I bought myself a lap-steel guitar from eBay, so that I can play Country & Western, Country Swing and Bluegrass. I have no idea how to play the bloody thing, and I’ve just realized that I also need an amplifier, lead and tuner if I’m to make any real progress. This is going to be an expensive hobby, but in a couple of years I think I’ll be fully immersed in the hillbilly lifestyle, having changed my name to Billy Bob, moved to the Appalacian Mountains, grown a mullet, started sleeping with my cousin Bessie Jean, and taken to wandering round with a hog under one arm and a flagon of moonshine uinder the other. Personally, I can’t wait.


  1. Strange, cos most people called Billy Bob buy the guitar so that they can learn how to play and then get talent spotted in the local spit-and-sawdust bar, and move to the city, where they’ll get a real job so they can afford to drink something other than moonshine.

    They only buy a steel one so they can hit the squealing pig over the head on the way out of town.

    • Leave it to a city boy to be dumber than a stump. Without a doubt the smoothest liquor I’ve ever drank was some moonshine an old boy living in Arkansas had cooked up. He put great care and pride into making his shine.150 proof and went down smooth as silk. If you were lucky enough for him to sell you a little it was by no means cheap. I’ve put all kinds of store bought alcohol into my system and regardless of price none could even come close to comparing with that Arkansas shine. I’m not even gonna get into discussing music or lap steels with your dumb ass.

  2. Yep, I’m doing it backwards.

  3. You got caught up in a little bid flurry at 10.36 BST, didn’t you. We’ve all been there, son. Still, now you’ve got your novelty instrument, move west. u no it mek sens

  4. If you’re gonna start sleeping with Bessie Jean, you’re gonna havta kick her father out of the bed first.

  5. I live in Nashville. Professionals, suburban moms with their SUVs, goths and skate punks own steel guitars here. Perfectly safe for you non-hillbilly types. Enjoy!

  6. How’s the slide playing going? I make a living playing lap slide guitar (the acoustic version of lap steel), and can offer a few tips.

    You’ve probably discovered this by now–for playing by yourself, Open D (D A D F# A D) gives a full and versatile sound, much more so than either version of Open G. You can alternate your thumb on the 4th & 6th strings, giving you a “D” drone, and pick out melodies on the treble strings. You can hear some examples of this on my website,

    A lap slide player I’d highly recommend listening to is Kelly Joe Phelps, a big influence on my own playing. His albums “Shine Eyed Mr. Zen” and “Roll Away the Stone” are desert island discs for lap slide players. Also, there are some great instructional videos by Homespun ( I’ve got some by Kelly Joe, and Catfish Keith (a great bottleneck slide player)–high quality stuff.

  7. I play lap steel a bit, I have mined tuned in A

  8. Hope things are pickin up for you. I’ve seen a lot of suggestions for open D and G, but If your going for that weepy country sound try the E 9th that ralph Mooney(merle haggard Waylon Jennings) uses. For 6 string lap just use the highest strings(low to high) E F# G# B E G# using strings gauged from .030-.012 . Steel tears, hoss, steel tears thanks for the blog

  9. Hey keep up the hard work. It pays off if you stick to it. I play lap steel on a Gold Tone resonator tuned to an open E. I added a nut raiser to it so I would stop bumping into the fret board. The tone I get is amazing,

    By the way, just because you play steel don’t mean you have to play country! I play some very rough sounding Blues on mine.

  10. Hi there!
    Boy you sure know how to live! Moonshine an all! case your interested I live on a yacht in Gladstone Australia and built myself a Weissenborn lap steel slide guitar from Australian Maple..I was so damned pleased I wrote a book called How to build a Weissenborn guitar ( sensible title) and drew up a plan and built a website called wher y’all can go and listen to the sound clip of me good self playing this guitar
    Moonshine makes it sound all the dmn better ( well t’me it does!)
    Cheers now
    be good

  11. Hey guys,
    Please advise on how to play the chords in open D tuning 9 on an acoustic lapslide.
    All the best

  12. Ooops !
    Just open D tuning,, not that 9

  13. I’m still a beginner on the great lap steel and there are a huge amount of different tunings one could use. Bluegrass players seem to use a G-based (open G or G6) tuning on their dobros, in country or western swing style playing I’ve found a C6 tuning quite usefull. It allows also the forming of minor chords. For a bluesier approach an open E or E9 works nice.