I’M NOT A SLIDE PLAYER, BUT WHEN I do play slide, I play lap-style. Something about it makes it easier for me to play in tune, I like the ability to do bar slants, and it certainly is in keeping with my neverending quest to be more like Rob Ickes. I dug the look and the vibe of the Peavey Power Slide the first second I saw it—a lapsteel that you don’t have to play on your lap. This slick slide machine can also be played standing up—either vertically or horizontally—with the included Y-strap.
With a body that reminds me a little of the awesome Guild X-79 (Rossington-Collins, baby!), the Power Slide is built for rock as much as any other style. The body’s swooping lines are echoed in the neck and peghead cosmetics as well. The big slug pole pieces in the single humbucker are almost the same size as the dot inlays, adding up to a cool look.
I tuned the Power Slide to Dobro G (G, B, D, G, B, D low to high), plugged it into an Electroplex Rocket 22, and got my slide on. To cut right to the chase, this thing is a blast to play and it sounds great. The pickup has a great blend of throaty power and jangly definition. At full volume I was able to get everything from “In My Time of Dying” crying to “Bad Motor Scooter” roar. At first I thought the single pickup might limit my tonal options, but then I discovered Peavey’s “coil-cut tone pot with treble bleed circuit.” This is a beautifully voiced control that lets you go from humbucker to single-coil, or anywhere in between. Where some humbuckers can get thin sounding when split, this one sounds sweet and round. Between the Volume knob and this coil-cut feature, I could easily get a big range of tones out of this thing.
In the recording studio, it’s hard to describe how much vibe this instrument brings to a song. Again, because my slide chops are somewhat lacking, I can’t carry an entire tune with it. But as an overdubbing secret weapon, I absolutely love it. Spooky glisses, delay-soaked ascensions, trippy vibratoed chords—it’s hard not to use it on every track. Admittedly, these are things you can do on pretty much any lap-steel, but those other laps don’t have the Power Slide’s tone.
What you can’t do with most lap-steels is walk around on stage with them. With the proprietary strap, the Power Slide becomes a cool live tool. It balances well and the design keeps most of the playing surface to the left, where you need it. I found most of the real estate past the 12th fret marker to be difficult to access, however, and I couldn’t really do bar slants in that register. I wish the neck was even further out to the left, although sliding around in the first octave is great.
Some of us remember the Melobar, which blazed a similar trail many decades ago. But the Power Slide brings the concept of a lap-less lap-steel to the masses. At this price, I can’t see guitarists who are looking for inspiring new sounds not adding one of these to their collection. Dang!
CONTACT Peavey; peavey.com
MODEL Power Slide
PRICE $399 retail/$199 street
NUT WIDTH 2 1/8"
TUNERS Kluson-style vintage tuners
BRIDGE Chrome-plated steel
PICKUPS Single high-output splittable humbucker with ceramic bar magnet
CONTROLS Volume, Tone with coil-cut and treble-bleed circuit
FACTORY STRINGS Peavey .013-.053
WEIGHT 5.56 lbs
BUILT (country of origin) China
KUDOS Versatile design. Great tones. Unbelievable price.
CONCERNS Difficult to access entire playing range when standing.