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Best Lap Steel Guitar In 2019 – Top 10 Rated Reviews

Lap steel guitars are solidbody guitars with guitar pickups which help to amplify sound. They are totally different from resonator guitars, by the way so you don’t get things mixed up.

Our article today will cover nearly everything you need to know about lap steel guitars and how to choose a good one for you.

Now, we understand that lap steel guitar players are extremely picky when it comes to their instruments. They highly depend on their lap steel guitars to deliver and that’s why we have a wide selection of 10 high quality lap steel guitars to select from.

We’re pretty sure you’ll find the right one for your needs here. If you’re new to lap steel guitars, there’s a buying guide to help you. Read through it and let it help you choose the best guitar for you.

Best Lap Steel Guitar

Top 10 Best Lap Steel Guitar In 2019 Reviews

NameBack/SidesAccessoriesFingerboardScale LengthWeight
Back/Sides
Sapele Mahogany
Accessories
Hardshell case
Fingerboard
Rosewood
Scale Length
Not specified
Weight
4 pounds
Back/Sides
Solid Mahogany
Accessories
Gig bag
Fingerboard
Not specified
Scale Length
25 inches
Weight
11 pounds
Back/Sides
American Swamp Ash Body
Accessories
Gig bag and stand
Fingerboard
Maple
Scale Length
22.75 inches
Weight
10.27 pounds
Back/Sides
Mahogany
Accessories
Gig bag with cable, and F-006 ToneBar
Fingerboard
Not specified
Scale Length
Not specified
Weight
9.25 pounds
Back/Sides
Hardwood
Accessories
Gig bag, and stand
Fingerboard
Not specified
Scale Length
Not specified
Weight
11.6 pounds
Back/Sides
Not specified
Accessories
Gig bag
Fingerboard
Not specified
Scale Length
Not specified
Weight
6 pounds
Back/Sides
Solid body
Accessories
Not specified
Fingerboard
Not specified
Scale Length
22.5 inches
Weight
6.67 pounds
Back/Sides
Laminate Mahogany
Accessories
Not specified
Fingerboard
Maple
Scale Length
Not specified
Weight
5.2 pounds
Back/Sides
Solid Mahogany
Accessories
Not specified
Fingerboard
Not specified
Scale Length
22.5 inches
Weight
25 pounds
Back/Sides
Solid Mahogany
Accessories
Gig bag, 2 sets of replacement strings
Fingerboard
Not specified
Scale Length
25 inches
Weight
11 pounds

1 Imperial Royal Hawaiian Weissenborn Style Lap Steel Guitar

We begin this review with the beautiful and outstanding Imperial Royal Hawaiian Weissenborn Style lap Steel Guitar. This beautiful steel guitar is notorious for its playability. Anyone who sits to play this will definitely know they’ve touched quality.

It’s great for everyone to play both beginner and advanced player. Well, except for the part that it is somewhat expensive which might put it out of the reach of the beginner or casual player. Other than that though, this guitar is an excellent choice for all players as long as they can afford it.

This is a Weissenborn style steel guitar that’s perfect for music production. It’s a sophisticated instrument from the looks of it. The materials and construction here show a more than decent level of quality.

The top of this guitar comes as Sapele Mahogany. Now, this wood choice is great as it sounds great and is also excellent quality. So, there is every assurance of durability and reliability here. The Imperial Royal Steel Guitar is a dependable instrument.

Plus, it looks traditional design and with its light weight, you’ll easily play this for hours at a time.

Now, it’s great that this comes with a pretty good preamp and pickup. Hence, you’ll find that you can plug this thing in when you need to wow the crowds. And the sound that comes pouring out of those things? Pure bliss!

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Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros
  • Tonewood is solid and durable.
  • Hardware is also durable.
  • Rich sound.
  • Lightweight guitar makes it easier to play for prolonged periods.
Cons
  • Electronics are just there. Not amazing.

2 Asher Electro Hawaiian Junior Lap Steel Guitar

Okay, we kick things up a notch with the Asher Electro Hawaiian Junior Lap Steel Guitar. This lap steel guitar is not everyone. It’s for those certain people who want an advanced level steel guitar with 6 strings. Also, for those who want an electric steel lap guitar as well.

If that’s what you’ve been raiding the market for, then you’ve got it in the Asher Electro Hawaiian Junior Lap Steel Guitar.

It might be called a junior guitar. But obviously, Asher has pretty high standards when it comes to its lap steel guitars, because this guitar is super well made with loads of features that left us in awe.

The ones we liked the most though are the humbucking pickups. They sound heavenly! And it’s not just about how this pickups pump out beautiful sounds. It’s about they also give a noiseless sounding experience.

And guess what? These pickups can also give your sound a much heavier and harder sound than you might expect from a lap steel. Nonetheless, clarity here is still on point. We found the sound quality of this guitar to be super clear with a real beautiful resonance too.

Alright, the price is not so amazing as it comes a bit high end. However, if you consider this an investment, it might help you look at this guitar with better lenses.

Lastly, we also love the fact that this guitar is easily playable by players of any level.

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Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros
  • Electronics are high quality and super easy to use.
  • Sound is rich!
  • Comes with some accessories.
Cons
  • Tuners aren’t so great.
  • Might be a bit out of reach for beginners.

3 SX Lap 2 Ash NA Electric Lap Steel Guitar

The very first thing you notice about this guitar is its sweet price. It comes at a sub-$200 price tag which is more than encouraging for any beginner to take the step. Even casual players who want to take the leap into lap steel will hardly flinch at the price of this.

Next thing you immediately notice about this guitar is that this steel guitar looks good. It comes in a satin finish that’s so nicely done. Anyone who owns this will definitely be proud to whip it out anywhere. The grain of the wood too is also pretty good too.

As you’d expect this quality of wood impacts on sound as this guitar sounds really beautiful.  And the electronics here? Sweet! The price really makes it feel like the brand just wanted to do a giveaway. The electronics are quiet and they throw out some pretty great sound too.

Of course we’re saying this in relation to price. However, the fact that the pickup here (which is a single coil, by the way) isn’t as loud as other high end ones or as quiet isn’t a deal breaker for us. This is, after all, a sub-$200 lap steel.

Hardware is pretty good quality too. Tuners and all are durable and really easy to use.

Sound quality is also awesome, the sustain here is a beautiful.

Sure, this lap steel comes with a few drawbacks. But for this price, we think we’ll take it!

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Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros
  • Decent price.
  • Great looks.
  • Great for beginners.
  • Quiet electronics.
Cons
  • You’d have to change out the strings.
  • Legs might be a bit difficult to fix.

4 Vorson SL-100E Professional Straight Lap Steel Pack

Alright, now it’s time for the Vorson SL-100E Professional Straight Lap Steel Pack. This is a moderately priced instrument at a sub-$400 price. It’s neither too expensive nor too low end either. It’s a nice compromise if you’re not completely sure you want to try the lap steel but you still want quality.

Now, to be honest, for the price, we think Vorson could have done a lot better with this guitar. But that’s not to say that this guitar is terrible. In fact, far from that. it does pretty good, we just wish the manufacturers had made a little more effort.

Okay, so, that’s settled. This guitar plays well and the sound is also pretty good too. Well, you should expect that from a mahogany body. It’s a sweet-sounding guitar. And the quality of wood Vorson uses here should also assure you of reliability as well.

We found the electronics to be quite good. There two FP-90’s here which here single-coil pickups. So, expect a bit of a hum. But besides that, we like the versatility of the setup. Vorson makes it such that you are able to switch between both pickups to select the one per time – bridge or neck pickup.

Beginners and casual players will find this particular lap steel really easy to learn with. So, if you belong to that category, you could check this guitar out.

Okay, time for the somewhat ugly part. Well, we did find during our research that there were a couple of complaints about Vorson’s quality control on this instrument. So, you might want to find out about that. Make sure you purchase with a warranty just in case the one that gets to you isn’t great.

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Our rating:3.3 out of 5 stars (3.3 / 5)

Pros
  • Easy to play.
  • Decent pickups with selector switch.
  • Sounds sweet.
  • Comes with a couple of accessories
Cons
  • A couple of quality control issues.

5 Rogue RLS-1 Lap Steel Guitar

Once again, we have another budget lap steel on review today. It sells for less than $150, and still comes with legs and a gig bag to boot! Beginners and casual players, you might want to sit up for this one.

The Rogue RLS-1 is a gorgeous instrument. You know the way we talk about the “lady in red”, well, here’s the lap steel in red. Actually, it comes in a metallic red finish which gives this guitar its standout looks. This lap steel will stand out on stage and anywhere else.

Okay, gorgeousness aside, you can depend on this guitar. The build quality is solid and every part of it looks to be well made by the manufacturers. Plus, it’s compact and lightweight enough for you to move around without stress. Now, thanks to the gig bag here, toting is even much easier.

Now, if a small size bothers you playability wise, then you need not worry. This still plays good.

Rogue got it right in the sound department of the Rogue RLS-1 Lap Steel Guitar. This guitar will definitely hold its own even among higher end guitars. The electronics are also quite good, bearing in mind that they are single-coil pickups. So, yeah, the sound from this guitar will impress you.

There were a few hardware complaints from customers about this guitar. Nevertheless, other aspects of this guitar are great.

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Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros
  • Sounds good.
  • Looks gorgeous.
  • Solid build.
  • Small size, light weight, with gig bag for easy toting.
  • Good electronics.
  • Comfortable to play.
Cons
  • Stand isn’t great.
  • Tuners are a bit unreliable.

6 Peavey Power Slide

The Peavey Power Slide looks really sophisticated. We’ve just seen a bold metallic red lap steel. But now, we review a more high end looking guitar – the Peavey Power Slide. Even the name tells you to expect something out of the box from this instrument.

Peavey is not a newb in business as you know. It might be more popular for its speakers, however, this brand brings a touch of excellence to any product it creates. A good example is its Peavey Power Slide.

This is an electric slide which is especially great for the rock and blues genres. However, you could also get it to work for country music as well.

It’s super easy to learn with and also super comfy to play on too. Beginners and advanced players alike will find that they can keep playing this for long without getting tired fast, thanks to its light weight.

We love how this lap steel sounds, especially in the tone department too. Peavey obviously got a lot of things right here. And then the electronics too are great. It’s awesome being able to switch from single coil to humbucking with just one coil knob. That’s really cool.

Also, the slidebar is quite good too, although some players might consider replacing with a solid metal bar for a cleaner sound. Other than that, though this is a great sounding lap steel.

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Our rating:3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Pros
  • Great bang for your buck.
  • Great sound.
  • Easy to play for players of any level.
  • Great looks.
Cons
  • Slidebar isn’t great quality. Consider replacing.

7 Airline Lap Steel Guitar

The Airline Lap Steel Guitar is a great lap steel choice with a moderate price. It’s not super affordable, but it’s not super high end either. Let’s just say many beginners would really pause to think before deciding to go for this guitar for the sake of price.

That said, it’s a great guitar, and it comes well-recommended by many lap steel tutors. The instrument is playable with a great sound too. Plus, its light weight makes it comfortable enough for beginners to achieve long hours of practice with it.

It’s a hot-rail humbucker here, talking about electronics, of course. So, you should expect minimum hum from this guitar. Instead, the pickup pumps sufficient power in the volume department.

Other reasons we like this lap steel are its clear tone and, of course, its looks.

Finally, the Airline Lap Steel is a great looking instrument. The red color is quite attractive, making it something anyone would be proud to own.

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Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros
  • Great sound.
  • Great electronics.
  • Easy to play.
  • Looks good.
Cons
  • No accessories.

8 Gold Tone LM Weissenborn Steel Guitar

The Gold Tone MM Weissenborn Steel Guitar is one of the best lap steels you can ever come across. It’s just a teeny bit more expensive than the last guitar we reviewed. However, the increase in price is quite justified.

First off, it’s a beautiful instrument, and we love how the manufacturers design the instrument to what it looks like right now. The lap steel carries the beauty and character of Hawaiian gutars.

Next, with a flowing body and a thick neck, this guitar fits nicely onto your lap. This makes playing easier and more comfortable. In fact, being so lightweight, you will have this in your lap for several hours without necessarily feeling tired.

The sound, of course is superb, and that’s plenty thanks to Gold Tone’s choice of tonewood. The solid mahogany at the top, back, and sides make this instrument feel solid. Plus, it also gives this guitar a truly mesmerizing sound.

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Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros
  • Sound is rich.
  • Construction and tonewood are excellent quality.
  • Durable lap steel.
Cons
  • Tuners could be better.
  • A bit pricey.

9 Gretsch Electromatic Lap Steel Guitar

Coming from a well respected brand in the industry – Gretsch – this lap steel is already doing well in our books. First, it looks striking in its black sparkle color which makes the instrument look pretty interesting. It actually has a sparkly shine to it!

Moreover, this is solid mahogany right here. So, you can trust that the quality of tone this lap steel will be producing will blow minds. The tone is clean, clear and rich thanks to the high quality tonewood Gretsch used here.

Also, because construction is excellent, this instrument also comes quite durable. It will last several years of use except you’re intentionally trying to destroy it. Seriously, it’s that durable.

The pickup is also quite good. It’s a single-coil, and yeah it might hum a bit. But nonetheless, it still works pretty good.

For one, it gives your sound a certain brightness and twang to it.

All in all, it’s a great lap steel and the fact that it comes from Gretsch makes us even more confident about the product.

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Our rating:3.4 out of 5 stars (3.4 / 5)

Pros
  • Comes with a gorgeous finish.
  • Solidly built and will last really long.
  • Pickup gives a somewhat twangy, and bright sound.
Cons
  • Some customers might prefer a more down-to-earth, classic finish.

10 Asher Guitars and Lap Steels Trans Cherry

Lastly, we take a lot at another Asher lap steel, this time, the Asher Guitars and Lap Steels Trans Cherry. It’s another good looking instrument that people won’t be able to take their eyes off. And to make a good thing even better, this lap steel feels just right on your lap. So, you can play for as long as you like.

With a solid mahogany construction, there’s little to fear. You’ll enjoy the tone of the guitar when you begin playing its strings. Also, you’ll definitely find this a really dependable and reliable instrument. The gig bag will also help to protect it even more from accidental scratches and what not.

Now, this guitar is a tad bit pricey but one thing is sure, you will hardly find a better sounding model. The sound is superior and the electronics are amazing. The 2 humbuckers here are so quiet and yet they pack so much power and volume, you’ll be thrilled.

Now, with the package of the Asher Guitars and Lap Steels Trans Cherry, you also get a gig bag, along with replacement strings. This is great news, don’t you think?

We know beginners might not exactly find this guitar enticing due to price. But then again, as long as they can afford it, they will find this easy to play. We agree though that experienced players might be more open to the suggestion of investing in this than beginners or casual players.

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Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros
  • Rich sound.
  • Excellent electronics.
  • Comes with accessories.
  • High quality construction.
Cons
  • High end.

Best Lap Steel Guitar Buying Guide

In our introduction, we explained what lap steel guitars are. Now, we want to show you how to spot a good lap steel guitar from a mile away.

Get Ready To Spend The Little Extra For Quality

A lot of people for the sake of cost decide to go for a sub-par steel guitar. It turned out to be a terrible mistake at the end of the day as they had to keep trading up and then spending more.

If you listen to experienced players, they’d tell you to go for the highest quality you can afford even as a beginner. Now, the truth is that, even besides durability, a high quality guitar also comes with improved playability.

Go For A Semi-production Steel Guitar

Semi-production guitars do not cost as much, however, they still pack a good level of quality. We’ll try to explain what we mean by that shortly.

Usually, manufacturers use an automated process known as Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) machinery for some of their processes. Such processes include stamping, sawing, machining and the likes.

Now, an automated process is best for such processes as it is more accurate, consistent, and most importantly, more cost-efficient.

Lap Steel Guitar

Plus, with automated processes, manufacturers are able to produce identical parts that fit precisely without having to modify.

In the end, due to the cost effectiveness of the process, you spend less while getting high quality. And if you still want to, you can get a craftsman to customize your guitar for you.

So they will take the instrument in parts and have it buffed, finished, and assembled. They will also install the electronics, pedal/knee lever setup, as well as the mechanics.

Choose Good, Stable Tonewoods

You want to go for properly seasoned woods when choosing a steel guitar. Bear in mind that once wood is sawed, it begins to shrink and moisture content also drops. If you don’t season sufficiently therefore, it won’t sound great when you use it for your guitar.

Your wood of choice must boast great strength and rigidity. You know it’s a good tonewood when it produces a clear tone when vibrating. A good example is hardrock maple. It gives a nice balance between a great tone and rigidity.

Now, besides the wood, you also want to check out the construction. Whatever happens, manufacturers must make sure to maintain the moisture content of the wood used for the guitar. So, in other news, the wood must be properly sealed to avoid variations from weather changes.

Choose Good Electronics

You really don’t want your guitar humming and buzzing and that’s why you need to insist on good quality electronics. That is, quiet ones.

In this case, your best bet are humbucking pickups. They are the quietest. However, they also beef up signals so your tone comes out fatter.

There are other options such as the double coil and split-coil/tapped coil pickups too.

 Lap Steel Guitar Reviews

Single coil pickups tend to peak in the high midrange. Plus, they also sound quite bright too. They are best for situations where you need a quick attack.

Double-coil pickups, on the other hand, peak in the lower midrange.

As for split-coil pickups, those are a bit out of fad now.

Look Out For Action, Playability, And Comfort

The knee levers and pedals of your guitar must be responsive, quick, and should feel good too. You might want to play the guitar immediately you get it so you can make sure of that.

Also check out the height to see if you’ll be comfortable playing the guitar for long periods at a time.

Again, about the knee levers… You want to be sure that they are as far apart as necessary so there’s no accidental triggering of any lever.

Look Out For Tone And Sustain

What might be a good tone for one might not cut it for the other. So, you want to make sure that you like what you hear when you play your guitar.

Also, check for balance, clarity, separation, as well as the sustain across the strings and above and below the 12th fret.

There are several factors that affect the quality of sustain you get from your steel guitar. Some of them include:

  • Materials used.
  • Method in which the makers mounted the different parts of the guitar to the cabinet.
  • Density and grain of cabinet wood.
  • String type.

Now, if the makers of your guitar do not properly center the pickup under the strings, and it’s too close to the strings, sustain could come out bad.

Conclusion

The best lap steel guitar on our review today is the Asher Electro Hawaiian Junior Lap Steel Guitar. In our opinion, this is the best lap steel guitar you can possibly get right now. It is somewhat expensive, no doubt but it will deliver on that quality of tone and sound you want. Plus, the electronics are great!

However, for the best all-rounder instrument (i.e. it does great everywhere even in price), we’ll give it to the Imperial Royal Hawaiian Weissenborn Style Lap Steel Guitar. It’s not as great as our winner, at least not to us, but it still does quite well. In fact, it does more than just “well”.

Best Lap Steel Guitar In 2019 – Top 10 Rated Reviews
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