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LAPSTEEL: Pickups and Pedals? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 18th September 2011
Gear Head

LAPSTEEL: Pickups and Pedals?

Hey gang,

I recently purchased a recording king Lapsteel as a "project lapsteel." I plan on puting on some grover tuning heads, a BG Pups vintage p90, and a better bridge.

My question is; what type of pickup do you prefer in a lapsteel, and what type of pedals do you like to use with it?

I'm thinking a volume pedal and possibly an EHX Cathedral reverb could work nicely, maybe even my memory man for some cool spacey sounds.

Just curious!

Old 18th September 2011
Registered User
You can do so many things with a lap steel - I'm thinking of getting a one custom made.

I recently listened to George Harrison's Cloud Nine album which Jeff Lynn produced, and I appreciated the strong compression on the steel stuff. As much as I love the atmospheric stuff, with volume pedal and delay/reverb, it's also nice to hear that Beatle'y dryer, smashed sound.

Just about anything you can do with an electric guitar, you can do with a steel. So wah pedals, rotary speakers - there's no limit.

So maybe this won't appeal to you, but I would tend to use a Line6 Pod HD... the floor versions would give you everything you need, from Volume, Wah, through to all the amp colors and all the FX you could wish for ...

Is this for live or recording? For live, a Pod would cover it. For recording - no reason not to use a Pod, but it might be better used to find your basic sound, and that could then inform your choice of analog gear.

For example - if using the Pod you discovered your perfect sound was an MXR compressor into a Crybaby wah into a modulated analog delay ... then you know what analog pedals to buy should you want to perfect that sound.
Old 18th September 2011
Registered User
You mentioned pickups ... as much as I like the sound of P90's, I tend to struggle with EMI issues. If building a custom lap steel, I would fit an EMG tele neck pickup. EMG themselves state that this is their best sounding one, and it gets used in things like Chapman stick etc. I like the relative immunity from noise, and being low-z you can run straight into a high end preamp.

I wouldn't use a pedal reverb. I would use my Bricasti in the mix. But if you are looking at pedal reverbs, the Line6 reverbs stack up quite well - the spring models are rather good.

I expect to be universally condemned for daring to suggest Line6 and EMG. Clearly I am tone deaf and have no soul. I just know what works for me.
Old 18th September 2011
Lives for gear

I can't remember where I've seen this but I think there are pickup makers who are making noiseless P90's. I think a P90 in a lap steel is awesome. If its already been routed for a P90 sized p'up then that's the direction I would move - noiseless or true single coil.

Old 19th September 2011
Mr Kinman is doing a Noiseless P90... The YT clips I heard seem good, for clips, but I have no hands on experience.
Old 19th September 2011
Registered User
Originally Posted by Vogon View Post
Mr Kinman is doing a Noiseless P90... The YT clips I heard seem good, for clips, but I have no hands on experience.

Coool ... I have Kinman pups in my strat, and love them. Alnico seems to be necessary for good pickup tone ...

Didn't know he had made a P90 ... this probably changes my preference.
Old 19th September 2011
Yes, I like my Woodstocks.

If you do get the Hx90 please let us know how it turned out.

The other option, is the Lace PS905, which whilst it isn't a strict, perfect p-90, is supposed to be very interesting in it's own right.
I gotta say I quite like Mr Lace's Sensors...
Old 15th October 2011
Gear Head

Old 15th October 2011
Lives for gear
doncaparker's Avatar

I picked up a cheap Recording King lap steel (the mahogany guitar-shaped one with the slotted peghead) and replaced all of the electronics. I used a Seymour Duncan humbucking version of a P90 (P-90 Stack), because I didn't want to deal with the noise issues. It works really well and sounds great. The only noise I deal with comes from bad playing, which is my own fault, not the instrument's.

If you are going to do what I did, I do recommend changing out the rest of the electronic components. These are really cheap guitars, and that's where the cheapness shows itself most.

I actually don't think the tuners are all that bad, so I've kept the originals on there.
Old 15th October 2011
Gear Addict

Try Jerry Wallace True Tone pickups. Single coil. Yea, a little noisy but that's what you give up for tone. Also, Kinman does make some great noiseless pups. Had one in a Tele.
I have an MSA Super Slide 8 string lap steel and a 10 string Eharp and I use a Fulltone Clyde wah (a wah is mandatory for lap steel), a Fulltone OCD, a Fulltone Deja Vibe, a Jangle Box compressor, a Line 6 Delay Modeler, Boss CH1 chorus pedal, amongst others but those are the main ones. Also a volume pedal is needed to do those swells.
My amp is a Mesa Express 5-25 and also a Fender Deluxe Reverb. Not at the same time although that would be cool. I'm into a bluesy sound in my playing. Lap steel is sooooo much fun. I'm a keyboard player primarily but I've been bitten hard by the world of slide. Be forwarned - Very Addicting!
Old 15th April 2012
Gear Head


I doubt anyone will see this but whatever.

Have my setup complete:

Modded recording king lapsteel, Roland re-301, Boss dd-2, boss cs-2, Ernie ball volume jr, all going through my ac15. I also like to use the ac-15's spring reverb.

Top it all off with a Lapdawg tonebar and a c6 tuning. Hot damn!
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