Just a week before the big to-do in San Mateo this year I whipped up a big lap steel instrument to have something for the kids to whomp on.
With fat solid steel strings, a neck cut out of a 2×4, and pegs that require a wrench to tune, I knew it would keep the kids busy with nothing to break. The original, above, had only two strings and the tin was flat so it barked quite a bit when the strings were plucked. There is a bit of me fiddling with the beastie at the beginning of the video from the Faire.
I had so much fun with it at the Maker Faire I decided to make some improvements when I got home.
The revamped instrument has a shaped tin body for better resonance and no bark, an 80cm scale, and four strings for more snaky slidey fun.
big pink lap steel from The Tinkers Damn on Vimeo.
Naturally this led right into building a baritone ukulele scale lap steel! That bit of fun will be in the next post.
Tinkers Damn spent two and a half days at the San Mateo Maker Faire this May. It was quite a hubbub once again.
For next year I will have to come up with some way to close up shop and take an hour break in the middle of the day.
The crowd can be overwhelming, but I still had a ball.
Yes, the young’uns were indeed obstreperous…
but many of them had a grand time picking out a tune.
The adults had a fine time as well. Here’s a short clip of me plucking the lap steel (more about that below) and playing “Freight Train” on old electric blue.
San Mateo MF 2015 from The Tinkers Damn on Vimeo.
There’s a slew more photos on Flickr if you just can’t get enough. As usual, many thanks to mrs. a-go-go for being the shutter bug. See you next year, San Mateo! Thanks for having us.
Regarding the lap steel, I whipped that monster up just a few days before the show. It is far from perfect but it gave me another durable instrument to put in front of the kids. It’s not much to play but I had fun with it and I swear I am going to revamp it soon. Stay tuned for a post on the lap steel’s rebirth! Maybe I can get some of the distortion out of it and put enough strings on to get some real steel fun out of it.