Steel Bars

Tone Bar

There are primarily two types of steel bars that are commonly used. A tone bar as pictured above or bullet bar(one that is shaped like a bullet with a rounded nose and smooth edge cylindrical shape).

The tone bar, for me works, because it gives you better grip for hammering on an off of notes and quick sharp movements and really helps those like myself who can get sweaty palms when excited.

I use a Shubb RR2 Tone bar as it’s longer and bigger than others. Covering all strings up even to a 12/13 string instruments. Don’t use a short Dobro style tone bar as you won’t be able to achieve all the chords or smooth playing.

There is however one drawback – This tone bar because of it’s ends, (not rounded like the bullet bar) can catch on the strings when Soloing.  This however can be mastered like anything else. The ideal Bar for Lap steel would be a Bullet style bar with a tone bar grip.

The Bullet Bar enables the player to achieve a smooth sound due to its sheer weight and smooth nose end. It’s main drawbacks is GRIP which inherently affects speed. Most players always have to continually readjust in the hand or re-adjust while playing due to the lack of sufficient grip. However some extremely fast players do still prefer the bullet bars as opposed to the tone bars and vice versa.

I guess try both and determine what is best for you. I much prefer the tone bar.

INSIDE TIP For getting GRIP:


I use a RR2 Shubb Tone Bar for its weight and ease of movement as it feels more comfy but the following advice can work on a Bullet bar as well.

Here is the reveal: Get some cheap GRIP TAPE like THIS

Simply cut to whatever amount required to give you just enough grip.  I have placed some black grip tape on the sides of my tone bar. I don’t drop the bar EVER anymore unless I mean to. Enjoy.

photo 4 photo 2


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