My name is Rob Badger and I’m a lap steel player. I’d like to introduce a new tool for Lap Steel players. The Badger Brown Double Sided Tone Bar combines the smoothness of the rounded tip Hawaiian and Jazz style tone bar and the edgy sharpness of the fluted tip dobro style tone bar all in one easy to grip nickel plated brass bar. No tone compromises, no weight change compensation, no grip changes necessary, no time between songs switching out tone bars.
I’ve heard lots of musicians comment several times that “lap steel must be really easy to play..you just make bar chords with your tone bar”. That couldn't be further from the truth!! I’ve been inspired by great lap steel players such as John Butler, Ben Harper, Xavier Rudd, Thomas Oliver just to name a few. These players have really elevated the instrument. The tone bar is a fundamental piece to the tone equation. The weissenborn, for example, has such a haunting voice that can be manipulated in several ways depending on your tone bar’s shape, material, polish and personal grip.
I’ve tried several different tone bars from many makers out there. Each have their respective strengths and uses. I’ve found that I have to carry many different tone bars to a gig or jam session because each tone bar is a unique tool that can be applied to specific genres. For instance when I want to accent 2 notes at the same time while playing an open chord, I would choose a rounded end tone bar, but the trouble is that they can be sometimes hard to hold for long periods and moving quickly from a bar chord to an open accented chord can be tricky if the grip isn’t just right. The rounded end produces a great tone for Hawaiian and Jazz but doesn’t work so well for a Rock or bluegrass song.
I created the Badger Brown tone bar so that I could carry 1 tone bar to a gig and be able to apply the same hand grip technique comfortably with both a rounded tip as well as the sharp fluted tip. The Badger Brown Bar has comparable weight to any of the popular tone bars currently on the market and it’s grip makes it smooth and fast for playing complex musical passages.
Another advantage to the Badger Brown Tone Bar is the overall length which is comfortable in both positions. The rounded style tone bars I’ve tried always felt too short which was great for playing single notes but falls short literally when I want a full chord. Also with a smaller rounded tip tone bar, there’s less mass so the tone can get sacrificed. I’ve had to actually adjust my amp settings at a gig due to changing tone bars for different songs. This is where the Badger Brown Tone Bar really comes through for the Lap Player. Just flip it around in your hand and comfortably switch styles, even in mid song.
For the past couple of years I’ve been working on perfecting this tone bar at my own expense developing several prototypes with various weights, polish, materials. I need backing at this point because I’ve spent all I can afford in getting the tone bar to the point where it’s nearly ready for market. There are still several things I need funding for. The first goal is to go from prototype to production machining for higher quantities. I need to complete quality testing of the final product and purchase inventory. With your help I can make my vision of the Badger Brown Tone Bar a reality.
The Badger Brown Tone Bar is an extremely versatile all in one tool built by a lap steel player for a lap steel player.
STRETCH GOAL #1 ($30,000) Badger Brown Tone Bar available in stainless steel
Risks and challenges
As in all product development projects there is risk. However, I have already jumped over many of the hardest hurdles by completing the design and testing the first market ready prototype. I have worked with the manufacturer for the past six years and can rely on their delivery time estimations. It will take 45 days to complete the 1st manufacturing run and an additional 7-14 days to test for quality and prepare shipment for the product. I am highly confident that i will be able to complete all of this in a timely manner and the end product will be worth it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)