Quick Hit: Asher Electro Hawaiian Junior Lap Steel Review

A value-packed option from a world-class builder.

 Recorded through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV and miked with a Royer R-121 feeding an Apogee Duet into Garageband.
Clip 2 uses a Komet K.O.D.A overdrive
 

Ratings

Pros:
Wonderful construction. Excellent price.

Cons:
Humbuckers aren’t that remarkable.

Street:
$950

Asher Electro Hawaiian Junior Lap Steel
asherguitars.com


Tones:


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Value:
 

For decades, luthier Bill Asher’s name has been synonymous with high-end lap steels and guitars made for pro-level players such as Ben Harper, Jackson Browne, and Marc Ford. Recently, Asher has developed a line of entry-level lap steels that come in at well under a grand. These Electro Hawaiian Junior models are impeccably built out of African mahogany and feature a newly designed aluminum wrap-around bridge. As soon as I pulled the guitar out of its gig bag, I was impressed with how stout the instrument felt. Naturally, a solidbody lap steel is meant to be rugged, but the Electro Hawaiian feels like it could be used as a weapon when things turn south at the juke joint.

The humbuckers had more output than, say, a traditional PAF-style ’bucker, but that extra meat was welcome. When I plugged into my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, I found the clean tones to be smooth and clear, but lacking some of the high-end sparkle you might find in higher-priced steels. The bass response on both humbuckers was a little dark and muddy. However, with an overdrive in the mix, I was able to suss out those frequencies and add some clarity pretty easily. If you’re looking for a way into the lap-steel scene, I can’t imagine a more value-packed option that feels like a pro-level axe.

Test gear: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV, Komet Amps K.O.D.A Overdrive


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