Hawaii Gift #1: Steel Guitar

OK… so I am very late and we’ll see if I can cram 7 Christmas items all in by today.

First up… the Hawaiian Steel Guitar, which has been adopted in various shapes and form the world over. I think it was invented here and spread all over the world to enhance many genres of music. There is a Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association, and they have a ton of info on their website.

From their history page:

“When mainlanders first saw it, they didn’t know what to call it, so they reported that it was held on the lap and played with a steel bar. That’s how it got stuck with lapsteel which is still much used. But if you want to go first class, you’ll call it a steel guitar. It was originally a 6-string wooden guitar built to be a Spanish guitar, but converted to a steel guitar by inserting a metal converter nut (adapter nut) (extension nut) over the nut at the headstock to raise the strings about a half inch off the fretboard. It was originally tuned A Major low bass (1-6) E.C#.A.E.A.E, which has three strings tuned the same as the Spanish guitar.”

All I know is that the Hawaiian Steel Guitar produces a beautiful sound that enhances our local music. Of course anyone into country and western music or contemporary country and even some rock music, knows that steel guitars have long been in use. Hence Hawaii’s contribution to the music world.

Select this link for a steel guitar sound sample (MP3).

Reference links:

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association
Table Steel Guitar @ Wikipedia
Pineapple Pete’s Steel Guitar Samples
Pineapple Pete’s Steel Guitar Site
Photo credit: Frank Baum, website

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