The Neilson Story

The Neilson

The guitar is 93 cm long, 14 cm wide and 5 cm high, (37" x 5.25" x 2")

WSC Volcano dual humbucking pickup 
Single volume control. 
Brass nut
Standard, adjustable "Gibson" type bridge and tailpiece
K-68 tuning heads
3 kg approx. weight

The first Neilson Lap Steel Guitar was made in the year 2000 by Neil Howell and Ken Stephenson who are long term friends and musicians. They designed and made a small number of lap steel guitars to both use and sell. Neil lives in the East Gippsland area of Victoria, Australia and loves working with local timbers.

Ken Stephenson both plays live music and works as a producer in his Melbourne studio, Back Pocket Recorders. Ken found it difficult to purchase a new lap steel guitar. It became apparent that there was room in a niche market for an instrument which was only just beginning to find a new level of appreciation for it's versatile sound.

The Neilson Lap Steel guitar featured in the 2008 recording of I See Flowers, You See Cars. The album won equal first for the popular vote, Alternative Country - Album of the Year, USA Independant Music Awards. Apart from in the studio, Ken plays the lap steels with singer-songwriter Ross Ryan, whose found a renewed incentive for touring and live performance with the rich blend of sounds.

Soft and shimmering to dirty, gritty....
The Lap Steel sound can be used in genres as wide ranging as blues and roots through to ambient.

'The lap steel provides the chordal structure of a song with unlimited open tunings. It can make the sound of a soft beautiful shimmer in the background right through to the dirty, gritty sound that screams in your face....' Bill Putt, seasoned lap steel player and long time member of Spectrum (Australian classic hit I'll Be Gone)

Other helpful information for musicians....

Neilson Guitar's website contains other helpful information for musicians generally on how to construct chords, playing lap steel guitar and different tunings. You can also view pictures of the first Neilson lap steels being made.

If it's other string instruments you're interested in, a helpful little program is the Mouse Guitar. This Java Applet displays tunings for banjo, mandolin, lap steel and pedal steel. Once an instrument is selected the musician can find out where all the chords are.

Not just another guitar!