The Smith Family Melobar Guitar - the real story of Melobar from Ted Smith -

Friday, January 26, 2018

Melobar 2018

Melobar focus for 2018

Sample of a three pickup Nashville Tele with Fender TexMex pickups, nice blues tone. click the link on the next line

I'm trying something new for 2018; paint finishes are what slow down the availability of these and the double neck Tel-O-bars. This Blue Burst guitar shown was a year in getting finished due to my limited time to work on them.

This year I am doing "Completed Kits":
I router the bodies, necks, primer the guitar to seal the wood, then actually build the instrument and sell it as a DIY paint only.
You get the guitar and can actually play it as is, then unscrew everything and paint it any finish you want, then simply screw everything back together, add your own knobs and anything else you want to customize.
Here is a video of one:

This will help ensure they are built correctly, and make it simple, not to mention it will drastically cut the cost to get into one of these last Rosac neck (Barn Find) Melobars.

Rosac body Kit Skreemr (1 humbucker pickup) $595 
V body (only a couple - needs the powerslide neck) $688
add on pickups are the price of the pickup plus $78 for routering and wiring
Tele-body Melobar with two TexMex pickups $785
add middle strat w/4-way switch Nashville set up add $113
Tel-O-bar depends on the upper neck
two in the works at $980 and $1,190
all plus shipping and handling

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dean Black playing one of the first Melobar double necks

Great video of one of the Melobar double neck fathers; Dean was one of the guys that pushed me into building the double neck
Check out the video click below

Friday, May 20, 2016

2016 Melobar Barn Find

First look at the parts found by Sydney, Click Here

It's a mix of original Rosac necks, and a few Powerslide necks, along with another standard neck cutaway fiberglass body and two original SuperSteel necks for 8 string and we're still finding stuff. Felt a bit like the show Pickers today going through stuff I haven't seen in over twenty years.

Soooo I guess I'm back to building some Melobars. A little bit mind blowing after thinking we were completely done. I'm teaming up with a couple other local builders for painting and we'll probably only do a dozen a year.

My primary goal is to build a couple of models I built for myself and really - really - feel other players would rock on. Personal Video with Ted on why

The other Melobar is the double neck Tel-O-bar. I have already purchased a nice MIM standard Telecaster to cut in half and marry to the Barn Find Tel-O-bar. These double necks are just so great to play, we need to make them more available to the guys that will love playing them
Here is a Video of what they are like by Ted

Saturday, August 8, 2015

How do older Melobars Sound?

How do older Melobar's Sound?
An important question now that we are no longer building them, older models are going for pretty high prices on ebay, and you should know what you are looking at.
Older Rosac Model

a quick A - B is to listen to a Rosac body Skreemr from the 90's on the A video then a Tele Body Melobar from 2016 on the B video...NOT Pros but a decent sound bite

A - Old 1992 Melobar Skreemr (skip forward to .30)

B - 2016 Melobar Tele version

Real difference is scale length and pickups

Quick Reference:
Mosrite Melobar; The first production Melobars were built by Semie Mosley in the Mosrite factory with Mosrite pickups. I love these guitars in that they have that fat Mosrite sound with a longer scale. Excellent for Blues, professional stage and studio work if strung as a 6 string.
Rosac Melobar; Paul Barth single coil pickups, these guitars were supposed to be for students and this guitar is not good for stage if you don't want old single coil non-shielded hum. Magnets are 63mm, so with standard spacing, best if strung 6-string.
Powerslide V and X 10 models with Bill Lawrence Pickups from the 80's are the best and good for up to 10 strings. This was the best professional model built by Melobar until the late 90's.

Note: want that Lindley here

Skreemr 6-sting models built in the late 90's started with EMG pickups but were later upgraded to L500 Lawrence pickups with Grover Keys, these are very good professional instruments but the short 22 7/8" scale doesn't give a fat blues tone like the Mosrites did, take the same guitar and lengthen the scale and they'd be even better.
Steelgitr and Telobar double necks were all built custom but all were expected to go on stage so they have good components and sound good.

In the lap steels...
The LS model had the Rosac Paul Barth pickups on them so limited to single coil problems.
SLS, upgraded using the Lawrence pickups but a bit sharp in tone because of those pickups, switching out to even a tele rhythm pickup can help that tone a lot.
CC8 again Lawrence pickups but built for steel not guitar so more of a steel sound.
Teleratt most had Lawrence Tele pickups and had a good tone
XL models had Lawrence L500 pickups with the best tone of all the Melobar Lap Steels
Supersteels had the above set ups so match your pickups to the above
Rattler, considered the best Melobar Lap Steel if you want that "Running on Empty" Lindley sound

In all, Melobar's were a crossover from a standard guitar to a steel built with Alder like a Strat' so you'll want to set your amp with that in mind and roll back the treble if it sounds too bright or aggressive if you want Hawaiian steel, and not be afraid to change out pickups.
Hope that helps...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Melobar Guitars

Patented angled up neck to play steel standing up
See Melobar in Action CLICK HERE and HERE Black V on the Left
Melobar is the registered trade mark of the Smith Family who manufactured the instruments for over 50 years. The patented design that started the company was a 45 degree tilt neck to play steel type guitar mounted on a standard guitar body.

This blog is dedicated information and facts about Melobar from Ted Smith, the last Melobar builder and son of Walt Smith the originator.

See the pages on the right for models, history and fun Melobar facts (hard to see in grey).
Melobar on National Television CLICK HERE
Listen to a Melobar Rattler CLICK TO HEAR

50 Years of Melobar Models

1964 first promotional brochure

50 Years of Melobar Models
More detailed descriptions, years in production and number of units in the identify models page on the right hand side of this blog (hard to see in grey).
Listed are production models - one offs, proto-types, customs and experimentals are not included.

1964 Mosrite Series


1970 Rosac Series 

Metal Acoustic (dobro era)


Early Student  (Purple People Eater and dumpster models)

Student Acoustic (Payette Shop)

Powerslide X-10 (1980's Lindley era)


Jerrett Series


Powerslide 88 Proform model (1988)
Video of one...


Skreemr (6-string models of the 90's)
Melobar sound on Good Run of Bad Luck ACM Awards TV
How the Skreemr model got it's name

LS series (first lap steels)

Strummr (6-string acoustic)

SLS and S-Head Lap Steels

The Rattler Lap Steel (largest production model)


The Tomohawk (8-string)

Built Two MINI Teleratts  

Video on Youtube of the Mini Teleratt

Supersteels (modular console)

SXL (long scale lap steel)

Teleratt (Tele components)



Melobro series (fiberglass dobro style)


Steelgitr (custom built double neck)


Strat-O-bar (Strat laminated to Melobar)

Tel-O-bar (Fender Telecaster and Melobar Skreemr)

Only Tele-Melobar Skreemr built, just did it this year for myself  and love it.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Melobar Today

Melobar is the registered trade mark brand name of the tilt neck design patented by the late Walt Smith.

The correct history of the dozens of unique Melobar designs and products including the fiberglass resonator Melobro, the various lap steel models and the double neck Tel-O-bar, the stages of building history from the early Mosrite built Melobars to the Powerslide series and then the Smith Family Music era with Ted Smith are all covered in the pages to the right of this post.

After 50 years, Melobar is no longer building instruments. And I am pursuing a much different path in organic health.

However you can still hear Melobars on the radio and players are still out there cruising the stage with the unique stand-up steel.