Beginning the lap steel

I stopped playing guitar maybe a couple of years ago, because of recurring wrist pains. I diverted my music making needs towards composing music on the computer instead.

Recently I felt like playing again. I decided to convert my acoustic to a lap steel guitar. It's very easy: all you need is a "nut extender" which raises the action of your guitar way above the fretboard, and a metal bar.

It's been a success, in as much as I can play and it doesn't hurt or fatigue my wrists much.

I spent some time experimenting with various tunings: First open G, then open D. I tried C6 tuning which is a common tuning, but eventually I found the right sound for me: open D minor.

The combination of the minor chords and the sliding and vibratos make for such a beautiful sound, I cannot get my hands off it !

I know C6 tuning is more common because it offers more variety - you can easily play both minor and major chords, amongst other properties - but it just doesn't sound as good. Maybe it's different with an electric lap steel, I don't know.

I read somewhere you shouldn't think of lap steels as guitars - they're their own instrument. For example lap steels aren't normally used for the rhythm section. I'll see how I get along with this advice. For now, as I'm going lap steel because I can't play guitar, I do think of it as a replacement. This might be why I don't get along with the C6 tuning !