Lap Steel Guitar
The Lap Steel Guitar is a type of stringed instrument that’s played horizontally, usually resting on the player’s lap or supported by legs. Unlike regular guitars that you play by pressing strings down against the frets with your fingers, the Lap Steel Guitar has no frets. Instead, it features a smooth, flat fingerboard, and you create different notes by sliding a metal or glass bar (called a “slide”) along the strings.
Playing the Lap Steel Guitar might seem a bit tricky at first, but it’s all about finding the right balance and technique. You rest the guitar on your lap or a stand, and the strings face upward. You can use a steel bar, a bottleneck, or a special slide made of metal or glass to gently press against the strings. As you slide the bar up and down the strings, it creates a beautiful gliding sound that’s hauntingly melodic.
The Lap Steel Guitar is more than just an unusual way to play a guitar – it has a distinct sound that you won’t find in other instruments. It’s often used in country, blues, Hawaiian, and other folk music styles. When you hear a Lap Steel Guitar, it can evoke feelings of nostalgia, relaxation, or even transport you to a sunny beach with its tropical, island-like sounds.
You might have heard the Lap Steel Guitar in many classic songs without even realising it. It has a rich history and has been a beloved part of music for many decades. Musicians like Sol Hoʻopiʻi, Jerry Byrd, and Ben Harper have all contributed to popularising this unique instrument and showcasing its versatility.
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