10 Best Lap Steel Guitars To Buy In 2020 | In-Depth Reviews

If you are a musician, you already understand that learning music is a journey. And the good thing is that this journey never ends, unless (of course) you do not want to explore those elite levels.

While playing the guitar, for instance, you can explore different styles and genres – from classical, contemporary, jazz, country, blues, and many others out there. But, sometimes, if you are the curious type, you know that sticking to one method of playing can be tedious. Therefore, it is wise that you try out other guitar models.

One of the most common models guitarists explore is the lap steel guitar. As the name suggests, players place the guitar on their laps. You then use a tone bar or slide steel to create amazing licks. 

 But for you to become a good lap steel guitar player, buying a lap steel guitar comes at a price. It can also be challenging to learn. But with the right motivation, you will start seeing fruits as you continue to master this instrument. 

Another thing you have to consider is finding the best one for your needs. There are so many types of lap steel guitars in the market. We did our research to find out what was the best lap steel guitar in the market.

Our efforts were fruitful as we were able to find different ones for diverse players’ needs. We considered instruments that could suit your budget, playing levels and every other need you may have.

So, here are the ten best lap steel guitars in the market.

best lap steel guitars

Top 10 Best Lap Steel Guitars 2020

1. SX Lap 2 Ash NA Electric Lap Steel Guitar – Best Lap Steel Guitars For Beginners

SX Lap 2 lap steel is probably one of the best brands you will meet in this niche. It comes with great additions that most of the other guitars lack. And with the numerous reviews online, this is a must-have instrument.

Save money on the extras

Other than the guitar, this instrument comes with extra gifts from SX. The first thing you are going to receive is the stand. Stands are suitable for players that feel comfortable playing the lap steel while standing. Nevertheless, if you love the traditional way of playing it, by sitting down, then you can detach the stand anytime.

Also, the manufacturer provides a carry bag. The bag has robust padding to keep your accessories and the guitar secure. It also has various compartments, which also have added paddings.

Uncompromised construction

The SX lap 2 comes with solid construction. Players who have this guitar will be sure to play it for a very long.

Primarily, SX LAP 2 Ash is a full-size guitar with up to 36 frets to provide adequate room to soloing. It also comprises of swamp ash body, diecast chrome tuners at the headstock, and fretboard that is pure maple.

Tweak things to your preference

You can be sure that you will be getting decent sound quality for your instruments. It comes with a volume and tonal control for this purpose.

Also, if you want to change the position of the strings, the saddle and bridge are adjustable.

Pros
  • Solid-body for long use
  • Chrome hardware for the controls and tuning pegs are also durable
  • Open to different tunings, though it comes with a standard D tuning for rockers
  • Pickup sound and intonation is balanced
Cons
  • Not for expert

2. Rogue RLS-1 Lap Steel Guitar

Second, on our list is the Rogue RLS-1 lap steel guitar. The RLS-1 is a vintage-style electric lap steel guitar, and you are sure to save some money with this guitar.

Resilient build

If you are a guitar player who would love to switch to playing lap steel, this instrument offers you an excellent place to start. The RLS-1 comes with a vintage style and a robust body to assure players of durability.

The body and neck consist of hardwood. Its neck also comes with position markers, which guide you through as you slide along the fretboard.

Other physical characteristics on this guitar include diecast chrome pegs, volume, tonal controls, and a single-coil pickup.

Ideal for most different genres

As long as you have a proper pedal, the RLS- 1 is the perfect gift for country, blues, and Hawaiian music players. The guitar is also tunable to any standard lap steel tuning.

Get more than what you pay

With the lap steel guitar, you will be getting more for the price. It comes with legs, which are adjustable in terms of height, a gig bag for portability, and a slide. So, you do not have to save money to buy these accessories later; the guitar manufacturer provides you with that.

Pros
  • Suitable for different playing styles
  • Strong and durable
  • Legs have adjustable height
  • Ideal for beginners and experts
Cons
  • Some buyers complain that the lap steel guitar does not stay in tune

3. Gretsch Electromatic Lap Steel Guitar

If you want to enjoy coming up with great bluesy licks, then the Gretsch Electromatic lap steel guitar is the right instrument for you.

Vintage vibe

The instrument has a robust construction with the chrome hardware, art deco control plate, single-coil pickup, which comprises of chrome, as well as chrome volume and sound controls. 

On the fretboard, you will find unique markings, which guide you while playing. Beginners can also take advantage of these markings while learning.

Decent sound

Apart from a vintage and classic appeal, the lap steel offers excellent sounds for the player. You can use it for your blues licks, Hawaiian solos, and any other genres. Buyers appreciate the fact that the guitar does not produce any buzz sounds or unusual noises.

They also say that guitar will stay in tune for a long time. Therefore, perfect for live performances.

Extra room for accessories

Although the manufacturer does not provide any accessories with this lap steel guitar, you can add legs to it. Note, however, this guitar is ideal for players who love to place the guitar on their laps.

Pros
  • Provides you with rich tones
  • Chrome construction is durable
  • Ideal for both beginners and elite players
  • Stays in tune for long
Cons
  • Plastic fretboard bends easily

4. SX LAP 8 NAT 8 String Lap Steel Guitar

For any guitarist, the best gift you can give them is a guitar that allows them to express their personality in their music. SX LAP 8 is an example of such a guitar. It comes with supplemental characteristics that will give any player the joy he or she deserves.

Built with precision

The SX LAP 8 is an eight-string guitar. Although you might feel like you do not need the two extra strings, both of them play a significant role in your solos. They also provide additional tonality, which is an essential for most players.

Apart from that, you will notice that the strings are wide apart. Hence, you will not be hitting the wrong notes during performance or practice sessions.

Excellent quality on the body

Compared to alder bodies, ash is an excellent hardwood for any guitar. The SX LAP 8 comes with an ash body, which provides the needed tonality. You can be sure that the lap steel guitar sounds profound because of this.

Also, on the body, you will find a pickup cover, volume, and tonal controls, the adjustable bridge and saddle, and the pickup itself. These parts work together to provide the quality tones that any professional would like to hear from an instrument.

Balanced for everyone

The lap steel might seem intimidating to some, but it is not. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned player, this instrument is worth a try. Additionally, this guitar is perfect for blues, rock, Hawaiian tunes, country, and the Western Swing.

One factor that players consider when buying lap steels is comfort. And this is what the eight-

String guitar promises. You can play it while seated; alternately, you can attach the detachable stand, which the manufacture provides.

Pros
  • The fretboard consists of 36 frets
  • Adapts to most playing styles
  • Comes with diecast chrome tuners
  • Widely spaced strings for smooth movement
Cons
  • Can be a bit intimidating for beginners, but they should get the hang of it with time

5.  Gold Tone SM Weissenborn Style Hawaiian Steel Guitar

The joy of any player is to get an instrument that will not require them to adjust anything. Gold Tone SM lap steel guitar gives you the pleasure to have fun with your instrument immediately you unbox it.

Play it anywhere

Acoustic guitars facilitate portability and the freedom to play it anywhere you like. The guitar features a hollow body, which contributes to sound and the tone of a traditional Hawaiian steel guitar. You also do not require any amplification whatsoever to play this instrument.

Other than that, this instrument has a solid mahogany top, sides, and back. Hence, you have a durable guitar with you.

Quality fabrication

The most notable feature of the Gold Tune SM lap steel guitar is its hollow neck. Its design adds to its appeal and ensures that you are comfortable playing the guitar as it lies on your laps. Other qualities include a gloss finish, fret markers, gold plated tuners, and a maple fingerboard.

Stays in tune

Primarily, this guitar is playable immediately you unbox it. The tuning stays intact, which means your practice sessions, whether alone or with a band, are uninterrupted.

Because this is an acoustic lap steel guitar, it fits perfectly into any setting, even when you are out in the wild. During a performance, you can amplify the sound using a pickup or a microphone.

The instrument is also playable by any lap steel player, whether professional or amateur. It also adapts to any playing style, including the Hawaiian style, ideally.

Pros
  • Acoustic lap steel for almost all settings
  • The best instrument for practicing
  • Sounds great
  • It is lightweight
  • The hollow body provides rich tones without any amplification
Cons
  • You have to purchase the carry bag separately

6. Recording King RG-32-SN Lap Steel Guitar

At first glance, you might confuse this steel guitar with a traveling guitar, but it is not. The Recording King RG-32 lap steel provides beginners with a good starting point.

Everything about this guitar is exceptional

Fundamentally, the manufacturer built this guitar with the beginner in mind. However, its construction is exceptional and something that all professionals would like to have.

The body features a mahogany top with an Alnico P-90 pickup and two volume and tonal controls. At the far end, you will find a durable headstock with open geared tuning pegs. These types of tuners facilitate easy tuning and make the guitar lightweight. You can change them if you do not like them, though.

Built for country and blues

For guitarists who love to play blues and country music, this lap steel guitar is what you should use. It comes with light strings, and with the various tonal variations available on the controls, you can tweak it to find what fits you most.

Furthermore, the guitar stays in tune and sounds great. You also will not experience issues exploring the fret, although some players say that the strings might be too close to each other.

Your next performance

When preparing for your next gig, the RG-32 is the instrument you should carry. It is portable, and the manufacturer provides a gig bag for easy transportation. You will also receive a cable for the guitar.

Besides that, this lap steel guitar works well with any amplifier, as long as you know how to equalize it to provide the best tones to express yourself.

Pros
  • Portable
  • Open geared tuners make the guitar lighter
  • Fret markers for beginners
  • A great instrument for blues and country music
  • Robust when it comes to construction
Cons
  • The strings are too close to each other

7. Vorson LT-230-8 TB 8-String Lap Steel Guitar

Most elite players will tell you that any eight-string lap steel instrument provides extra space under your tone bar. That means you can explore different chord variations, inversions, and tones when soloing. When you hear the Vorson LT-230 play, you will experience all these benefits in this steel guitar.

Why people love it

First, the compact design is what makes it look amazing. Its body comprises of solid mahogany and maple top, the neck is rosewood, and the headstock is maple. All these qualities enhance its appeal and durability that any instrument needs.

Apart from that, it comes with well-spaced strings. Meaning, you will not run into the wrong notes when playing.

For elite players

Eight-string guitars can be quite intimidating for amateur players. However, there is no harm if you want to try to feel how an eight-string instrument would sound.

But elite players will appreciate the sound and effect this guitar brings to the table. The music is uncompromised and full. And for seasoned players, this is an excellent characteristic, especially for studio sessions and practices.

Save money on accessories

On purchase, the manufacturer provides a padded gig bag for optimum security. You will also receive a tone bar and a cable to connect with your amplifier.

By the way, if you do not like the blue version, you can get the lap steel guitar in different color variations.

Pros
  • Superior sound provided by the eight-string master pickup
  • Well-spaced strings
  • Durable construction
Cons
  • Frets are improperly marked

8. SX LAP 3 Black Lap Steel Guitar

If you are on a tight budget, looking for a lap steel that sounds like the higher end models should be your goal. With this SX LAP 3 lap steel guitar, you are sure that you will be saving a lot, and receiving a gift worth more than its price.

Lightweight but uncompromised

Although this guitar is lightweight, the manufacturer uses quality materials for its construction. To start with, the guitar comprises of a basswood body. This makes it lighter but the wood ensures that the guitar sounds better. 

Other than that, the guitar comprises of 6 strings and 36 frets. Hence, the player feels great sliding across the fingerboard.

Top-notch sound

For players who are sensitive with the sound quality produced by any instrument, this LAP 3 is not a failure. With its tonewood body, and single-coil pickups, you can be sure that the sound produced is high quality, clear and bright. 

Likewise, the lap steel guitar produces exceptional sounds in a studio setup, a live performance, or when practicing at home. 

Suitable for beginners

Beginners who want to feel excellent when playing a lap steel should try out the guitar. It comes with a padded bag, a glass slide; hence, you do not have to waste time and money looking for these things. By the way, the guitar is ready to play once you unbox it. 

Pros
  • Full tones
  • Ideal for different genres
  • Space between the strings is fantastic
  • The guitar is lightweight
  • Adequate string spacing at the bridge
Cons
  • Tonewood is good but there should be improvements on this

9. Epiphone Electar CENTURY “1939” Lap Steel Guitar

With the Epiphone Electar Century 1939 steel guitar, you get all the inspiration any lap steel player would love to get when practicing or during live performances. You can be sure that this guitar was made with the beginner and elite players in mind.

Its appealing side

The lap steel, though vintage, will take you back to 1939, but the construction qualities say otherwise. It has an appealing steel design. Both the body and the neck comprise of solid mahogany, and it has 3-in-line tuners. At the headstock, you will find circus tent knobs, which make the instrument a bit lighter.

Its fretboard provides 20 frets, but you can be sure that these divisions are adequate for starters or for a player who is polishing his or her skills. You will also notice that the fretboards come with added graphics, including the brand’s logo, to inspire the player to play more.

Delivers the sound you like

The lap steel gives you the freedom to train your musical ear since it provides the player with exceptional sound qualities. You can also explore different variations using the volume and tonal controls present on its body. Note that the pickup will capture each sound from the high notes to the lower ones.

Pros
  • Appealing fretboard
  • Sounds great for different genres
  • Lightweight and portable
  • A great instrument for live performances and recordings
Cons
  • Some players dislike the strings since they do not fit the E tuning

10. Peavey 6 String Lap Steel Guitar

The Peavey 6 string lap steel guitar is an excellent addition to your arsenal of stringed instruments. It comes with a great body shape with extra contours. Therefore, you can play while seated, standing, or any other position you prefer.

Modern design

Unlike other steel guitars that copy the traditional design, this manufacturer thought out of the box since the lap steel guitar design resembles that of a rock guitar. The basswood neck also makes the guitar light. You will feel comfortable, especially when you play the instrument for a long time.

At the top of the body, you will find a multipoint strap system, which facilitates easy playability when standing.

Enjoy bright sounds

The Peavey 6 string is useful in blues and country music. However, you can change the strings to accommodate different other genres, such as rock, Hawaiian, and any other style that would sound nice with a lap steel guitar.

Note that magnet loaded pickups enhance the sound. You can tweak the sounds it produces using the volume and the tonal control available.

Suitable for beginners and experts

Because of its unique characteristics, this guitar offers full sound qualities for both professionals and beginners. The guitar has an ergonomic style to ensure that you are comfortable playing both horizontally and vertically.

Pros
  • Modern design provides the guitar with a professional look
  • Ergonomically for different playing positions
  • Adapts to different genres
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • The frets are fewer
  • You may need to change the strings

Best Lap Steel Guitars Buying Guide

While you explore the world of music, it’s normal to desire to try out new things and styles. One of the instruments I would recommend you to try is the lap steel guitars.

You’ll typically hear them being used in blues or even Hawaiian music. These guitars use the same principles as the guitar, and if you are a seasoned guitar player, you shouldn’t have a problem transitioning to these guitars.

As the lap steel guitars evolve, newer models come into the market, and choosing the best one for your needs can be quite a task. Therefore, today, we will show you what you should consider when buying your first lap steel guitar.

best lap steel guitars buying guide

How much are you willing to spend?

In music, money dictates the kind of instrument you should buy. If your budget is super low, you will get a beginner instrument. That can be good for learning your skill. On the other hand, Elite players go for premium guitars simply because of the quality they bring in different setups.

When you come to the world of lap steel guitars, there’s nothing different. Fortunately, most of these guitars in the market don’t cost much. But for you to get a good lap steel guitar, you’ll have to invest some good money.

You can save money, though

How do you do it? You may ask.

Take note of some of the gears you need to get started. If you have a pedal, whether digital or analog, you are good to go. However, for a start, you may only need a volume pedal for the effects, tuner, and the compressor pedals.

Also, if you’re a player who likes to play while standing, get a lap steel guitar model that comes with a stand. It should be sturdy and should be adjustable height-wise. Get to know if you’ll get a padded gig bag, a tone bar, and fingerpicks within the bundle.

Check the structure of the lap steel

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. We meet many buyers who have to return their guitar because they didn’t get what they wanted. Therefore, it’s essential to examine the entire structure of the guitar.

Start by checking the type of materials used to make it. Materials such as mahogany and wood ash are strong and durable. If you’re a beginner, go for a lap steel guitar with a simple design for student-learner purposes. The guitar should have fret markers, and it should be ready to play out of the box.

If you like playing the lap steel while it rests on your laps, it’s okay. But make sure that it’s light enough. The finish on the guitar should be superb to keep the guitar from hurting your knees.

Oh, and before I forget, don’t go for a guitar that looks boring. Most of these lap steel guitars have a vintage vibe on them. Nevertheless, they are super modern. Look for recent models. Older versions can be quite stubborn when it comes to maintenance.

Sound-wise

You should look forward to answering several questions here.

Number one: does it sound good?

Two, does it adapt to different tunings?

And three, is the lap steel guitar versatile enough to adapt to different playing styles?

If it qualifies on these three factors after putting it to the test, place your order immediately. You can check out different reviews online to see what experts say about particular models. Note what features they highlight on each guitar. And when they test it, listen to how the guitar sounds.

Elite players can be quite sensitive when it comes to the sound of the guitar. Take your time. And my advice to your musicians is to check out different models. Don’t ignore any. We found out that there were smaller brands, which produced some of the best lap steel guitars in the market.

In conclusion

Finding the best lap steel guitar depends on how well you consider the above factors. If you can answer the above questions, nothing will confuse you. On the other hand, take your time.

Once you buy it, take your time to learn it. You may have to think differently since the lap steel guitar setup is quite different from the usual electric guitar.

Final Words

As you can see from this list, most manufacturers do not provide accessories that you will need when you are buying a lap steel guitar. The most common accessory you may only find a gig bag. Hence, if you find a vendor that provides accessories such as a tone bar, you should take advantage of that, especially if you want to save some money.

Overall, be wise in your selection. Consider choosing a lap steel guitar that will not frustrate you and one that will serve you for a while.

From the list above, we have highlighted the best lap steels in the market. But in our opinion, the SX Lap 2 Ash NA Electric Lap Steel Guitar remains the best one, yet. It has an excellent structure, and it is durable. Additionally, you can be sure that as you save money, this guitar will provide the sound qualities that you need as a beginner and a professional as well.

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