Workshop: Sitar-Saddles Lap Steel

My buddy Ivan gave me a set of these no-longer-produced (from what I've gleaned) Telecaster-style saddles made by the German firm EYB.

He'd also brought-in (and sold) that wild guitar-sarod hybrid recently and I've done a fair amount of listening to Debashish Bhattacharya in my time, so slide+sitar sound was on my brain anyhow.

I decided to fit them to this absolute catastrophe of a guitar -- a warped-neck, bottom-of-the-barrel Chinese-make "Strat copy" -- and fit a tall nut so it could be a Hawaiian-style slide instrument with sitar twang.

I didn't stop there, however. I wanted to get that drone-string sound going and I scratched my head for a second but then thought about how lovely and chimey my Nashville-strung (also a junker but with a good neck) Strat-copy guitar sounds.

So -- sitar-sound saddles, Nashville (re-entrant) stringing, and an open E tuning -- EBEG#BE low to high (the first "low" 4 are an octave above normal tuning) -- yields what you hear in the video. I'm playing with fingerpicks and using a Hawaiian-style bar. I'm only using the lowest E and then the high-side BE strings for playing-on and using the BEG# middle strings as drones that I pick on the off-beat.

I might play with the stringing idea a bit more but I'm liking what I'm getting with it so far. I wouldn't mind having it strung all in roots and fifths to make it easier to record with when I just want to drone-around in different keys as a modal instrument, though.


Oscar Stern said…
A Nashville Tuned Slide Sitar-Guitar in Open E. Bluesy isn't it?
Claude said…
Oh sure, tease us with this, then crush our dreams with "by the way, those saddles aren't available any more". Cruel, Jake.