Saturday, July 13, 2013


The 'ElectraGlide' lap steel guitar is a done deal.  It fits nicely into the vintage violin case, which my Irish friend Carlton Gill-Blyth supplied.  Thank you Scott Moodie for the idea!

So, what's it all about?

It started out as three large chunks of basswood laminated together, from which the body of the guitar could be shaped.  It had to be designed just right to fit the violin case, but I didn't want it to be just a wedge with strings.  So, after noodling a few ideas around in my head, I settled on an 'arrow' shape to fit the case snugly with rounded tail and softly pointed headstock.  the pattern I drew looked good, but was boring like many of the commercial lap steels I've seen.  So, along came the side fins to give it the style I hadn't seen anywhere. Voila, I was happy, and I had created the design I thought would be different, while being functional as well.


The 30-inch-long body is two inches thick with scarf-shaped headstock.  It's cut from one piece of wood to maintain strength and integrity.  Since it's set up to be right-hand play, I gently sloped the body on the player side down 3/4" for comfort, while all other edges are rounded for overall contour.

The Headstock is covered with laminated Spanish cedar for a nice natural wood grain transition into the specially shaped rosewood fretboard.  The nut leading the fretboard is hand shaped from a stick of Corian counter top material.  All hardware is chrome plated or stainless, from the open gear tuners to hand seated frets and position markers to the humbucker magnetic pickup, shortened tele volume and tone control panel, drawer pull hand rest over the strings, through-body bridge, and output jack cover on the back side.  And, on either side of the body, I installed Harley fender emblems, ala, the name 'ElectraGlide'.  Scale length is 24 inches (that's the distance from the nut to the bridge) thanks to the calculator provided by StewMac.

I chose a transparent green for the body color, which works very nicely with the plum colored velvet material used to line and cushion the inside of the case.  I didn't like it much, after the first application, but that was easily overcome with the use of strategically applied walnut stain to soften and deepen the color and to give it an antique appearance.

That's about all there is to say, other than it sounds good, and as soon as I learn how to play it, I think it will sound great!

The bottom is unobstructed with the exception of tuners at the nose, and string ferrules at the tail.

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