Lap steel guitar is just that – a guitar played on your lap with a steel (a metal bar). Sometimes they are on legs and can have multiple necks – as in the picture above of my Fender Dual Professional. They are then called “console guitars”.
Below is a picture of a couple of lap steels – one a six string and one an 8 string:-
Here is an example of me playing a small 8 string lap steel tuned in A6:-
Here is another example of me playing in a similar “Western Swing” style:-
One of the advantages of the A6 tuning is that A6 has the same notes as its relative minor chords – F#min7. So you can easily play in minor keys as well. Here is an example of me playing the same lap steel in a minor key.
Dobro is a similar instrument – played flat on your lap with a steel but it is acoustic and the sound is projected by a metal resonator. This gives it a unique sound which is quite different from an electric lap steel guitar.
Here is an example of me playing Dobro on a track I recorded for Claire Hamill:-
Here are some links to websites that I have found useful to refer to when learning lap steel:-
Brads Page of Steel – Andy Volk’s Site – John Ely’s Chords Locator –
John Ely’s Scale Locator – Doug Beaumier’s Site – Mike Neer’s Site – British Steelies – Steel Guitar Forum – Georgeboards – David Porthouse – Remington Steel Guitars – Lessons with Troy – Dobro Joe – OnLineLessons – that should keep you busy !