The lap steel guitar is a type of steel guitar, an instrument derived from and similar to the guitar. The player changes pitch by pressing a metal or glass bar against the strings instead of by pressing strings against the fretboard.
There are three main types of lap steel guitar:
- Lap slide guitars, the first developed, which use a similar sound box to a Spanish guitar. These were originally called Hawaiian guitars and included versions that had a factory raised nut, but also include Spanish guitars with a nut extender (a device that fits over the nut to raise the strings).
- Resonator guitars, particularly those with square necks, but also round neck versions with a raised nut.
- Electric lap steel guitars, which include the first commercially successful solid body instruments. These were originally marketed as electric Hawaiian guitars. In addition to the lap-played model, a closely related version called a console steel guitar is supported on legs (but does not include the pedals or knee levers of the pedal steel guitar. Electric lap steels typically have six to ten strings.