Thinking About Giving Lap Steel a Go? These Four Essential Tips From Megan Lovell Will Help You Get Started

Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe performs on stage at the Rockefeller Music Hall on June 03, 2022 in Oslo, Norway.
(Image credit: Per Ole Hagen/Redferns)

“I definitely encourage guitarists to give lap steel a try,” Megan Lovell says when we suggest the possibility that many players are curious to try their hands on the instruments.

“We need more lap steel players out there!”

If the lap steel is calling out to you, Megan offers these four tips to help you put the metal to the strings

1. It Might Get Weird, But Don’t Let That Stop You

“Keep in mind that it can be awkward at first. There’s definitely a hump you have to get over, because you’re now fretting everything with one finger as opposed to four.

“But don’t let that discourage you.”

2. Go With What You Know

“One good way to start learning your way around is to try and transfer basic rock riffs that you’re already familiar with by ear, as opposed to immediately seeking out more traditional lap steel tunes.”

3. Try a Bar Rather Than a Slide

“I play with a bar (opens in new tab) as opposed to a slide because there’s more heft to the sound.

“The slide tends to give a nasally high-end tone, and you have to apply more pressure – whereas a bar just sits on the strings and kind of does the work for you.”

4. Give Open Tunings and Fingerpicks a Go

“I primarily use open-G tuning [low to high, G, B, D, G, B, D], which is what I was familiar with from playing Dobro

"I also use fingerpicks (opens in new tab) and a thumbpick (opens in new tab) like a banjo player would use. You can pick the strings with just your fingers, but I think you’d wear them out pretty quickly.

“Ultimately, do what feels right for you.”

Browse the Larkin Poe catalog here (opens in new tab).