Gretsch lap steel review

Gretsch lap steel review DEFAULT

If you’re looking for a new lap steel guitar, it can be a confusing business. With a range of very different styles – and prices – available, how do you pick the one that’s right for you?

Fortunately, we’re here to help you do just that! Check out our reviews of seven of the best lap steel guitars out there right now. And if you need some extra help, our buying guide will help you focus on the features that matter most.

So if you’re ready, let’s see what we can find!


The Best Lap Steel Guitar on the Market

1. Rogue RLS-1 Lap Steel Guitar (Our Top Pick)

Rogue RLS-1 Lap Steel Guitar with Stand and Gig Bag Metallic Black

The Rogue RLS-1 is an attractive lap steel guitar with plenty of great features. And it’s also one of the most affordable options out there. So what do you get for the very modest price tag?

Well, it looks pretty stylish. It’s made from hardwood and has a slender triangular form. The wooden body is black, the hardware chrome, and there’s a smart stainless steel pickguard. The position markers along the neck are picked out in white. The look is clean, modern and – despite the price – expensive.

The scale is 21 inches long. The single-coil pickup produces a bright, clear sound that’s well suited to blues, Hawaiian and classic country. And there are well-sized controls to adjust the volume and tone. They do so smoothly, with no sudden jumps or crackling.

It comes complete with three legs which you can screw into the guitar so you can play it anywhere. And the height can be adjusted, so it will be comfortable no matter how tall or short you are.

We have, though, heard of some cases where the socket to screw in the legs has been stripped. If you’re handy, a simple solution is to remove the socket and put a nut on the other side.

The lower price is evident to some extent in the tuning gears and strings, neither of which are top quality. You can, however, replace these fairly easily if you want to. Even with the extra expense, you’ll be getting good value for money.

And you’ll even get a carrying case included with your guitar. The black and white colorway looks good, and it’s pretty robust. There’s plenty of room inside, and a convenient separate compartment to hold the legs.

All in all, this is a great little lap steel guitar. At this price, you really can’t go wrong.


  • Attractive hardwood construction with stainless steel pickup and chrome hardware
  • Smooth controls for volume and tone
  • Comes with a good quality carrying case


  • The sockets don’t always hold the legs securely – you may need to replace them with a nut
  • The strings and tuning gears aren’t the highest quality.

Check Current Price on Amazon


2. Gretsch G Electromatic Lap Steel Guitar

Gretsch G Electromatic Lap Steel with White Plastic Fretboard - Tobacco

The Gretsch G Electromatic is almost four times the price of the Rogue. Yes, you read that right – four times. So what do you get if you’re prepared to make this kind of investment?

It’s certainly an instrument that stands out from the crowd. It has a similar shape to the Rogue, but the subtle shaping gives it more of a traditional guitar vibe.

It comes in a choice of two striking finishes. The black sparkle has a distinctly disco feel, with glittering silver dots on a black background. Alternatively, go for the tobacco sunburst for a classic look.

Both versions have a mahogany back for optimal resonance. The fixed bridge is made of chrome-plated cast zinc. The control plate has a distinctive Art Deco style shape, with controls for tone and volume.

The single coil pickup gives a bright, clear tone, and there’s no excessive humming.

This is inches long in total. It’s lightweight at just over 5 pounds, and it’s easy to play. It’s simple to string and retune too – and it stays in tune well.

There are just a couple of things to watch out for with this one.

The first is the fretboard. We’ve heard of a handful of cases where it hasn’t lain completely flat against the neck. If the problem is impairing your playing experience, you can remove the fretboard and glue it back into position. It’s a bit of a pain and takes a little time, but will sort it out.

The other is that there are no legs included in the package. We’ve heard of one case where a Gretsch owner repurposed some old table legs to good effect! If you want to do that, it needn’t be an expensive project, but will again require a bit of extra work.

Whether you choose to make these upgrades or not, you’ll be getting a very good guitar. If you don’t mind spending the money, this is a good choice.


  • The excellent finish and Art Deco control panel give this a stylish and distinctive look
  • Good quality single coil pickup with a bright, clear tone
  • Simple to restring and stays in tune well


  • We’ve heard of a couple of cases where the fretboard hasn’t been completely flat
  • There are no legs included with this one.

Check Current Price on Amazon


3. SX Lap 2 Steel Guitar (Best for the Money)

SX Lap 2 Ash 3TS Electric Lap Steel Guitar w/Bag

The SX Lap 2 has a more traditionally guitar-shaped body than the triangular forms of the Rogue and Gretsch. It sits between the price points of those two instruments – and you get excellent value for money.

It comes in just one finish, a sunburst. The neck is made of rosewood and the body of American swamp ash. The tuners are made of die-cast chrome, and the controls for volume and tone are finished in chrome too.

One of the stand-out features of this lap steel is the adjustable bridge. This allows every string to be adjusted individually.

It’s a rare advantage amongst these kinds of instruments, and means you can tune it to suit your preferred musical style. If you play blues or rock, you may favor an Open G and A. If you’re playing country or bluegrass, you may prefer a High G or A.

Note though, that if you’re planning on using a C6 tuning, you may need to replace the strings first. The ones that come with the Lap 2 look like regular guitar strings. If you tune a fat E string up that high on the sixth string, it may snap.

One thing to note is that while the adjustable bridge makes this very versatile, it does have a downside. Restringing is a considerably more finicky business than it is with a fixed bridge. You won’t want to have to change a string in the middle of your set!

The guitar holds its tuning well. The tone control here is also more responsive than in many instruments. You can really hear the difference as you adjust it.

The guitar comes with a removable lap steel stand, and the legs are nice and sturdy. Just make sure you’re not too vigorous as you screw them in. If you are, you may end up cross-threading them.

Line them up carefully, and go back to the beginning and start again if you feel any resistance. If you do that, you shouldn’t have any problems. And note that, while the legs are adjustable, they’re less steady when fully extended. That’s something to watch out for if you like to play standing up.

The guitar comes with a smart cream carry bag, complete with padding to keep it safe in transit.


  • The adjustable bridge offers great versatility
  • Responsive tone control
  • Comes with good quality removable stand and carry bag


  • That adjustable bridge makes it trickier to change the strings
  • Take care when you screw in the legs to avoid cross-threading – and watch out for a wobble if you extend them as far as they’ll go.

Check Current Price on Amazon


4. SX Lap 3 Steel Guitar

SX LAP 3 Black Lap Steel Guitar w/Free Carry Bag

The Lap 3, also from SX, is significantly less expensive than the Lap 2. It comes in at roughly the same price as the Rogue, making it a good budget pick.

The body has the same shape as the Lap 2, but the finish here is more basic. Instead of the sunburst, you’ll get a flat glossy black. But set against the chrome volume and tone controls, and the chrome pickguard, it still looks very smart.

The guitar is full-size, and it has 36 frets. It’s 33 1/8 inches long, and the scale is 22 7/8 inches. The body is made of basswood.

The single coil pickup is clear and bright, and versatile enough to work for country, blues, rock, Hawaiian and bluegrass. The sound quality for such an inexpensive instrument is very impressive. It’s lightweight and comfortable to play too.

You’ll also get a couple of extras included in the package. There’s a carrying case and a glass slide.

The case is black with a white SX logo. It looks smart, and it will keep moisture and dust away from your instrument. But it’s not the same quality as the case you’ll get with the SX 2. There’s no padding here, so it won’t offer much protection if you’re taking your guitar on the road.

And unlike the SX 2, there’s no stand included. If you want one, you’ll need to buy or make your own separately.

But none of this is surprising, or indeed disappointing, for a lap steel guitar at such a modest price. What you’re getting here is a good-looking instrument, with impressive sound quality. That feels like a good deal to us.


  • Versatile sound and great sound quality from the single coil pickup
  • Attractive black and chrome finish
  • Comes with a glass slide and a carrying case to keep dust and moisture away from your guitar


  • There’s no padding in the carrying case, so it won’t offer much protection on the road
  • There’s no stand included.

Check Current Price on Amazon


5. Harmonia Lap Steel Guitar

Lap Steel Guitar 6 Steel String, Metallic Black Finish

The Harmonia shares with the Rogue the prize for the least expensive instrument on our list. For those looking to try out a lap steel guitar without spending a lot of money, it’s well worth considering.

The shape is a simple elongated triangle with curved corners. The body is made of hardwood and it’s finished in a stylish metallic gloss black. The fingerboard and pickguard here are both plastics. The latter is pearl white, creating a pleasing contrast against the black body.

At inches, this is a shorter guitar than some. Smaller guitarists may find this an advantage. And at just 4 pounds, it’s very lightweight too. The scale is 21 inches, and there are 28 brass frets. The width at the nut is 2 inches.

The tuning machines are geared, and there’s a single-coil pickup. That makes it nice and versatile, but you may find you get some buzzing. The electronics here aren’t top notch, but they do the job.

Unlike most guitars on our list, this one also comes with its own cable. But you won’t get any other accessories. If you need a stand or legs, you’ll need to buy them separately. Ditto a carrying case. But at this price, that’s hardly surprising.

This is a good choice if you’re looking to try out a lap steel guitar for the first time. You won’t get the sound quality of more expensive instruments, but it’s perfectly playable – and it’s incredibly keenly priced.


  • Attractive black and chrome finish
  • Decent sound quality from the single-coil pickup
  • The shorter scale and body will suit guitarists with a smaller build


  • The fingerboard and pickguard are plastic
  • No accessories except the cable are included in the (very low) price.

Check Current Price on Amazon


6. Recording King RGSN Lap Steel Guitar

Recording King RGSN Lap Steel Guitar, Sunburst

The RGSN from Recording King is a handsome lap steel with some great features. It’s not the cheapest out there – you could buy two Rogues for one of these – but it’s still well priced. And you’ll get some great features for your money.

The body is a classic figure-of-eight shape with an attractive starburst finish. Both the top and back are made of mahogany. The string-through-body design delivers a long sustain.

The pickup is a single-coil Alnico designed by EMG. There are two controls, one for volume and one for tone. That gives you scope to create sounds from mellow country to searing blues. The sound quality is really very good indeed.

The scale is 23 inches and there are 26 frets. The tuning machines are open geared. That makes them easy to use. They hold steady, particularly in open tunings, reducing the frequency with which you’ll need to retune. You may, though, find they’re a little tight if you’re using a C6 tuning.

There are no extras with this one. If you need a stand or carrying case, you’ll have to buy them separately.

There’s little to dislike about the guitar itself. We have, though, heard of a few cases where poor packaging has seen it arrive damaged. The box could usefully offer more support.

The answer, of course, is to give your guitar a once-over as soon as it arrives. If you spot any serious issues, send it back. Most people don’t encounter any problems, but don’t put up with damage if you get unlucky.

All in all, this is a great lap steel guitar at a very reasonable price. And it looks the business too.


  • Mahogany body produces great resonance
  • String-through-body design delivers a strong, full sustain
  • Good sound quality from the single-coil Alnico pickup


  • The tuning machines may be a little tight if you’re using a C6 tuning
  • You won’t get any accessories with this one.

Check Current Price on Amazon


7. ADM Hawaiian Weissenborn Lap Steel Guitar

ADM Hawaiian Weissenborn Classic Acoustic Lap Steel Guitar for Enthusiasts

The Hawaiian Weissenborn by All Days Music is one of the most distinctive lap steel guitars on our list. It’s very reasonably priced too, coming in at around the same cost as the SX Lap 2 and Recording King.

The shape is beautiful and unique – like a large teardrop. From the front, it could be an oversized mandolin.

It’s constructed from top quality Sapele wood. For those who aren’t familiar with Sapele, it’s a hardwood with similar characteristics to mahogany, but much more readily available. It’s nice and durable, and creates plenty of resonance.

The fingerboard and bridge are made of technical wood. That’s tropical hardwood that’s been steamed at high pressure and temperature, making it very strong. The fingerboard is edged with an attractive band of maple.

At 16 inches at its widest point, the body is larger than many other lap steels. That’s characteristic of Hawaiian or Weissenborn guitars, but it means it may not suit smaller players. It’s inches deep, and the scale is 25 inches long.

The sound quality is full and round, with a warm tone and a good, long sustain. Note that this is an acoustic guitar, so there are no pickups here. That means you won’t be able to adjust the tone in the way you can with electric lap steels.

This is a very lightweight instrument, so it’s easy to take from place to place. Note, though, that it doesn’t come with a case – and the teardrop shape means standard cases won’t fit.

There are sellers out there that offer the case too, so shop around before you make your choice. Some offer the case alongside the guitar for a minimal additional cost.


  • Beautiful and distinctive teardrop shape
  • Full, warm sound quality with long sustain
  • Lightweight


  • The wider body won’t fit comfortably on the laps of smaller players
  • This is an acoustic, so there’s no way to adjust the tone.

Check Current Price on Amazon


Buying Guide

lap steel

If you’ve read all the reviews but still aren’t sure which lap steel guitar to pick – read on! We’re going to take you through some things to consider before you make your final choice.

Electric or acoustic?

One question which will hopefully be quite easy to answer is whether you’re looking for an electric or acoustic guitar.

All but one of the lap steels on our list are electric. You’ll need to plug them into an amp to hear much sound. And of course, you’ll need to perform somewhere there’s a power source. They’ll all have controls that allow you to adjust the volume and tone of the instrument.

The Hawaiian or Weissenborn lap steel, on the other hand, is acoustic. It’s beautifully lightweight, and you’ll be able to play it anywhere. But there’s no way to adjust the tone of the guitar as you’re performing. And there’s a limit to how loud you’ll be able to play.

What musical styles will you be playing?

The next thing to consider is what kind of musical styles you’ll be playing. All the electric lap steels on our list come with single-coil pick-ups. These offer more versatility than humbuckers which, generally speaking, work best for rock or metal.

But another thing to consider is the style of the bridge. Most electric lap steels have a fixed bridge. This makes restringing relatively straightforward.

With an adjustable bridge, however, you can more easily tune your instrument in different ways. The SX Lap 2 has this feature, and it gives it lots of versatility. Tune to Open G or Open A for rock or blues, and to High G or High A for country or bluegrass.

The compromise is that restringing is a much fiddlier job than with a fixed bridge.

What about the practicalities of performing?

As their name suggests, lap steels are designed to be played on your lap! But if you want more stability, look for options that can be used with legs or a gig stand. Adjustable legs will give you more flexibility, but note that they may be less stable when they’re fully extended.

It’s also important to be aware that the dimensions of lap steel guitars can vary significantly. Check the length and the scale to make sure you’ll be able to hold it comfortably. And note that smaller players may find wide guitars, like Weissenborns, difficult to balance on their laps.

Ready to Choose Your New Lap Steel Guitar?

We hope our round-up of the best lap steel guitars out there has helped you in your search! Whether you’re on a tight budget or want to splash some serious cash, there are some great options out there.

Our top pick is the brilliant Rogue RLS-1. It looks and sounds great, and offers unbeatable value for money. You’ll even get a very decent carrying case and set of legs included in the price.

But if you want a really versatile instrument, we love the SX Lap 2. The adjustable bridge makes this a hugely flexible lap steel. And it’s very well priced too.

Whichever one is right for you, we hope you’re soon enjoying playing your new lap steel guitar!


A warranty can be a very important factor when making a buying decision. Because repairs can be very expensive in terms of parts and labour costs, manufacturers usually only provide one year limited warranties that generally only cover items that malfunction due to a manufacturer’s defect. With an important purchase such as a musical
instrument or piece of studio gear, however, many people want to have the peace of mind in knowing that their investment will be protected should the product no longer be performing at %.

Because of this, Long & McQuade provides our customers with a FREE one-year Performance Warranty on most of our products. The Long & McQuade Performance Warranty supplements the manufacturer’s warranty to ensure that our customers receive complete “no hassle” warranty coverage within their first year.

How does the Long & McQuade Performance Warranty differ from most manufacturers' warranties?
  • Performance Guarantee: Normal wear and tear is covered, so your product will be performing as well as the day you purchased it for the entire duration of the coverage. Band and Orchestral Performance Warranty does not include replacing pads or cleaning for woodwind instruments, unless deemed necessary by our repair staff. Ultrasonic cleaning for brass instruments will be provided if deemed necessary by our repair staff, but is not routinely offered under the Performance Warranty.
  • Product Replacement: If your product cannot be fixed or costs too much to fix, we will replace it with the equivalent model for no additional charge. If this is not possible, a full refund will be provided.
  • No Lemon Policy: Your product will be replaced should the same problem occur multiple times.
  • Convenient: Easy drop off and pick up of the product at any Long & McQuade location.
  • Guitar Setup: Guitars purchased at Long & McQuade come with 1 free setup, to be redeemed within 1 year for new guitars and 90 days for used guitars.
  • Loaners Available: A loaner product may be given while the product is being repaired.
  • Power Surge Protection: Your product is covered even if damaged from a power surge.
  • Accessory Coverage: Any peripheral devices or accessories that come with your product (i.e. foot pedal, case) are also covered.
  • Commercial Use Coverage: Music and recording professionals who purchase gear for “heavy-use” commercial purposes will still be covered.

Long & McQuade reserves the right to restrict the purchase of additional years of Performance Warranty. Used products come with a 3-month Long & McQuade Performance Warranty. Some products (i.e. computers, software, cymbals and other items) are covered only by the manufacturer‘s warranty. Consumables (i.e. strings, reeds, woodwind pads, drum sticks, batteries, tubes, cross faders) are excluded as they are designed to be replaced. Cosmetic Damage, Accidental Damage, or problems caused by Humidity or Temperature Issues are not covered. Speakers damaged by overpowering are generally not covered. Our coverage does not provide compensation for loss of use. As of June the Performance Warranty is no longer transferable. The warranty is only valid in Canada.

Purchasing additional years of coverage

Some manufacturers provide warranties for longer than 1 year; however, these are usually limited warranties that do not provide the same coverage as the Long & McQuade Performance Warranty. Customers interested in more complete and convenient (but not necessarily longer) coverage are still able to purchase additional years of the Performance Warranty.

If you are interested in receiving this coverage for longer than one year, you have the option of purchasing additional years of the Performance Warranty. The pricing is as follows:

  • NEW products: 4% of the current new selling price to double the warranty from 1 year to 2 years. 4% for each additional year.
  • USED products: 4% of the current new selling price to increase the warranty from 3 months to 1 year. 4% for each additional year. Pricing for used electronic products is 4% of the original new selling price.
  • GUITARS: 4% of the current new selling price to double the warranty from 1 year to 2 years. 4% for each additional year. $45 maximum. An additional free setup is not included with additional purchased years of Performance Warranty.
  • BAND and ORCHESTRAL instruments: $40 flat rate up to $2, of current new selling price to double the warranty from 1 year to 2 years.
  • BRASS and STRINGS: 2% of the current new selling price above $2,
  • WOODWINDS: 4% of the current new selling price above $2,
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Widely used in genres such as folk, Americana, Hawaiian, blues, and country music.

The lap steel guitar is one of the most rich-sounding stringed instruments out there.

Mastering this instrument gives you a wide variety of tonal choices to either produce unique music or to just have fun with it.

Whether you are a beginner lap steel guitar player or an expert looking to get the right model for you, there is a lap steel guitar out there that will fit your needs and wants.

I have compiled a list of the 7 best lap steel guitars for all budgets to help you find the right one. Let’s jump in!

How to Choose a Lap Steel Guitar

What to Expect for your Money

It is no secret that higher-priced instruments are usually of better quality. Knowing how much you are willing to spend will be very helpful in deciding the right lap steel guitar for you.

The price range for entry-level guitars is around $$ There are some great sounding entry-level lap steel guitars out there, which I’ll discuss later in this article.

Now, if we jump into the $$ price range, you will surely find great sounding lap steel guitars.

It is at this point that you have to take into consideration specs such as multiple tone controls, tone switches, and overall build quality.

Finally, we have lap steel guitars in the price range of $ and above.

These guitars will have the best tone possible and will be made out of very durable material. Aesthetics will also play a role in its price.

What I Recommend for Beginners

It might be tempting to get high-priced lap steel guitar if you are a beginner.

However, I would recommend you purchasing one from the lower price-range to ensure you are comfortable with the instrument and are willing to spend time learning it.

It might also be tempting to get a used instrument to lower the price.

I&#;d definitely not recommend it since it is hard to know what issues the instrument is carrying and might prove to be more expensive in the long run.

Instrument Build Quality

Built quality is the absolute most important thing to be considered when deciding how much you will spend on a given lap steel guitar.

You have to be on the lookout for three main aspects in a guitar’s build quality: overall components of the lap steel guitar, the wood it was made out of, and the pickups and electronics of the instrument.

Starting with the overall specs of a guitar, higher-priced lap steel guitars have better nuts, saddles, and bridges. This allows the guitar to have better intonation and it prevents it from falling out of tune constantly.

the electronics in a lap steel guitar are important to determine how much control you have over your sound.

Higher priced lap steel guitars will have better-sounding pickups and will have more tonal controls to adjust your sound.

Wood Quality

Now, the wood used to build a lap steel guitar is really important. It determines the natural tone of the instrument and whether it will improve overtime or not.

Higher priced lap steel guitars will have solid wood, rather than laminated wood.

A solid wood lap steel guitar will have the same piece of wood uses for the whole of the body and sometimes the whole of the guitar.

This ensures a consistency in tone, a more resonant instrument, and will also allow the wood to age, improving the tone through the years.

Lap Steel Guitar Pickups

It is a crucial task to choose the right pickups for your lap steel guitar. This will enable you to have the right tone associated with the genre you are thinking of focusing on.

Single-Coil Pickups

A lap steel guitar with single-coil pickups gives you a bright, twangy tone.

They are also characterized to be thinner sounding than their counterparts. A thin tone is great for intricate picking or a tone that cuts through the mix that grabs peoples attention.

Single-coil pickups are versatile and ideal for styles such as country, folk, and Hawaiian-type music.


Humbuckers, on the other hand, arefuller sounding and have a lot of mid-range and warmth.

This lap steel guitar is ideal for styles such as blues or rock. Using distortion or overdrive on these pickups is also a great combination.

Humbuckers are also excellent at cancelling hum and pesky feedback when combined with heavy distortion.

Therefore, if you are going to turn the gain up with your lap steel, humbuckers are a great option.


Finally, we have a hybrid-styled pickup, the P90 lap steel guitar. The P90 is a single-coil pickup with a very similar routing to the one of a humbucker pickup.

This makes the P90 a very versatile pickup and a great choice for someone who does not wish to focus on a specific style of music.

Other things to Consider

There are some external elements you’ll think of once you set out on the quest for defining your sound.

The type of amp you use, whether you use pedals or not, and how you want to set up your effects chain will define the style of playing you pursue.

Fender amplifiers are a good place to start if you are looking for something country or blues related. A lot of known players have also favored Mesa Boogie’s amps, such as the Stiletto Deuce.

As for pedals, I would recommend you start with a volume pedal. This will provide you with a lot of dynamic control, which is very important.

After that, a reverb or delay pedal is a good choice, paired with a distortion or overdrive pedal.

In the end, you need to envision the type of sound and style you are looking for. By doing this, you will have a better understanding of which pedals are best suited for you

1. Rogue RLS-1 &#; Best Lap Steel Guitar for Beginners

The Rogue RLS-1 can be easily considered the best lap steel guitar for beginners due to its price vs. quality relation.

Equipped with a single-coil pickup, this lap steel guitar has a crisp, bright tone with a bit of a twang.

Granted, it might not be the best-sounding lap steel guitar in the market, but it can definitely hold on its own and can even be a good choice for seasoned players who need a sturdy, low-budget steel-string guitar without greatly sacrificing a good tone.

The Rogue RLS-1 lap steel guitar is also quite simple to handle. Having only one volume and one tone control, you can adjust your sound in a very fast yet effective way.

The fretboard also includes Roman numeral markings to facilitate your learning of where the notes are.

This full-sized instrument measures around 31 inches in length and has a weight of approximately ten pounds.

The body has a metallic red finish and includes screw-in legs to give you the choice of not having to put the lap steel guitar on your legs but on a stand.

This lap steel guitar is a great option for beginners and at a very affordable price, is a great starter lap steel guitar.


  • Hardwood body
  • Single-coil pickup with volume and tone control
  • Telecaster-type bridge and tuners
  • Stainless steel pickguard
  • Includes gig bag and legs


  • Good price for beginners
  • Good quality of sound for a low-budget lap steel guitar
  • Sturdy and can take bumps and bruises
  • Simple to use


  • Not a lot of control over sound for more experienced players
  • The color might not be as aesthetic as other products.

Best For

Startup or beginner players looking to get an affordable lap steel-string guitar. Also good for intermediate or experienced players who wish to buy a lap steel string guitar to take on the road or for heavy-duty practice.

2. SX Lap 2 Ash Electric Lap Steel &#; Excellent for Beginners

The SX Lap 2 is another excellent choice for beginner lap steel guitar players.

This lap steel guitar is made out of American swamp ash and has a maple fretboard that goes up to 36 frets. It is full-sized and measures around 33 inches in length and weighs around 10 pounds.

Paired with a single-coil P90 pickup, the SX Lap 2&#;s tone is very bright and clear, which is an ideal place to start tone-wise.

Another great thing about the P90 is that it produces less hum than a normal single-coil pickup, which is a bonus.

The SX Lap 2 is also very simple to use since it has just one volume and tone control. It comes with a gig bag and foldable legs to alter between playing it in your lap or on a stand.

Both the SX Lap 2 and the Rogue RLS-1 are the best options for someone who wishes to get a pretty solid-sounding lap steel-string guitar without having to break the bank.

The same applies to more experienced players who are looking for a &#;practice&#; lap steel guitar to carry around.


  • American swamp ash body with a maple neck
  • Goes up to 36 frets
  • P90 Single-coil pickup
  • Diecast chrome tuners
  • Includes gig bag and legs


  • Low-budget option for beginners
  • Great sounding for its price
  • The finish is quite simple but nice


  • Tone is pretty bland and might not have enough versatility for experienced players

Best For

Beginner players who wish to start off somewhere where they don’t have to spend that much money but can still get a pretty good-sounding instrument.

3. Recording King RG Lap Steel &#; Proven and Affordable Lap Steel

Recording King has been on the market for a long time and has made a fantastic job at creating an entry-level lap steel guitar that has a good, consistent sound for a very affordable price.

The result? The Recording King RG

The Recording King RG is made out of solid mahogany, which is something you would not expect from a lower budget lap steel guitar.

This is probably the biggest asset this lap steel guitar has and it might be a deciding factor for you.

It also comes with metal button tuning machines and a perloid fretboard (which is quite pretty).

As for sound, this lap steel guitar comes with a Single EMG-Designed P90 pickup, which gives you a mid-range tone with clarity and presence.

Not a lot of control over tone but its natural sound is quite good and makes for an excellent beginner’s choice.


  • Solid Mahogany neck through body
  • P90 single-coil pickup
  • Perloid fretboard


  • Great sound for a low-budget lap steel guitar
  • Very resonant and with a lot of sustain
  • Easy to handle and great playability


  • Not a big fan of its aesthetics
  • Not a lot of control over tone

Best For

This one is an excellent choice for a beginner who wishes to get a lap steel guitar with a bit of a higher quality than all of the other entry-level choices. It is a good choice for an intermediate player as well.

4. Vorson SLE Professional Lap Steel &#; Great Mid-Tier Lap Steel

The Vorson SLE is one of the best lap steel guitars at a mid-range price out there.

The two main reasons are the wood used to build it and the tone versatility it has. This lap steel guitar is made out of solid mahogany, which is used both in the body and the neck.

This gives you a naturally warm tone that will improve as the wood ages over the years.

As for the electronics, the Vorson SLE is paired with two P90 pickups (one on the neck, one on the bridge) and a three-way toggle switch.

This gives you a lot of tonal options to choose from, making it a very versatile instrument.

Finally, the Vorson SLE is equipped with Vorson’s VSY active electronics (you’ll need 9V batteries). This gives you an exceptional tone with a lot of clarity and brightness.

This lap steel guitar is a fantastic option for intermediate players and the occasional beginner who wishes to start their lap steel guitar journey with a bang.


  • Solid Mahogany neck through body
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Two P90 pickups
  • Three-way toggle controls for tone knobs.
  • Includes padded gig bag, cable, 9V battery, and tone bar.


  • Great resonance that will improve over the years
  • Excellent, consistent tone.
  • It offers a lot of versatility sound-wise.
  • Added materials (gig bag, cable, battery, and tone bar) are a big plus


  • A bit on the expensive side, especially for beginners
  • Expert players might want a lap steel guitar with a richer tone

Best For

Intermediate players. Not really recommended for beginners who are unsure of whether they’ll stay with the instrument for long, as it is expensive.

5. Gretsch G Electromatic &#; Professional Quality Lap Steel

Gretsch is one of the most renowned manufacturers in the business.

Their quality build and their aesthetics make Gretsch guitars very recognizable and sought out for. The G Electromatic is professional, quality lap steel.

As most of the top tier lap steel guitars on this review, the G is made of a solid mahogany body and neck. This gives it a very nice tone, a lot of resonance, and sustain for days.

It’s important to mention that most of the hardware on this lap steel guitar is chrome-covered, which provides durability and a nice aesthetic.

Speaking of aesthetics, the G comes with either a tobacco sunburst or a black sparkle finish. Both finishes are quite beautiful and are a bonus to this lap steel guitar.

Tone-wise, it is paired with a chrome single-coil pickup that gives it brightness and presence.

This makes a good combo with the solid mahogany body and gives you a well-rounded sound. The G is a great-looking guitar with a very nice sound to it.


  • Solid Mahogany slab body
  • Single-coil pickup with tone and master volume controls
  • Chrome-covered tailpiece, bridge, and switch tip
  • Up to 28 frets


  • Great tone, sustain, and resonance.
  • Gretsch is a very reliable brand
  • Both tobacco sunburst and black sparkle finish are very aesthetic


  • A bit pricey, especially for beginners
  • Some people have complained the tone and volume knobs are too heavy and a bit hard to handle

Best For

Intermediate and experienced players. It is well suited for beginners as well if you are willing to invest in it.

6. Asher Guitars Electro Hawaiian &#; Best Quality for Experienced Players

Bill Asher is one of the most sought out Luthiers in the guitar and lap steel world. In he decided to set up his own company to manufacture some of the best sounding instruments.

Needless to say, the quality of the Electro Hawaiian is excellent in every possible way.

The Electro Hawaiian is a inch scale with 22 frets. The width of the frets is slightly larger than other lap steel guitars, giving the player more comfort to play.

As for the sound, this lap steel guitar comes with two sets of humbuckers. This allows you to have a myriad of sounds at your disposal and provides you with a lot of versatility.

It comes with a volume and a tone knob, along with a toggle switch to blend the tones of the humbuckers.

Guaranteed, this one is a bit higher in price-range and might not be your best option if you are just starting.

However, if you decide to commit to exploring the lap steel guitar world for a long time, you might save yourself some bucks by skipping the “trial phase” and going straight for a great-sounding instrument.


  • Solid mahogany neck and body
  • Paired with two humbuckers
  • Comes with a sturdy gig bag


  • Excellent quality and sound
  • Made out of solid wood, more sustain
  • A lot of versatility in your tone
  • Great playability and comfort


  • A bit higher price that other entries here

Best For

Intermediate or experienced players. However, it’s also a good option for beginners who know they will commit to exploring the instrument and wish to have a better quality instrument right from the beginning.

7. Gold Tone SM Weissenborn &#; The Ultimate For Hawaiian

Gold-Tone is one of the most sought out manufacturers and has been for a long time.

In addition, the Weissenborn is also one of the most famous lap steel guitars and for a good reason.

This lap steel guitar is not an electric guitar and is really only recommended for anyone who wishes to have that unique Hawaiian sound without focusing on other styles.

The quality of this instrument is incredible and the amount of detail given to this instrument makes it a top choice for anyone interested in getting a high-quality lap steel guitar.

Similar to the Vorson SLE, the Gold Tone SM Weissenborn is made out of a solid mahogany body, back, sides, and neck.

This will give you a warm consistent tone with a lot of sustain and resonance. Adding to its value, you will also get gold tuners and hardware to give this lap steel guitar very nice aesthetics.

Sound-wise, the Gold Tone SM Weissenborn offers a lot of warmth and sustain. Its tone is very much reflective of the Hawaiian sound, which is part of the whole vibe of this lap steel guitar.


  • Solid mahogany throughout
  • Beautiful finish and aesthetics
  • Great materials and hardware used on this instrument


  • Very rich, warm sound
  • Made out of solid wood with a lot of durabilities
  • Good playability


  • Somewhat expensive
  • No electronics to amplify
  • Not a lot of versatility in sound

Best For

Players who wish to dive deep into the Hawaiian and acoustic lap steel sound and are not looking for an electric lap steel guitar.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can you play a lap steel guitar like a normal guitar?

It is not possible to play a lap steel guitar like a normal guitar. To start, a lap steel guitar does not have frets, only markings. Also, lap steel guitars are made out of thicker strings so the friction of the tone bar does not damage them. Finally, the separation between the strings and the fretboard is larger to help you with the contact between the strings and the tone bar.

What is the difference between a pedal steel guitar and a lap steel guitar?

A pedal steel guitar will have pedals and levers that change the pitch of the notes. It is a more complicated instrument and will likely be more expensive as well. They also have different tunings. Pedal steels will usually be in E9 tuning, while lap steel guitars will usually be in C6 tuning.

Do lap steel guitars have frets?

Lap steel guitars do not have frets; they only have fret markings. This enables you to have a consistent, legato tone. It is possible to attain the same result with actual frets, but your touch has to be considerably lighter to contact with the frets. That is why having no frets is much easier. Lap steel guitars do have fret markings and serve as a reference to the player.

How do you tune a lap steel guitar?

Lap steel guitars have the same tuning process any guitar will have. The difference comes in the strings and the actual tuning. Lap steel guitars require higher gauge strings for them to sound well. As for tuning, lap steel guitars are not in standard tuning (E-A-D-G-B-E). Some tunings used for lap steel guitar are C6 tuning, Open G tuning, E9 tuning, etc.

What is the most common tuning for lap steel?

The most common tuning in a steel lap guitar is C6 tuning. A lap steel guitar will normally have the following tuning: C-E-G-A-C-E, low to high string. The reason it is called a 6 tuning is that you get a major triad with an added 6th. In the case of 8-string lap steel guitars, the tuning is as follows: A-C-E-G-A-C-E-G, low to high string.

Thanks For Reading

Still not convinced why you should pull the trigger and start learning on the lap steel?

You should then read my next post&#; &#;5 Reasons Why You Should Learn Lap Steel Guitar&#;

I explain how learning this quirky instrument can improve and transfer your skills to a regular 6 string electric guitar!

Gretsch Lap Steel Guitar - Meir Shitrit

Gretsch Guitars Electromatic Lap Steel Guitar

Recently I purchased the Electromatic Lap Steel Guitar by Gretsch Guitars. This is a mid range priced lap steel with a single-coil pickup.

I opened the box and quickly looked over the instrument. It looked and felt well put together. It did not feel cheap.

After examining the body of the instrument, I tuned the strings and plugged it in to see how it sounded.

I was pleasantly surprised how good this guitar sounds. I used a variety of settings and effects and it sounded great with a clean sound and also with distortion.

Another positive point is that you do not have to apply a lot of pressure to the slide. Sometimes with a lap steel not all the strings are perfectly even and you have to push down on the slide more, but this one was not like that. It worked very well and sound was easy to get from each string.

In addition, it did not go out of tune. I used this guitar for a couple of hours and it stayed perfectly in tune.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this guitar if you want to learn how to play lap steel. It is a great lap steel guitar for a beginner or advanced user.

The only real downside is that a case was not included. I had to buy that separately.

Here are the features of the guitar:

  • Chrome single coil pickup
  • Volume and tone controls
  • Chrome hardware
  • Art deco control plate

CLICK HERE to see this guitar in greater detail

Here are some of the latest lap steel guitars from Guitar Center:

Learning Lap Steel Guitar

If you are an absolute beginner to lap steel, a great product to help you get started is Learn To Play C6 Lap Steel Guitar &#; For Absolute Beginners by Joe Dochtermann.

Learn To Play C6 Lap Steel Guitar - For Absolute Beginners

The instructor Joe Dochtermann does a really good job going over the basics and tuning. Here is his site if you want to check it out: joedocmusic

To check out more info on lap steel guitars click here.

Sours: https://www.learnguitarcom/gretsch-guitars-electromatic-lap-steel-guitar-review/

Lap review gretsch steel

AuthorTopic:  GRETSCH LAP STEEL Gany good

Len Amaral


Post Posted 6 Sep pm    
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There is a fellow in my area selling a GRETSCH LAP STEEL G any good? Retails for $ and I can get it for $ It,s new so he says

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Steven Pearce

Port Orchard Washington, USA
Post Posted 6 Sep pm    
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That's my main working steel. Its the black metalflake. I did find a huge difference between the black/ and the sunburst as far as the bodies.
I played both first, the body on the black was considerably heavier. This gave it a much fuller sound without an amp.

The only problem is: the knobs are very heavy and the
plate they mount to is thin. The plate started to crack from some use. Soget lighter knobs.
Two thumbs up!

Len Amaral


Post Posted 7 Sep am    
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Thanks Steve:

I'll give the guitar a tryout this week. What amp are you using with your Gretsch lap steel?


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Steven Pearce

Port Orchard Washington, USA
Post Posted 7 Sep am    
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Ive been using Bass ampsall combos with a 15" spkr
I found the 15's with some lower frequencies really give you a big sound. The steel into a tuner, into Compressor/sustainer into digital delay, finally into reverb then to amp.

Our website has the songs from a new EP, no big deal but you can hear what I'm talking about.
Good luck, Lenny!

Karl Fehrenbach

Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 7 Sep am    
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Len, for $ you cannot go wrong. These reissued Gretsch lap steels are not bad for the money. I have two of them; the black metal flake and the burst. Both sound fine. I use the one in the band and have had no complaints. The hardware is OK and the pickup is very adequate. I also like the retro body shape. Some have complained about the raised pickup cover. It has never been an issue for me. I play it through a W ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox with the Lunchbox extension speaker, spread about 6 feet behind me. All the power I need and have no problem being heard with a drummer, a plugged in bass and an all tube lead guitar player and an electric banjo all in the mix. I would go for it.
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Terry Haggerty


New Brunswick, Canada
Post Posted 7 Sep am     Gretsch
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I purchased one a month ago while I slowly build a lap steel. For the price it's pretty goodall was ok except the plastic fretboard was warped and a few more screws won't make it flatonly affects the looks.

When I first played it it didn't sound good at allchanged the strings to a good set for c6 tuning and it now sounds good --to my ear.

I paid with no gig bag$ is good.

Good luck
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Jack Stepick


New Jersey, USA
Post Posted 7 Sep am     Gretsch Lap Steel
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Here's my original Electromatic Mainliner which the was copied from. It has a Valco pickup and sounds great.
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Len Amaral


Post Posted 7 Sep am    
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Hey guys, thanks for the input on this Gretsch lap steel. I will prbably remove the pickup cover and maybe install a few decorative screws.

I assume the strings go through the bridge plate? Anyone ever try drilling through the plate and put ferrals in the back like a Tele. I have a Peavey Power Slide I call the Franken Steel that I experiment with and plan on doing that to see what happens.

Thanks again,

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Steve Lipsey

Portland, Oregon, USA

Steven Pearce

Port Orchard Washington, USA

Erv Niehaus

Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 8 Sep am    
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Where did you get the roller nut?
I plan on doing just what you did.
I like that lever on the lower string, did you make the lever?
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Len Amaral


Post Posted 8 Sep am    
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Steve, nice job on the mods and I like the roller nut also. It's interesting when someone posts a question and you get ideas to expand on what your original thought was question was. This could become another Franken Steel project.
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Steve Lipsey

Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 8 Sep am    
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I was looking at the Multibender, thinking of getting a Pomona or Fairytale - the expensive steels they make - had a thread running on the Forum with questions about itbut then David Slack on the forum had seen the thread and hit me up about this beautyhe just switched to pedal steel and would sell it, which he did!

He got the Gretsch, and "added a custom roller nut made by Don Burrows that helps with the string breakage problem people hadWhen I order the multibender(from Rockinger) I got parts for an extra lever and fabricated a more ergonomic lever shape that is easier to use..Grover locking tuners"
_________________ &
Ben Bonham "CooderNator" thinline parlor electric reso w/Fishman & Lollar string-through
Ben Bonham "Resoborn" parlor acoustic reso with Weissenborn neck
Ben Bonham Style 3 Tricone., Oahu Diana, Oahu Parlor Squareneck

Len Amaral


Post Posted 11 Sep pm    
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Well, I traded a distortion pedal and a Harley Davidson guitar strap and got the Gretsch for even with a padded case. The fellow was very nice and said he had advertised it was only several months old but could not play it. He put guitar strings on it and it was not playable. The strings go through the body and it has grover type machine heads on it. I tried it out at my place and it sounded very nice but I will set it up with my strings and I also removed the tail piece.

Here she is:

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David Soreff


Hilo, HI
Post Posted 11 Sep pm    
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This was my very first steel guitar, and I enjoyed playing it, but eventually found the string spacing a tad tight for me. But that being said, it is still int he house and gets taken out now and then.
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Rick Langdon

North Carolina, USA
Post Posted 11 Sep pm    
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I'd say go for it I have this same one in metal flake and it is good for the price
-- Rick

Featured demo (played on Appalachian Reso):

-- Play on!!

Len Amaral


Post Posted 17 Sep pm    
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Update on the Gretsch lap steel. Pretty darn good! On a six string, I am used to Peavey Power Slides and I experiment with different tunings so more color to the lap steel party.
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Steven Pearce

Port Orchard Washington, USA
Post Posted 17 Sep pm    
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Hey Len
Your right, the Gretsch works pretty good.
I play in D tuning and started with lighter gauge strings~
From: 16 18 28 38 48
To: 18P 20P 28 38 48 60
The P next to the gauge stands for plain, or unwrapped Ernie Ball strings.
It's the same diameter, but lots stiffer and it made a huge difference in sound.
Oh yeah, different bar material is cool to mess around with. My stainless bar is bright, but for some stuff I use a glass bar that's a bit bigger diameter and its like rolling off some high end..
End Of My Report Mr. Green

Gretsch Lap Steel Guitar - Meir Shitrit

Gretsch Guitars G/ Lap Steel

Body ShapeOtherfeature-bodyShape[0]

Body TypeSolid Bodyfeature-bodyType[0]

Body WoodMahoganyfeature-bodyWood[0]3


Neck WoodMahoganyfeature-neckWood[0]18

Body ConstructionOne piece Body/Neckfeature-bodyConstruction[0]

Fingerboard MaterialPlasticfeature-fingerboardMaterial[0]

Number of Frets28feature-numberOfFrets[0]

Fingerboard InlaysCircle, Triangle, Square, Diamondfeature-fingerboardInlays[0]

String NutAluminumfeature-stringNut[0]

Nut Width"feature-nutWidth[0]

Number of Pickups1feature-numberOfPickups[0]44

Bridge Pickup TypeSingle Coilfeature-bridgePickupType[0]55





Neck JointOne Piece Body/Neckfeature-neckJoint[0]

Number of Strings6feature-numberOfStrings[0]


Scale Length/2''feature-scaleLength[0]



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