Unlike a guitar, a lap steel guitar is placed horizontally on your lap. Instead of using fingers to pluck the strings, you use a metal bar like object (Also known as guitar slide) to press down on the strings, slide it around, which then produces sound.
I guess you can say it’s like using a capo for many guitar players in some way. Not the best analogy but I’m sure you get the idea.
Anyways, have you ever looked at someone playing the lap steel guitar from a distance? They literally look like someone who is playing around on a DJ controller or something.
Although a lap guitar is a fairly unique instrument, many popular bands occasionally used a lap steel guitar in their live performances. Mostly used in rock music and other sub-genres like bluegrass, country and Hawaiian music.
Just like guitars, there are different kinds of lap steel guitars as well.
Generally speaking, the most common and popular ones are electric and those are those are the lap guitars that we feature here.
By the way, you do need an amplifier to play these bad boys and a glass slide as well (Unless stated that it’s included).
Glass slides are pretty easy on most people’s wallets so it shouldn’t be that big of an issue.
#1 – Gretsch Electromatic Lap Steel Guitar
Better known as the the Gretsch G5715 electromatic lap steel guitar, next lap steel guitar it’s considered to be one of the best ones out there for beginners.
Especially if you’re just getting in the game and don’t want to invest too much. the Gretsch G5715Is a quality product on the ground and is a great starter lap steel guitar.
The plastic fretwood it comes with can use some improvement but overall, it’s a great beginner lap steel guitar.
Best part, this lap steel guitar is not too large and fits perfectly in most people’s lap.
#2 – Morrell JM Pro Poplar Body 6-String
The JM Pro by Morrell has a 3 octave fretboard which gives you a quite a decent range of sound.
These guys are considered the kings of the double bout guitar shape body.
Morrell has a very good reputation in the lap steel guitar world and this lap guitar just adds to it. Great choice for beginners and intermediates as well.
#3 – Rogue RLS-1 Lap Steel Guitar
If you like a sleek looking ‘Terminator’ style lap steel guitar, this one is for you. This Rogue RLS-1 Lap Steel Guitar comes with a stand and a bag as well.
Overall, the construction is solid, easy to tune and the final result (Sound) is quality as well. You might experience some “humming” noise when it’s turned on but to be honest, that depends on the the kind of amplifier you use.
All in all, a great product for beginners and intermediate players or someone who is just looking for a backup lap guitar.
#4 – SX Lap 2 Ash 3TS Electric Lap Steel Guitar
Might be one of the smaller one in sizes (Especially width wise) but that doesn’t take away anything from the nice sound at all.
The SX Lap 2 Ash 3TS Electric Lap Steel Guitar still is considered a full size guitar with 36 frets. Most likely it won’t be tuned when it arrives so don’t forget to hit it with a little EADGBE setting.
The SX lap produces great sound and is considered a workhorse by many people who own it.
Just be careful if you are planning to use it with an overdrive pedal or something as that may twist the sound a bit too much.
#5 – Vorson SL-100E Professional
This thing is a beauty and we’re not just talking about the looks here. The Vorson SL 100E Has received an overwhelmingly positive response. Especially for the first time buyer.
The Sound matches the look and the quality is well. If you prefer a slightly aggressive sound, you may really enjoy this lap guitar.
Although most people are really appreciate the quality of this guitar, there have been cases where the guitar has died in just three months.
If the Vorson gang can get a tighter grip on their shipping and handling practices , then I think they’ve got something really special here.
#6 – SX Lap 2 Ash NA Electric Lap Steel Guitar
If you’re a guitar player, you will most likely enjoy this lap guitar. The SX Lap Has no background or humming noise thus creating a clean quality sound all around.
Especially when you connect it to a half-decent amp. If there is something that requires improvement in this guitar, it would be the legs (Could be stronger).
However, they seem to work for most. The SX Lap 2 seems to be one of the best lap steel guitars for the first timer.
#7 – SX LAP 3 Black Lap Steel Guitar
Here you have another lap steel guitar that is considered a full size one thanks to it’s 36 frets. This one also comes with a bag and a glass slide.
This specific model is considered one of the most fun lap steel guitars out there. At least by many people who are now playing on it.
Although some do report replacing the stock pickup it comes with, overall it’s seems to be highly recommended for all levels of players.
#8 – Recording King RG-32-SN Lap Steel Guitar
Whether you are at a beginner or at an advanced level, this lap steel guitar just might do the trick.
Besides the obvious fact that it produces great sound and all, it also comes with it’s own cable.
Not sure why they don’t mention this in the description as it will only help their cause.
Bottom line, the Recording King RG 32 is a very well liked guitar by most. We say most most because some lap steel guitar enthusiasts did receive faulty products.
Hopefully you won’t.
#9 – Recording King Lap Steel Guitar
This lap steel guitar by Recording King (Yes that’s the brand name) is meant for people who are intermediates or have some prior experience with a lap steel guitar.
To really get the best out of this one, you need to make some adjustments.
Since the pick up is a tad bit too loud, you need to know how to tone it down to your own preference. Plus a few other things like that.
Unless you’re a DIY person, we would say there are other better choices for beginners.
Great sound and a quality product but we would like to see slight advanced users play with this one.
#10 – Gretsch G5700 Electromatic Lap Steel
Very similar to the 5715 model we discussed earlier. G5700 is pretty much the same thing. As long as it doesn’t arrive damaged, you should be good.
Anatomy of a Lap Steel Guitar
A lap steel guitar is literally like any other guitar. It has a fretboard, a body, a neck and pretty much everything you would expect from a electric guitar. Except two main things that usually stick out.
A tone knob and a volume knob.
Of course each lap steel guitar comes with it’s own bells and whistles but these two are pretty standard on most.
Controls the tonality of the lap steel guitar.
As you may have guessed, it controls the volume of the lap guitar.