Page 1 of 1

Planning a Lap Steel

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:08 pm
by Alain Lambert
I decided to try building a Lap Steel Guitar an I need some guidance. I never played or seen one except in photos, so I really need some experienced opinion.
I have read several forums and it seems that a string spacing of 3/8 is about right.
Is this 3/8 between strings or center to center? If center to center, this would give a 1 7/8 (48 mm) total string spacing at the nut and bridge.
I often see string spacing reported as 52,54, even 58 mm which does not match the above! Can someone clarify that for me please.

I am planing a scale length of 22.5 in. which I understand is easier for beginners.
I have a used pickup which have a string spacing of just under 2 in (50 mm) and would like to use that.

So far I am planning with the following dimensions
String spacing at the nut : 1 7/8"
String spacing at the bridge: 2 "
Scale length: 22.5"

Does that seems right?
Should I look for a wider pickup?

Thanks all

Re: Planning a Lap Steel

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:20 pm
by Peter Wilcox
Alain - I've made a couple of lap steels, a 6 string and an 8 string. I used 3/8" at the nut and 7/16" at the bridge for the 6 string, center to center (because that's the way my dobro is). That's a little wide for the pickups I used, but it works OK. I did 3/8" at the bridge and nut for the 8 string, and made my own pickup to fit.

Then I found this: ... gChart.pdf

Also some other very helpful stuff on the site: ... page5.html ... page9.html ... etPlan.pdf

It's an archived inactive site and I was just lucky to come across it.

Good luck with the lap steels - I'm going to try a few more.

Re: Planning a Lap Steel

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:52 am
by Alain Lambert
Thank you Peter, this is exactly what I need.
This will get me going!

Re: Planning a Lap Steel

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:29 pm
by Peter Wilcox
I'm glad I could help. Also, here's a link to photos of some beautiful lap steels made by Tom Pettingill, who sadly passed away last year. ... t=3&page=1

I don't know if one is able to view unsupported Photobucket pics any more, but you can install an app into your browser if necessary to be able to view them (which I've done). Explanation in this thread.

Re: Planning a Lap Steel

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:13 pm
by Alain Lambert
Wow, beautifull!