Hawaiian Lap Steel guitars were designed in California by Hermann Weissenborn around 1915 to take advantage of high popularity of Hawaiian music. The best Weissenborns are all Koa Wood. Koa only grows in Hawaii and is heavily protected by the State of Hawaii. It has become very expensive and difficult to obtain. There are growers attempting to start Koa plantations in Hawaii and Australia. the problem is that the wood takes about 100 years to mature. Most Weissenbornes today are made of other woods, primarily Mahogany. I have been bringing Koa back from Hawai’i for several years and have a good supply on hand.
Weissenborn guitars are tuned to open D (D-A-D-F#-A-D) and are played on your lap like a resophonic guitar using a steel piece in your left hand. These instruments have a wonderful resonance. I just enjoy sitting and playing it on my porch overlooking the river.