Friday, December 15, 2006

Sliding Into Christmas

I know, the last post was especially obnoxious since it gave nothing and it took from you the one thing in this life that you can't ever get enough of...chocolate. No wait, I mean time. I stole a few seconds of time...but not from many of you, after all. From less than a dozen or so, in fact, according to my site meter, but nevertheless. Well, sorry about that.

And now, by way of abrupt transition, this.

I happen to know what one of my Christmas gifts is and it is totally, unbelievably great. I know what it is because I got to pick it out. My beloved wife is giving me this:

This is an Artisan EA-1 Lap Steel Guitar. But it is not just any lap steel guitar. It is this great blue color, first of all, and then there's the really cool part: It is autographed by Robert Randolph. He is the burning hot, brilliant young blues rock steel player that you may have seen and heard as recently as last night on Late Night with David Letterman.

Here is a closeup:

The previous owner won it in a radio station promo contest, and decided to sell it. I've been wanting one of these for a while, but this one is especially nice.

Lap steel guitars are simple instruments and not typically expensive. The EA-1 is a basic model, but completely usable in a performance setting. It is a 6-string instrument, usually tuned to an open tuning, and is equipped with one single-coil pickup. It is played by moving a slide up and down the strings with the left hand while the right hand, equipped with a thumbpick and 2 or 3 fingerpicks, strums and picks. The slide is, in my case, a Dunlop stainless steel bar designed for this purpose. The instrument lays flat in one's lap, or can be mounted on the supplied telescoping legs to adjust it to standing level, if preferred.

The lap steel is adaptable to many different styles of music, but its roots lie in the country blues traditions. Depending on how it is played and amplified, its tone can be a restless blues wail, a deep-throated rock-and-roll snarl, a gentle, plaintive country moan, or a sweet, velvety gospel tenor. The slide action of the left hand makes it an especially intuitive, expressive instrument.

In accordance with the common laws of Western Civilization, I do not get possession of this gem until Christmas Day, which is as it should be. But I can scarcely contain my excitement. It is going to be some serious FUN!


Evan Agee said...

Very cool indeed! I had a chance to play a lap steel once but I wasn't a guitarist yet and didn't quite have the appreciation I would later gain for this instrument. That will be a lot of fun!

Sharon said...


Heather said...

Too cool!

Rick Lee said...

I love Robert Randolph. Very cool.