New lap steel
by on January 9, 2011 in Recent Activity

I have a new custom lap steel currently under construction. If you’re interested in its progress you can view it on designer Todd Plummer’s blog at

Since around 1988 I have been playing a very odd beat-up old lap steel guitar, with no brand name and some features that I don’t see on other guitars. I bought it from my friend Jaron Lanier, a respected technology pundit and skilled multi-instrumentalist. After hot-roding it with a deMarzio pickup (thanks to Bill Richardson) I’ve had an instrument that finds its way on almost every recording I have made since. I started realizing that I would have a very hard time replacing this quirky beast if something happened to it. Hence I began thinking about the features I need for a guitar, which I can’t find elsewhere.

I tracked down Todd Plumber through a network of luthiers, and he expressed enthusiasm about tackling a design as unusual as this. (He also builds custom drums, percussion, furniture and more.) The features most important to me included a narrow straight neck to allow easy gliss playing, a sustainiac driver to augment my usual eBow, solid legs for stability, a quality high-gain humbucking pickup, and a coated fingerboard surface that allows me to scribble microtonal jottings with wax pencil or Sharpie and later erase them if needed. Not a typical pawn-shop feature list. So… we’ll see what takes shape! I’m looking forward to featuring this new instrument on upcoming projects.

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