Weissenborn, one of the most famous lap steel guitars of its time, has gone through ups and downs. After the pick in popularity, it somehow lunged into obscurity only to resurrect like a Phoenix and become the most sought-after lap steel in a while. Weissenborn is probably one of the most unique and sought-after instruments and for a good reason. Its unique construction is unmatched and since the original Weissenborn is no longer produced a lot of companies have tried recreating the beauty and effect that they made. Gold Tone comes the closest to the original one, considering the price range. This is an amazing instrument for practice, gigging and recording.
Gold Tone used some top notch quality material to construct this model. First, you will notice solid mahogany top which is probably the most important part of the guitar not to skimp on, as it affects the sound the most. The back, sides, as well as the neck, are also made of the similar solid mahogany. This allows for consistency in sound, durability and, of course, looks. The neck is hollow while the fretboard on top is bound and features Abalone dot inlays. This model weights total of 2 lbs and is 24-7/8″ in scale. All in all, Gold Tone did a pretty nice job of keeping the original design intact and sort of pay homage to the first Weissenborn. Overall, the workmanship on this model is pretty good. While this might not be a $1000 and up model, you will have a hard time finding a model that so closely looks, feels, and sounds like the old model.
Hardware-wise, this model features beautiful and durable Ebony bridge, Gold Plated hardware. Along with that, you get 1-7/8″ wide bone nut and bone saddle. Bone, if you are a beginner, is probably one of the best materials (if not the best) for this purpose. It is pricey but definitely worth it. The same cannot be said about the Gold Kluson-style tuners which just don’t seem to fit with the rest of the instrument’s more quality details. It is important to keep in mind that Weissenborn needs to have very precise tuning and string tension so as not to damage the instrument.
When it comes to the sound of this SM Weissenborn, there is a lot to be said. This model offers some of the most nuances tonalities that I have heard from lap steels in this price range and higher. It offers nice sustain and mellow sounds that are reminiscent of Hawaii. Gold Tone is probably one of my favorite folk instrument manufacturers and their expertise and choice of quality wood pay off when you play or hear this lap steel. This is an amazing instrument for any occasion. Whether you just want to practice home or gig or record, this Weissenborn has for you covered.
While you can probably custom build your own Weissenborn the truth is that you won’t be able to do it for the same money (not to mention the time it will take to order, build and tweak it). Gold Tone SM Weissenborn Style Hawaiian Steel Guitar is probably one of the best lap steel guitars I have seen in a while. Gold Tone perfectly recreates the beauty and effect of the instrument.