Background information about the lap steel guitar.

Background information about the lap steel guitar.
Hawaii and the lap steel guitar.
The guitar has been brought to Hawaii by Portugese immigrants around 1830. The guitar
model was probably more like the Spanish type of guitar. Around that time, Spanish
speaking cowboys from south California came to Hawaii. They where hired by king
Kamehameha III to work on the ranches. The cowboy was also in Hawaii a legendary
character, complete with guitar. The guitar was used to play a mix of traditional music and
gospels from the missionaris. The Hawaiian musicians tuned their guitars in open chords
to suit their voices. This type of tuning is known as slack key tuning.
Although the idea of slide playing might has been used in other countries as well, the way
of playing lap steel as we know it now ha sbeen started at Hawaii. Joseph Kekuku is the
accepted father of the lap steel. Maybe he was not the firstwho invented lap steel playing,
but he was the first to develop it into a whole new way of playing the instrument. In 1885
Kekuku was 11 years old. He was walking along the railroad track, while playing his guitar.
He got the idea of playing slide by picking up a bold and slide it on the strings. Other
stories mention a knife that falls on the strings. He experimented with different materials.
He ended up playing with a metal cylinder he made at metalworking class at high school.
Also he raised the strings from the fretboard, and used metal strings. Around 1895 Kekuku
was a star at Hawaii. At 1905 he left Hawaii and brought the slide guitar to the USA.
The Panama Pacific International Exposition for celebrating the finishing of the Panama
Canal in 1915 at San Fransico, was the start of a 30 years during Hawaiian hype. At 1916,
record company Viktor sold more Hawaiian records than any other kind of music.
A list of early acoustic playing Hawaiian artists:
Keoki Awai
Sol K. Bright ( )
Tau Moe ( )
Sam Ku West ( )
David Kane
Bob Paoli (Jim & Bob, The Genial Hawaiians!)
( )
Pale K. Lua
Mike Hanapi
Ben Hokea
David Kahanamoku Kaili
M. K. Moke
Frank Ferera ( )
The two most famous artists who later mixed Hawaiian style with jazz:
“King" Bennie Nawahi ( )
Sol Hoopii ( )
This style was adapted by Roy Smeck and others.
Some artists who played mainly the later introduced electric lap steel:
Dick McIntire
Andy Iona ( )
Sam Koki
Ralph Kolsiana
Jules Ah See
Pua Almeida
Hal Aloma
Danny Steward
Gabby Pahinui ( )
Eddie Bush
David "Feet" Rogers
David Keli'i
Billy Hew Len
And the more recent Hawaiian artists:
Alan Akaka ( )
Jerry Byrd ( )
Greg Sardinha
Owana Salazar ( )
Casey Olsen
Duke Ching
John Ely ( )
Bob Brozman ( )
Bobby Ingano ( )
Herbert Hanawahine.
Other links.
Andy Volk wrote a very nice book about the lap steel and many artists:
The most complete website about slide, Weissenborn, dobro and more is still:
A more than complete website of original Hua Pala's and Hawaiian tunes can be found