Make a lap steel guitar out of a pool cue case

Picture of Make a lap steel guitar out of a pool cue case
I made this three stringed, electric lap steel guitar from an old pool cue case I bought at an op-shop. The sound is pretty raw, which kind of suits the whole smoky, seedy pool hall feel of it. Plus, once you're done busking for money to bet on games of 8-ball, it becomes it's own case.

This whole project cost me around $60, but if you can get your hands on the guitar bits (pickup, tuning pegs, pots), it'd work out even cheaper.

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Step 1: Things you'll need

Picture of Things you'll need
First of all, a pool cue case. I picked this one up for $8 at an second hand shop.
You'll also need:
- a single coil pickup
- three individual guitar tuning pegs
- a couple of chunks of hardwood for the bridge and nut
- a piece of thin wood for the volume and tone mount (I used a section cut from a cigar box lid)
- input socket for a guitar lead jack
- 10k pot for volume
- primer and paint
- some sticky-backed fabric letters

Step 2: Drill holes

Picture of Drill holes
peg backs.jpg
peg nuts.jpg
jack holes.jpg
jack fixed.jpg
I only made this a three stringed guitar as I wasn't sure how much pressure the box could take, and I didn't want to put any reinforcement in, as it would hinder the simple design.

I am left-handed, so I drilled the holes for the tuning pegs at the right-hand end, with the open lid closer to me, so the lid can act as a hand rest while I play.

Make sure you drill the holes far out enough that the pegs will be able to be turned freely, but also remember that you will need to fasten then inside, so leave enough space between the stem and the wall of the case.

I fastened mine in using large nuts.

Then drill a hole for the jack socket at the other end of the box, facing outwards.
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33six5 years ago
 I've just put up a (very bad) video of mine on youtube.

It's not as nice as this one, but will have an amp built into it when I get around to it.

freeza36 33six2 years ago
Great job! Where did you get the case?
Lach (author)  33six5 years ago
 Ha! That's awesome! You are obviously a more accomplished player than I am. It sounds sweet!
33six Lach5 years ago
 I'm not sure about that! Maybe I'll get around to posting a video with some better playing and less people talking in the background!

Thanks so much for the instructable, I'd have never thought this up on my own.

I may try and build another one with a more 'polished' feel to it, as mine isn't up to the standard of yours : )
33six 33six5 years ago
freeza36 33six3 years ago
What's most impressive about this video is that you can operate a mouth camera.
dsaavedra 33six5 years ago
that is cool as hell!!!
Lach (author)  33six5 years ago
I love it!!
LucDaRocka12 years ago
Nice Honeytone! Lol I had one!
warehouse323 years ago
To get your tone pot to function you need either a .022 or .047uf capacitor wired from the left lead of the tone pot (if you're looking at the second picture you have) and the other end grounded on the pot itself. Then just run a wire from the middle lead of the tone pot to the middle lead of your volume pot (this should be the one connected to the output jack). hope that helps!
zeurozek3 years ago
...or put the tuners inside the box (ie horizontaly instead of verticaly.). If I catch one same box, sure I'll try. Nice work though!
joeybrocken4 years ago
Sir, This is a very cool instructable. I found this page by coincidence and I decided to make one myself. It's not finished yet but here are some pics to give you an idea. when it's finished I'll upload a video on youtube. Thanks for the idea. Joey
What do you tune this to? octaves or perhaps a basic power chord? Thanks
cbaron33 years ago
Fabulous! Great Job.
joeybrocken4 years ago
Damn, you're good!
Lach (author)  joeybrocken4 years ago
That is AWESOME! It sounds like you know what you're doing, too.
awesome music man, i'm just curious what type of pedal effects you're using
I'm using a BOSS ME 50.
With these pedals turned on.

Naturel overdrive

Harmonist (octave pedal)

and a delay.

Built one myself, its currently hung in an art gallery with a few other instruments I've built.

Very good instructable.
Lach (author)  Searchin4succubi4 years ago
Woo! Where is this gallery? Do you have any other pics of it? That's awesome!
TruthHunter4 years ago

LOL! what did you do with the pool sticks? Make a slide trombone?

Your instrument made me think of the Music Man warning the people about
Pool in order to sell musical instruments

...some of the lines from the song Ya Got Trouble:

"By the presence of a pool table in your community.
Ya got trouble, my friend, right here,
I say, trouble right here in River City."
ROBOCOP6034 years ago
awesome! You should try making a wider one w/ 6 strings and 2 or 3 pickups.
can you make it with a violin case? i bought one a flee market and i tought it also would be cool
Ape Mandune5 years ago
This is pretty epic, I must say. I was wondering what tuning your strings are in.
I made one, although I had a d'addario pick up and used that instead of wiring my own pickup. It's got a buzz.
33six6 years ago
built mine, looks a bit different but the idea is the same - will post pictures when i get around to wiring in a preamp and on/off switch with LED. I used broom handle cut-offs for the nut, bridge and the slide itself. works brilliantly. Thanks again for this instructable
Lach (author)  33six6 years ago
Awesome! Looking forward to the pics.
brianbf19866 years ago
"You'll also need to carve a channel along the bottom of the bridge, for the wires from the pickup to run along." It doesn't seem like this last carving isn't visible in any of these photos, can you add one and post it up please and/or send it to my email at brianbf1986@gmail.com ? If not, which photo shows it and where is it ? I'm really intrigued at this project and am interested in doing it on my own, thanks for your work on putting it up online to share.
33six6 years ago
I've ordered all the parts, but am going to build a tiny amp/speaker where you have the tone pot. Awesome instructable - I'll post pics of my hustler inspired guitar soon.
billytwix7 years ago
clark billytwix7 years ago
mollusk clark6 years ago
billytwix clark7 years ago
sorry dude, my company uses caps lock in the programs, so whilist taking a 5 second break, i decided to lend some praise to my fellow instructable's individual. sorry if you can't handle it.
Lach (author)  billytwix7 years ago
Thanks for the comments. And caps don't bother me - I've got the same problem at work.
mollusk6 years ago
Superb. I'm especially a fan of the 'hustler' decal under the strings. Do you sell these instruments...and if so, do they come in kits; complete with a half-pack of unfiltered Camels, iron-on bourbon stains for my shirt, and some yellowing teeth, a shifty gaze?
dude, please tell me you have recordings available of you playing this lovely instrument. i just priced out pool cue cases on ebay, i'm gonna freaking build one tonight. i want to hear what you've done on it. awesome idea!
Lach (author)  rocktheproject6 years ago
Ha! Sorry man, no recordings - I'm not much of a player. But thank you for the compliment. Have you built yours? If so, can you post a pic?
The_Roadie6 years ago
Best place for Wireing diagrams for any pickup configuration is here
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