Hawaiian guitar [lap steel guitar, steel guitar]
- Hugh Davies
A variant of the guitar, developed in Hawaii in the second half of the 19th century. Early types are classified as chordophones: lutes; later types, such as that depicted in the illustration , are classified as chordophones: zithers. Around 1830 Mexican cattle herders introduced the guitar into Hawaii. The Hawaiians took up the instrument and incorporated it into their own music with appropriate ‘slack key’ or open tuning in which the strings are all tuned to the notes of a major triad. Joseph Kekuku has usually been given credit for introducing the technique of sliding a comb (later the back of a penknife) along the strings of a guitar placed across the knees to produce the glissandos for which Hawaiian music has become known. Kekuku, who developed and popularized the technique beginning in ...