The Weissenborn Hawaiian steel, a platapus among guitars to the uninitiated, is an instrument brilliantly and specifically conceived for Hawaiian playing. These hollow-neck Hawaiians are enjoying a renaissance with players nearly 60 years after the last one was made. They might have languished in obscurity if not for Lindley (the king of oddball instruments and a Dobro loverÐreally), Ry Cooder, John Fahey, Steve Fishell, and singer-songwriter Ben Harper. They have also been added to the arsenals of Dobro and steel players like Mike Auldridge, Bob Brozman, Cindy Cashdollar, Jerry Douglas, John Ely, Greg Leisz, and Sally Van Meter. Many session pros now routinely carry along a Weissenborn for steel or Dobro calls.
Because of its construction, care must be given to the correct tuning and string gauges to avoid bridge, bracing and neck problems. The strings supplied (.014, .018, .026w, .034w, .044w, .056w) allow G (DGDGBD), D (DADF#AD) and similar tunings. Your Weissenborn will not tolerate any additional excessive tension (such as E tuning (EBEG#BE), Dobro G tuning (GBDGBD or heavier) and will void the warranty. The string tension should be no more than 165lbs at pitch. There are several online string tension calculators available such as this one to determine correct string gauges for any desired tuning.
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