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Tune-o-matic Lapsteel?

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whats up pg,

I'm about to start on an electric lapsteel build (3rd build, 1st slide). I'm making it out of a single solid piece of maple with 2 mini HB and most likely a slotted peghead. I've almost got the entire master template set up already except i haven't decided on a bridge yet. I (being a poor college student) am on a tight budget and the only spare bridge i have is a wrap around tune-o-matic with individual adjusting saddles and a 12" radius(think its called a badass). I know that the strings of a lapsteel are suppose to be flat but would the combination of the bridge and a flat nut be sufficient, and would the slight compound radius really affect playability that much?

I've heard of people filing down the slots in the bridge to compensate for the radius but i'm afraid to do that as my metal files aren't up to par and i'm afraid of string breakage from a bad file job.

It should be noted that i'm doing this as a quick project just so i can have my art major friend paint something cool on it. I don't intend for it to functionally be a masterpiece but i do want a playable instrument i can learn slide on.


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If you're on a budget, and the expensive badass bridge will be a compromise anyway, why not make you're own bridge with a flat radius. Build it like an acoustic bridge. Without the worry of weight and stiffness that will affect acoustic performance, you can build it at whatever thickness you want to get the action you need.

Start by routing a 3mm wide slot in an offcut from your maple body wood and carve the offcut to a shape that compliments the body shape. A 3mm thick saddle blank can then be inserted and trimmed (even with some compensation if needed) to the flat radius that will be exactly what you want.

Good luck with the build.


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I don't remember where I saw it, but I remember seeing a lapsteel bridge made from aluminum round bar as well.

Check out Quarter's builds. Not anly are they awesome and worth seeing for that reason alone; he makes all his bridges that I can remember, typically from a round bar or rod, sometimes a piece of angle. You could just make a nut for that end as well for that matter.


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