Cowell


From:
Round Rock, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 25 Jun 2019 12:07 pm    
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Quote:


Tuning a standard guitar or round neck resonator to E or D puts relatively the same amount of tension on the neck as standard tuning. If you change to lap steel gauge strings and tune to C6 or A6 or even G dobro tuning, you will stress the neck and it will bow. I don’t think there is enough adjustment in a truss rod to accommodate that kind of string tension. I almost ruined my round neck with G tuning. Now that it’s in D, the intonation is much more stable up and down the neck, and I can even use a Shubb capo on it.


If you choose the gauges correctly you will not stress the guitar. A normal C6 lap set should work fine. Do *not* tune a regular set up to a 6 tuning unless you’re tuning *down*.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 25 Jun 2019 3:56 pm    
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Stephen, if I tune my roundneck to standard bluegrass G (GBDGBD), what gauges would you recommend? I’m thinking standard mediums for the top 4, but the low G and B on a medium set are way too heavy.

(Sorry for the topic tangent detour)
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post  Posted 25 Jun 2019 6:18 pm    
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John Ely's Hawaiian Steel Guitar web page contains a handy string gauge guide that is a great starting point for choosing the correct string for any given pitch:

http://hawaiiansteel.com/
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 25 Jun 2019 7:13 pm    
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Jack Hanson wrote:
John Ely's Hawaiian Steel Guitar web page contains a handy string gauge guide that is a great starting point for choosing the correct string for any given pitch:

http://hawaiiansteel.com/

I checked there before I asked here. I just assumed that John’s list is for lap steels, consoles, and square necks, and the gauge variations have to do with scale length of the guitar. But I guess .034 for B and .042 G, maybe .044 on a roundneck should be okay.
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Stephen Cowell


From:
Round Rock, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 26 Jun 2019 7:51 am    
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Fred Treece wrote:
Stephen, if I tune my roundneck to standard bluegrass G (GBDGBD), what gauges would you recommend? I’m thinking standard mediums for the top 4, but the low G and B on a medium set are way too heavy.

(Sorry for the topic tangent detour)


High-bass G is more of a close tuning than the normal open-E etc tunings... tuning up three frets on the low string is not good. Either order a normal dobro set or piece together a set from an acoustic 12-string set. If you want to buy at your local Guitar Center for instant gratification! BTDT for both. You can go down a thou or two to lessen the stress... follow John Ely’s page.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 26 Jun 2019 8:21 am     From the Just Strings website:
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“It is not advisable to use a G, B, D, G, B, D tuning or many other slack key tunings on round (Spanish) neck resonator guitars because the very high string tensions involved could easily damage the neck. These tunings are suitable for square neck instruments only.”

In other words, they don’t recommend their packaged G-tuning sets, which are .016 - .056, for roundnecks. That’s what threw my Dobro into chaos. I am definitely more inclined to go with John Ely’s lightest gauge recommendations, which would be about .014 - .044. So thanks to Jack and Stephen for pointing me in that direction, which I kinda sorta already figured but needed some backup.

Quote:
If you want to buy at your local Guitar Center for instant gratification! BTDT for both.

You’re kidding, right?🤠
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Jim Graham


From:
Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 26 Jun 2019 8:37 am    
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I started playing lapsteel a little over a year ago after many years of standard guitar. I have a 6 string lapsteel and I fitted one of my flat tops with a nut extender as well, the bridge radius is either very minimal or non existent. I got an e-book from the Kobo website titled "Learn to Play C6 Lapsteel" by Joe Dochtermann. Highly recommended. I like C6 tuning because you can easily play Major or Minor chords. I've already started playing it on 7 or 8 songs with my band. I've also benefited from some of the tabs on this forum that have been graciously supplied from several more adept players.
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Gene Tani


From:
The Pacific NW,
Post  Posted 26 Jun 2019 10:49 am    
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I should have mentioned, since all the things they recommend to measure neck relief go out the window when you put on a Grover metal raised nut, you can't hold the string down at 1st and last fret to measure relief, but you *can* look at the reflections of strings off the frets and eyeball if the curve of those (the relief) is roughly same before/after the nut extender, new string gauges/tuning and whatever else is happening.
_________________
- Rukavina and Sonny Jenkins laps, stage 1
- The secret sauce: polyester adidas sweatpants to buff your picks, 5 compressor pedals, Diet Mountain Dew
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