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 lap steel/slide tone bar
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Darin
Lokahi

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 05/07/2009 :  10:44:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit Darin's Homepage
I'm a total novice at slide techniques. Anyone got suggestions for which slide/tone bar works the best? Full disclosure, I'd be using it on a regular guitar without any nut extender attempting to mimic a Hawaiian lap steel. Thanks for the help!

Darin
http://www.hawaiiguitar.com/

rendesvous1840
Ha`aha`a

USA
1055 Posts

Posted - 05/07/2009 :  1:54:04 PM  Show Profile
There was a thread about tone bars some time ago under Hawaiian Steel Guitar. You could search the archives for it. I believe the general concensus was that the bullet bars are best. I have a bullet and a flat bar, the flat seems easier for me to control and hang onto. But I don't have enough experience to claim any knowledge. I spend too much time with slack key, banjo, and dulcimer to put in the time on steel.
I don't know if the normally low action of a standard guitar will be conducive to steel playing. You may get a lot of rattles and buzzes. Hang in there a bit, and some folks with real knowledge will chime in here. Meanwhile, I'll look for that old thread.
Paul

"A master banjo player isn't the person who can pick the most notes.It's the person who can touch the most hearts." Patrick Costello
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Darin
Lokahi

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 05/07/2009 :  3:41:09 PM  Show Profile  Visit Darin's Homepage
Thanks Patrick! Found it.

http://www.taropatch.net/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6653&SearchTerms=lap,steel

Darin
http://www.hawaiiguitar.com/
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Trev
Lokahi

United Kingdom
265 Posts

Posted - 05/15/2009 :  02:15:00 AM  Show Profile
Hey Darin – this is pretty much my approach too. I’ve tried a nut extender, and found that you get a much better and louder sound – most likely because you can push into the strings a bit harder. However, I play all sorts of things during a night, and might only want to play steel on a couple of songs. As I already take out a mandolin and a guitar, I’m not keen on taking a second guitar just for steel. It’s a hassle to carry three things on public transport (or to get into a taxi), and the rooms I play in are often very small, and I’m conscious of taking up too much room with instruments. So I’ll use the steel on the ‘normal’ guitar. It’s not as loud, but it’s perfectly possible to do it.

I mostly use a Hawaiian style bullet type slide. Once you get used to holding them they work fine – although you have to play with a light touch on the left hand. When a ‘regular’ steel player plays my non nut extended guitar there are all sorts of knocks and rattles, which I don’t seem to get. I’ve used a flat type bar as well, and that is also fine. It’s the lightness of the left hand that’s the important thing.
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Darin
Lokahi

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 05/15/2009 :  08:31:15 AM  Show Profile  Visit Darin's Homepage
Thanks Trev! That's very helpful. I'm still trying to get the hang of the left hand. Definitely a work in progress. Appreciate the help.

Darin
http://www.hawaiiguitar.com/
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basilking
Lokahi

123 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2009 :  1:17:50 PM  Show Profile

Everyone has their own way. My modest lap-steel endeavors were always with a Dunlop "bullet" bar til last winter. Saw/tried a Shubb "Robert Randolph model" bar @ NAMM, haven't used anything else since. For "bottleneck" slide I've always found the heaviest slides produce the best tone & sustain[for me, elec or acoustic]. The Robt R model is a hefty [~ 7 3/4 oz.] Stevens-style bar, ez-pz on my old Fender Dlx 8.
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slipry1
Ha`aha`a

USA
1501 Posts

Posted - 06/15/2009 :  07:01:30 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by basilking


Everyone has their own way. My modest lap-steel endeavors were always with a Dunlop "bullet" bar til last winter. Saw/tried a Shubb "Robert Randolph model" bar @ NAMM, haven't used anything else since. For "bottleneck" slide I've always found the heaviest slides produce the best tone & sustain[for me, elec or acoustic]. The Robt R model is a hefty [~ 7 3/4 oz.] Stevens-style bar, ez-pz on my old Fender Dlx 8.


I fund that slants are not as accurate with a Stevens type steel, at least for me. If you watch the great ones, Alan Akaka & Bobby Ingano, e.g., their left hand doesn't move when they do the slant - they just push the bullet bar into position with the thumb - it takes a while, but you end up with a lot better pitch control. Trust me - it's worth the effort. Watch these guys, and Jerry Byrd, on YouTube to see.

keaka
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slipry1
Ha`aha`a

USA
1501 Posts

Posted - 06/15/2009 :  07:03:39 AM  Show Profile
I should add that slants are easier (and harmonics, too) on a long scale instrument - more forgiving.

keaka
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basilking
Lokahi

123 Posts

Posted - 06/15/2009 :  07:35:01 AM  Show Profile
Agree, Slipry1. I've made the choice to "suffer" the slant issues [less of 'em on an 8 than a 6] for the tone of the heavy Robt R bar. Interestingly, just before I got it, I'd gone into the barn and ground a flat side on my bullet bar. Not a big flat area, just enough to get a "better" grip on the bar. I'm lefty-plays-righty so my "dextrous" hand is actually the "sinister" one yet I feel greater control with a flat side on the bar. Don't have this control issue with old small, vintage, lead-center "bullet bars" I've picked up over the years, but don't get "the tone" outa those. Maybe I just don't practice enough...
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slipry1
Ha`aha`a

USA
1501 Posts

Posted - 06/15/2009 :  09:16:35 AM  Show Profile
quote:
[i]Originally I'm lefty-plays-righty so my "dextrous" hand is actually the "sinister" one yet I feel greater control with a flat side on the bar. ... Maybe I just don't practice enough...


I, too, am a "leftover" (a lefty who plays right), largely because I started stringed instuments on banjo, and I couldn't afford a left handed one. I use a Dunlop Jerry Byrd model steel, and an old (1940's) brass steel with a thick bakelite coating. The large diameter pedal steel bars just don't work when you have to slant, imho. Tone is more a matter of the instrument (I LOVE my Stringmasters), and the amplifier (tube amps - I use a Peavy Classic 30), than the bar. Alan Akaka turned me on to the Boss Fender Deluxe pedal, which he uses as a direct box at the Marriott - now I use it, too, when there's a sound system or when I use my Fender Champ DSP because it's light weight. I just set the tone controls to "5", the reverb to "0" and control the tone with the pedal. It works great! And, finally - ah, yes, the "P" word! My dad's mantra was "the more you do it, the better you get." Alas, it's true.

keaka
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