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Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar Strings

Complete sets are listed in the sections below. Individual Hawaiian lap steel guitar strings can be found in the Single Strings section.
GHS Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar Strings
John Pearse® Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar Strings
Hawaiian lap steel guitar strings are available in many different tunings. We carry string sets designed for G, High bass G, D, Am, Am6, Am7, C6 and C7 tunings. These sets will work on Hawaiian lap steels, some table steels and some pedal steel guitars. Hawaiian lap steel guitar strings are designed to be used only on steel guitars. The tunings these sets use could cause irreparable damage if installed on a standard guitar and tuned to pitch.

What sets lap steel guitars apart from Spanish style guitars is that the action is intentionally set very high (about ½ inch). They are designed to be played with a “steel” or slide. Most players lay these guitars flat on their lap, on a table, or on a specially made stand. Most lap steel guitars are designed to be played flat and have necks that are so strongly reinforced (and usually square cornered) that they are impossible to play sideways on the knee, in the Spanish style.

Hawaiian lap steel guitars are played in a unique manner. Rather than fretting a note (which is impossible due to the high action) the player uses a metal slide (steel/tone bar) to “fret” the strings. It is the same process as playing an acoustic or electric Spanish guitar with a slide. Since they are designed entirely for slide playing (which renders standard chords impossible to play, Hawaiian lap steel string sets are available in many different open tunings.

Many Hawaiian lap steel guitars were manufactured by Weissenborn in California in the 1920s and 1930s. These instruments have extended bodies that reach all the way up and behind the neck to the headstock. These are sometimes called hollow neck lap steels. Others resemble most standard guitars in most outward features, but have a strongly reinforced square neck. Electric lap steels are in effect all body, with the “fretboard” mounted directly to the solid wood body of the guitar. These guitars are suitable for extremely high tunings that would destroy the neck of a conventionally constructed guitar.

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