Bob Tuttle Steel Guitar

Lap Steel Project

I began with two nice pieces of Honduran mahogany.

This is a project I started back in 2003. I began with two nice pieces of Honduran mahogany, two inches thick. I made a paper pattern of the body shape and the neck shape, then traced the outline of each onto the boards.

A friend of mine cut them out on his bandsaw. I tried to make the size and shape of the guitar close to that of a Rickenbacher bakelite steel guitar.

For the fretboard I used another piece of mahogany.  I measured off the fret spacing, sawed the slots and glued in strips of light colored wood.  The dot markers are made from wood dowel.

The nut and bridge I made out of aluminum using a hacksaw, a couple of files, lots of sanding and polished them with a cloth buffing wheel on a bench grinder.

The pickguard is made from plexiglass, painted  black on the back side.  The pickup I put on it originally was a Lawrence 705 copy.  I have since replaced it with a Truetone single coil pickup.  The tuning keys are Grovers.

It took me about two years to complete it,  working on it whenever I had a little spare time.  The pictures show some of the various stages of construction.

I am very pleased with how it turned out, being my first attempt at building an instrument.   It has a great tone, mellow and full.  With the eight string C6th tuning I have on it, you can get some big, fat chords.  It sounds great for western swing.