These started out as just scrap 2x4s, spray paint and pieces of plexiglass...

Article by Shane Speal.  A big thanks to all who purchased the 2x4 Lap Steel Kit from C. B. Gitty.  Portions of your purchase go back into Cigar Box Nation to continue developing exciting instrument concepts like this.  

I've been having a blast with the new 2x4 Lap Steel Kits from C. B. Gitty.  In a burst of creativity, I went to the craft store and bought a bunch of Rustoleum spray paints.  I even chose some radical glitter colors.

When I first developed the 2x4 Lap Steel, I kept the look very simple with raw wood and zip tie frets.  In fact, the C. B. Gitty kit features my prototype in the photos:

The more I looked at the instrument, the more compelled I got to treat the body as if it were a blank canvas.  In order to showcase the wood as much as possible, I cut pieces of plexiglass into 2.75" x 17.5" sections to serve as fretboards.  The plexiglass fretboards are shown in this video:

One of the most radical ideas was to spray paint one body a light blue and then create psychedelic shapes by using masking tape and then spray painting a darker blue over top:

That artwork was actually inspired by John Lennon's psychedelic acoustic guitar from the Magical Mystery Tour era. Note the handpainted fretboard. I freehand painted the lines and dots for a quirky look.  As with all these plexiglass fretboards, I painted the underside and then flipped it over to mount. 

For the white lap steel, I masked off the fret lines using masking tape and painted the frets black.  I then removed the masking tape and painted a red triangle shape over top.  When flipped over, the black fret lines show up and the red is layered underneath.  It has a cool retro vibe to it:

This is only the beginning.  In fact, C. B. Gitty is working on an optional plexiglass fretboard with laser cut markers.  The plexiglass lends to all kinds of ideas, such as mounting pictures underneath the fretboard, painting entire scenes and much more.

I'd also like to try to make a double neck lap steel with pickup switching and legs.  

Note:  The C. B. Gitty Lap Steel Kit actually comes with a Dual Rail Humbucker pickup.  I had a shelf full of P90's in my shop, so that's what I used for these.  The Dual Rails have more output and less hum.  As with cigar box guitars, there are no rules to 2x4 lap steels...

[Remember that May 2017 is going to be 2x4 Month!  We'll be having a contest for the wildest instruments created from 2x4s.]

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Not to start an argument or a war, but I'm pretty sure this will.

Hey guys, I absolutely have loved this sight from the first time I found out about it. I have stayed in the background listening and learning, and have learned as much as possible from all of you. I've even made a couple of guitars I am rather proud of. But the other day when I ran up on these "way over priced" 2X4 lap steel "deals", I just  could not keep my mouth shut any longer. Even though they are no doubt, "Kool and the Gang" and all that, but DAMN! $250 to $275 for a lap steel made from a frickin' 2X4!

Let's see. You get this kit from C.B. Gitty for about 50 bucks:

Kit includes:

  • Full instructions printed on a 12x18 poster - suitable for framing
  • Two floating bridges
  • Humbucking Pickup
  • Guitar jack and jackplate
  • Six open-gear guitar tuners (3 left, 3 right)
  • Twelve string ferrules

Two packs of strings: one for blues and one for Country/Hawaiian C6 tuning

You supply your own 2X4, or other piece of suitable wood, and a whole bunch of other "optional" items to make it your own, of course.

OR, you can go the super lazy route, and get this version from Shane's factory.

Then Shane and his "Lap Steel Factory" add  an extra $100 to $125 dollars worth of "artistic talent"  and some "psychedelic" paint to the 2X4. Not really psychedelic either. Just striped. Sorry, it jus is.

Just sayin', don't that see just a wee bit pricy? Especially when you guy are selling full blown CBG's for less than that. And lots of them have volume and tone controls to boot.

Don't be too rough on me though. I've got you guys a real 8X8 already cut and cross lapped and some real spikes available to nail me to this pre-cut cross I have here at home. I have the hammers too, so you won't have to bring your own.

Not so subtle in my approach, I guess,


Steve Tucker, Macon, Georgia-----in the By God Southern U.S.A.

Let's keep that train of thought going.  

  • You can buy a Chinese lap steel with perfect finish, shape and playability for $79 on eBay.
  • You can get the lap steel plans for free from our Resources tab right here in this website.  (I came up with the idea and gave it away for free two years ago.)
  • You can look at everything from a price-point in life and ignore the magic.

I'd keep typing more, but I've sold so many of these lap steels, I need to head out to the shed and finish them up.

Shane Speal - York, PA in 'Get off my lawn you damn kids" USA

No arguments from me. But man, there's a real magic in pulling something out of a junk pile or a 2x4 from the burn pile and making it into a playable instrument and a work of art. Anyone who's made several instruments probably already has most of the stuff listed in the kit. Well except for the poster. And can very likely follow the free instructions and make the lap steel for almost nothing. Or not follow any instructions and make it to your own specs. There's magic in that too! And another thing, most of us sell stuff we make for way less than we should. I once figured out I'm making about $1.50 per hour for my own labor but if I don't price stuff to sell I'd soon be buried in my creations.

Jim - up on a mountain in WV

Yup Mike. A few years ago there was a guy on here who made real cool hand painted one string diddley bows. He was asking $1000.00 each for them. I don't think he sold any but the point isn't so much selling as knowing your worth. I personally haven't sold anything for over 200 bucks and my wife busts my chops all the time telling me I need to ask more.

Jim - who sells too cheap

Yeah Mike, I've got instruments displayed in several places. Usually I sell nothing unless I'm there playing so people can see that these are real instruments. That's the education process.  Plus you're doing like a mini concert when you demonstrate and people can be entertained and some will want to take something home with them. I'll post a vid showing just that real soon.

Yup Mike, an article like that can make folks interested and open to cool new (old) ideas and next thing you know a bonafide movement can start.

I'm happy to know that there is enough magic in "Built By Shane" that you can earn a living at it.  Even for a builder that is proud of my own work, sometimes a thing just calls out to me, the autographed prototype stompbox for a personal example.  I can/have built others, it just called my name.  Both of my through-neck commercially manufactured basses were like that, I try a bunch when I'm in a store, these two just spoke to me when I played them.  Ben bought a fiddle, even though he is a master builder that could have made his own. 

Like an Andy Warhol Painting, there is both the skill of the artist, and the love of the art imbued into the work of art by the artist.

Well you know the old saying, "Your labor is cheaper than mine".

Now if Gibson had made this they would be charging $999.99USD. ;)

Experimentation continues with antique pearloid drum wrap. (aka "Mother of Toilet Seat")

It would make a great tremolo bar, huh?

Now I've got to figure out how to use "Mother of Toilet Seat" in one of my own projects. :)

Mother of Toilet Seat sounds like a song title

My face got flushed just looking at this Shane! Cool stuff!


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