lap_steel_Weissenborn


Acoustic Slide Guitars

Although my guitars are currently priced at the cheaper end of the scale, the quality and tone are of the highest standard. The price will go up as they become better known.

(email for prices)

My acoustic slide guitars are an original design. There are currently some Chinese made Weissenborns that have copied my sound holes and head design. But as they have not copied my bracing and other acoustic innovations, they sound like Chinese Weissenborns.

I am making slide guitars in two scale lengths:

Standard guitar scale is 644mm(25 3\8"), and the longer version is 683mm(almost 27"). The difference is relevant to what pitch you want to tune to.

The fixed bridge guitars have a huge sustain and full bass, especially suitable for solo playing. The differences between Cedar and Blackwood tops can be heard on the audio page.

Youtube of 683mm Blackwood and 644mm Cedar

Kolohe by Fernando Perez

I currently use Tasmanian Blackwood on my back, sides and head stock.

A floating bridge and tailpiece version of the guitar can be used in situations where higher string tension is desired, or for 8 strings like the guitar on the right.

The difference in sound with the floating bridge version is that the attack is slightly rounder but the sustain following the note is not as loud. This makes a sweet dynamic Maccaferri type sound.

Blackwood top floating bridge audio

Here is a page exploring guitar acoustics

 

The neck inlays are highly visible in peripheral vision which is very important during a performance. The multiple sound hole design allows the guitar to display a full 24 frets. I also find them better for recording than a round soundhole.
My standard tuners are these 16:1 oval button Gotoh SGMs (left) which are a great tuner and have never let me down. They can be upgraded to 18:1 Gotoh 510s for $40Aus.

There is a huge difference between the design I use, and the old slotted head design that is a nightmare to restring. My heads are not "slotted", rather, the ends of the rollers are exposed making string replacement easy. I have a page showing a secure and easy method for fitting the strings.

My heads are positioned so that pushing with the thumb (anti clockwise) tightens the string. This is the same direction as tuning a normal guitar. I mention this because slide guitars with the tuners upright, usually tune in reverse, which is a pain.

The 50mm/2in removable brass nut fits deep into a slot in the neck and is set for a string height of around 12mm. The strings are 9mm apart at the nut. The extra width helps when using the slide on individual strings.
My instruments are hand made in limited numbers which means that there is a waiting period. It also means that with proper care, they will last a lifetime.
The guitars are sent in a normal plywood guitar case with the accessory compartment removed.

More info and specs

Fret scale length - 644mm or 683mm.....Nut width - 50mm (8str 60mm)

Bridge and Pickup

The spacing at the bridge is 58mm between outside strings, a good fingerpicking size. This spacing is common on classical guitars but can be altered to suit. The undersaddle pickups that I use are a low profile high output piezo version that I make myself. I charge $80 aud to supply and fit it. These pickups need no boosting as they have more output than a strat. I do not fit preamps into the side of my guitars, as my instruments will long outlive any electronics.

Most mixers and most some guitar amps don't like ultra high impedance piezo pickups. Most modern FX pedals, or signal processors can handle high impedances, so using one between the guitar and the mixer is a good way to match the impedance.

Longer scale slide guitars

The only difference between my standard and long scale guitars is the extra length. If you want to use a C or D bass string, I recommend the long scale, as the extra length gives more power to the low tuned string. If you expect to tune the low string higher than D, I recommend the standard scale.

Strings and tunings

A good set of strings for slide is GHS Phosphor Bronze True Medium. (also available as cryogenic) The extra heavy top and bottom are good for DADF#AD tuning. This set of strings can also be tuned up a tone to EBEC#BE on my standard scale guitar without a problem. (Jeff Lang uses these strings in this tuning) This same set of strings works well on the long scale guitar for CGCEGC tuning. For G bluegrass tuning GBDGBD, you would have to use different strings as the low G would be too tight. To work out strings for various tunings you should use this chart or this string tension calculator.

The guitars are optimized to a string tension of around 70 to 80kgs. (150lbs) They will handle more tension than that, but dynamics will decrease as the tension starts to lock up the sound board. Although my guitars are stronger than most, you can still destroy them with excessive string tension by using the wrong strings for the tuning. Please use this chart as a guide.

Fingerboard markings

The large wood inlays on the fretboard are much more visible than the standard inlaid dots used on Weissenborns etc, but if you were to include all the frets that are marked on a normal guitar (3, 5, 7, 9, etc) the markings become useless because they look the same. After a lot of experimenting, I have found that just using 5, 7, 12 and their octaves is by far the easiest way to find your position. I can do added markers for those who really want them, but I can promise you that after a couple of weeks of using this system, you would understand why it has become my standard. You really don't need a marker to show you 3 frets above or below the octave and you can always use stickers while getting used to it.

lap_steel_Weissenborn