What’s the difference with a Lap Guitar? Tom Doughty explains.
What’s the difference with a Lap Guitar? Tom Doughty explains.


Hi, welcome to my introduction to playing the lap guitar. Or the lap slide guitar as it’s sometimes called. It looks like a regular guitar, but there are some fundamental differences here. Which, for my money anyway,
enable you to play a guitar if you’ve got very restricted hand movement. Or indeed, a bit like me, no finger movement whatsoever. If I pick up the guitar, one of the main differences is,
that the strings are a fair way off the finger board. This means you couldn’t play this guitar like an ordinary guitar and the reason for that is that the guitar is played with a solid bar, or in my case, a tube. Which touches the strings and varies the pitch infinitely. I’ll demonstrate. So I use a thing like this on my forefinger, and on a regular guitar if you play a note you can place a finger anywhere in the gap here between the frets. These pieces of metal here are called frets. You place your finger in between, and you get one increase in the note. And by one increase in the note I mean this. So just like a piano you get a step of the note. When you play guitar with a slide, you get this. You get this beautiful sound of a variable pitch. The pitch is the height of the note or the sound it produces. You can just get this great sound pouring off it when you get it right. So that’s one of the main differences. Also the guitar is tuned to what we call a chord, and in music
a chord is when notes are in some form of musical harmony. As the word suggests harmony means they all get on well. You can hear that, can’t you? They just fit together well. By having a guitar tuned to a chord we can develop the harmony,
we can develop melody. And because we’ve got this thing called a chord… I’ll explain the notes in a bit more detail later. Wherever we place the bar or the tube,
as long as you’re just straight in line with these frets, it will make another chord. It will do that all the way down to the bottom. And indeed if you could carry on further, you could play it right down here. The other thing that we’ve done on these guitars
is in order to tune the guitar, you always turn these things. These are called tuning pegs and we’ve inverted those so they’re sticking up the other way looking at you and very easy to get your fingers and hands to. Well that’s about it, that’s the difference between this guitar and a regular acoustic guitar, not really much. So this particular guitar is not a regular lap guitar or slide guitar. It’s a converted Spanish guitar with nylon strings. The reason for that is it’s very user friendly,
the strings are particularly soft and it’s very easy to learn to play on.

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