Sunday, March 30, 2008
Guyatone Double-Neck Lap Steel
What's better than a lap steel? A double-neck lap steel, of course. Well, unless you can't play either one of them. But how cool is this thing? When it comes to adding interesting sounds to recordings, I love to monkey around on a lap steel. Throw a big reverb on there or a tremolo pedal and you've got some really interesting flavors. I can't tell you how many lap steels I've bought and sold. A few I've found at local swap meets...that's the best because you usually get it for super cheap and then you've truly got a cool little toy to play with. Once I found a really cool Dickerson lap steel and matching amp from the late '40s in sort of a dark greenish-gray pearloid in excellent condition at a thrift store in San Clemente, CA. I actually traded that in on the bigger chunk of the price of a Strat.
But a couple of times I've decided I really needed a lap steel and ended up paying regular price for one on eBay. One of those times was this time...the time I ended up with not one, but two necks of lap steel. I was combing through the ads on eBay and happened to come across this Guyatone. Guyatone made some really nice quality stuff...and they also made some marginal stuff. This one was one of the higher end items that copied some of the nicer USA made instruments from the '70s and earlier. I liked the fact that it had legs and could be set up in my little home studio to be ready at a moment's notice. Plus, I liked that it wasn't a pedal steel...I wouldn't know what the heck to do with that. But with two necks I could have it set up in a couple of different tunings and not have to goof around with it too much. What I failed to remember is that I can't really play slide guitar with any proficiency anyway, so what good is two different tunings going to do?
I bid pretty conservatively and ended up winning, to my surprise. Shipping was a hefty chunk and when it arrived I realized why. This thing weighed a ton.
It came with it's original case, which had seen better days...lots of better days.
But it worked. Like they say over at Redneckwordsofwisdom.com, if you can't fix it with duct tape, you ain't using enough duct tape. Everything worked perfectly and I immediately got busy goofing around and recording a few things. I came to the conclusion, however, that keeping it set up in my small studio took up a lot more room than I anticipated. I headed over to Home Depot and bought some little rubber bumpers and put on the 4 bottom corners. This allowed it to set comfortably and safely on my counter top while in use.
About a year after I bought this, I had to dismantle my little home studio space. I had enclosed an area in the garage with actual walls, and when the homeowner's association spied the space in the garage, they made me tear it out. Don't you just love meddling neighbors? So, I really had no space for the Guyatone and I put it back on eBay. It was a bear to pack back up and ship, but again, duct tape is my friend. That and about a quarter ton of bubble wrap. I'd love to have this one back given the space requirements. It was a really cool instrument, not to mention a great conversation starter amongst visiting musician friends.