lap steel guitar - detail

Lap Steel Guitar

Lap steel guitar of mahogany inlaid with ash and oak fret markings, paua shell position markers and pyrographed detailing.

I decided to make this while looking at a lap steel guitar made by a very well-known manufacturer. As the strings don’t need to touch the frets, the fret markings were printed on a sheet of acrylic. I thought I could make something a bit more special and so I embarked on this project. The main body was carved from a salvaged 1970s mantelpiece of solid mahogany. I was originally just going to pyrograph the fret markings, but the more I doodled designs, the more intricate it became, finally leading me to this design.

The guitar is designed to be played: I custom made the fret board length to suit my reach, and divided it up so each fret marking would have perfect intonation.

The fret board has oak blocks inlaid into ash, which I chose because of its pale grain. I pyrographed the tendril patterns onto the body of the guitar, and added paua shell inlays for additional detail.