LAP STEELS! How much fun can one simple plank be? Well that depends on a few things but I’ll tell you this, a lap steel is like pizza – at its very worst it’s still pizza, I call that “Utility pizza.” I’ve eaten a LOT of pizza in my time on this rock and it’s very rare it has sucked to where I wouldn’t eat it. It’s pizza! If it’s cooked dough and sauce and melted cheese, how bad can it be? Simple joys are that way, and when done really right they’re pure bliss. That is a lap steel. Now add art and craft and mojo from there. I love these things.
A lap steel can have different numbers of strings and different tunings for different styles of music, but I like the ones that relate to the guitar – six strings and tuned to an open E chord. Lap steels trickle out of the Wingfeather Workshop, snuck in between the Birdsong basses and other instruments growing across the benches like a wood & wire garden. What we have here is my latest batch of Texas Lap Steel Co. steels. This is unusual to see a batch, and is a chance to grab one – if you’re interested, now’s the time. Everybody should have one of these things to play on.
I always wanted to build more and get them into small-batch crafting like the basses, but there’s only one of me and I’m so busy making Birdsongs I haven’t been able to. As Birdsong has attained flight over the past 13 plus years I’ve tried to help others get their own things going with a nudge, some work, some advice and a part of all of this they could take over as their own and go from there. I’ve got guitars, basses, steels, brands, ideas I’ll never get to… Birdsong is what flew, so that’s who I am now. Not just to you, but to me. My whole world is different than it was pre-Birdsong. Same path but further down the road. I wish some of these guys would have just plugged in and held their course, they’d have little companies of their own by now. But it’s not for everybody once they realize there’s no “trick” but endless lists of hard work, an ethic to stay on top of things, lots of numbers to deal with, and a belief that refuses to be shaken or taken. It’s not playing with stocks – YOU have to make what you sell, and YOU have to sell what you make. Then you find help, and then you help them. It’s really simple… but it’s not easy.
Well, batches of beautiful mojo-filled singing steels from the Texas Hill Country might bloom nearby shortly, as I’ve been working with a local woodworker who has been crafting his first few and they are really something. He’s really something. I’m hopeful to be able to tell you more soon on that as it develops. Meanwhile if you’d like one from the Wingfeather Workshop with all of that Birdsong mojo in it, here’s your chance! These are headed into finishing for layers of hand rubbed oil & wax, then they go together to sing in assembly. The first two pics are of steels that are available – a mahogany & maple 22-1/4” scale with inlays, and a 23” scale “Sweet Singer” model of Spanish cedar, spalted Texas pecan & bloodwood. The third is a client build of mesquite; the last is mine from Wimberley flood cypress. I pour every bit of love into these as I do the basses. Satisfaction guaranteed!
Slidin’ on into fall,
Listening to: Alice In Chains Alice In Chains; lots of Doug Raney; Dave Brubeck with Paul Desmond, and KUOZ Ozarks Radio on this amazing thing where you can spin the globe and tune in to radio everywhere: http://radio.garden/live/clarksville-ar/ozarks-radio-kuoz-100-5-fm-lp/ - I’ll be zoning out to this later, you can be sure of that.