Frequently used in genres like Hawaiian, Americana, blues, country, and folk music – the lap steel guitar is one of the most rich-sounding instruments available in the market.
Mastering this guitar offers you a vast range of tonal choices to either create unique music or simply have fun with it.
Whether you’re just starting out, or a professional searching to get the best model for you, there’s a lap steel guitar out there that will match your needs.
In this article, we review the best lap steel guitars at different price levels to help you find the perfect one. Let’s dive right in!
1. Rogue RLS-1
Rogue’s guitars are known for their commendable structure strength, low prices, and easy functionality. If you’re a beginner, starting out with this instrument would be great for you! Plus, it has an eye-catching appearance and a metallic red finish that further enhances its aesthetic appeal.
Equipped with a single-coil pickup, the Rogue RLS-1 has a bright, crisp tone with a slight bit of twang. The instrument is also fairly easy to handle. Having just one tone and one volume control, you can modify your sound in a swift yet effective manner. The fretboard even features Roman numeral marking to help you learn where the notes are located.
As long as you have the right pedal, the RLS-1 is the perfect choice for blues, Hawaiian, and country music genres. The guitar is also tunable to any standard lap steel tuning.
The guitar also comes with legs, which are adjustable in terms of height, a gig bag for portability, along with a slide. Thus, you don’t need to save money to purchase these accessories later because the manufacturers are going to provide you with that.
2. Gretsch G5700 Electromatic Lap Steel Guitar
The Gretsch G5700 Electromatic is nearly four times the price of the Rogue RLS-1. Yes, that’s true! So, what do you get if you make this sort of investment?
It is surely a guitar that stands out from the rest. The shape of this guitar is quite similar to the Rogue; however, the subtle shaping gives it more of a conventional guitar vibe.
The Gretsch G5700 is available in two amazing finishes. The black sparkle has a unique disco touch, with glittering silver dots on a black background. On the other hand, you can opt for the tobacco sunburst for a classic look. Both options have mahogany back for optimal resistance. The fixed bridge is constructed using chrome-plated cast zinc. The control plate has a unique Art Deco style shape, with volume and tone controls. The single-coil pickup gives a clear and bright tone, and there is no excessive humming.
The instrument is 34.5 inches long and weighs a little above 5 pounds. It’s quite easy to play and simple to retune and string as well.
The guitar has got a deep tonal range and produces the most amazing sound when you plugged in. The size is smaller than other beginner basses, which makes it easier to play for people who have small hands.
However, you do need to watch out for the fretboard with this one. We have come across a few cases where it has not laid entirely flat against the neck. If this is hampering your playing experience, you can simply remove the fretboard and glue it back into position. It is a bit difficult and time-consuming, but it will work out.
Whether you want to make this upgrade or not, you will be getting a great guitar. If you don’t mind spending the money, this is an excellent choice.
3. SX LAP 8 NAT 8 String Lap Steel Guitar
For any musician, the best instrument is one that allows them to express their personality. The SX LAP 8 is such an instrument. It comes with a supplemental characteristic that offers players the joy they deserve.
The SX LAP 8 is an 8-string guitar. Even though you might feel like you don’t need the additional two strings, both of them play a major role in your solos. They even offer extra tonality, which is important for most players.
Besides that, you are going to notice that the strings are widely spaced. Thus, you won’t be hitting the wrong notes while performing or during practice sessions. Moreover, the SX LAP 8 features an ash body that offers the required tonality.
The lap steel guitar might seem intimidating to some, but it’s not. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, this guitar is surely worth a try. In addition, this guitar is perfect for rock, country, blues, Hawaiian tunes, and Western Swing.
4. Imperial Royal Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar Limited Edition
Imperial guitars are known for their excellent playability and robust wood structure. It is surely a dependable name in the market, and you can rely on it for durability and quality.
The Royal Hawaiian Lap Steel guitar is an amazing option for people who are ready to pay a hefty amount of money for responsive performance, high durability, and incredible quality.
The guitar features a unique design and a body that’s curated to produce a rich and fuller sound. Its top is built with sapele mahogany, whereas the back and sides are constructed with laminated Sapele. Moreover, the neck, top, and back have rope binding in typical Weissenborn style.
In addition, it comes with a rosewood bridge and fingerboard. Other specifications entail tuners with ebony buttons and an extraordinary pickup system. It includes a customized carry case with added depth for the best fit.
Try out this instrument for a joyful playing experience accompanied by an improved tone.
5. Vorson SL-100E
The Vorson SL-100E is surely one of the top lap steel guitars at a mid-tier price available in the market.
The two primary factors are the wood used to construct it and the versatility in the tone that it offers. This guitar is constructed using robust mahogany, which is used both in the neck and the body. This produces a naturally warm tone that is going to improve with time.
When it comes to electronics, the guitar is equipped with two P90 pickups along with a 3-way toggle switch. This offers you plenty of tonal choices to pick from, making it an incredibly versatile instrument.
Last but not least, the Vorson SL-100E features Vorson’s VSY-01 active electronics. This offers you a brilliant tone with plenty of brightness and clarity.
All in all, this lap steel guitar is an amazing choice for mid-level players and maybe even beginners who want to kickstart their lap steel guitar playing journey!
Last Few Words
We hope our review of the best lap steel guitars in the market has helped you in your search. Whether you are on a tight budget or are ready to splurge some money, there are some fantastic options out there.
Out top pick is the incredible Rogue RLS-1. It sounds and looks amazing and offers unmatchable value for money. You will even get a very nice carrying case along with a set of legs included in the price.
But no matter which one you pick, we hope you get to play and enjoy your new lap steel guitar very soon!