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

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.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Building your own Tel-O-bar and using stands

UPDATE 112916  We are building a couple of DIY Tel-O-bars that will be with a MIM Tele on top unfinished, and a Body with Melobar neck unfinished, for sale in January. Which should make it easy for a Do It Yourselfer to put what components pickup wise they want, choose 6 or 8 string set up on Melobar neck and use StewMac for paint to finish, at a third the price...check back the first of 2017

One of my Tel-O-bars mounted to just a simple music stand is and it works really amazingly well but this guitar is a good example of why the design of the Tel-O-bar double neck is really critical. The body was off by a quarter inch and it changed the entire way the guitar fit your body and didn't work except on a stand

I love these double necks when they are done right and due to the fact I won't be building them anymore...if you want to build one for yourself, I have the correct measurements traced out.

I really love the double neck Melobars. Sometimes I wonder if Melobar would have gone a lot farther if it had started out this way. Due to the fact I can't get out of the guitars what I put into them from people who want to buy them ($2,600 I make $12 an hour but no one has paid over $1,800 which is less than $6 an hour so I can't afford to do it) I don't mind sharing with anyone wanting to build one on their own.
The Double neck version actually makes the Melobar neck sit in a far better position to play and I love the angle for both necks when sitting or standing. If you ever get a chance to play one built correctly you'll know what I mean.
The design angles are critical though. Killer, the guitar in the post above, had a Mexican built body a 1/4" wider than what most Tele's have and it threw off the design enough to make the guitar NOT fit my body and angle of play. So you do have to pay attention to that.

Where you cut that body on the "donor" Tele is going to make the guitar work or not.

Here is a shot of my Mosrite Melobar being cut and it is one of my favorite guitars.

Note how the bodies did not line up, but what I focused on was the angle and the total distance from head tip to head tip (9.5 inches). The bridges should be pretty much at the same position or with the Melobar neck bridge slightly more forward so your right hand will just drop down.
When using the donor method like this; you have to often put a thin piece of plywood on the back, screw them together, then test the feel of the guitar to see if the neck angles are where you want them.

Once you decide how much to take off the Tele (or Strat) side, I will laminate on a body then hand cut the bottom of the body to fit.

You will have a bow in the back like this.

The weight is a big should be able to get it under 9lbs by routering out under the Melobar neck and taking a lot off the back of the body.

Here you can see the curve I put in the back of the body like a Strat; so your arm comes over the body more comfortably and the curve where your chest hits the guitar to make it fit your body better. This also takes off more weight yet keeps the guitar very well balanced.

Also note the bar hole between the necks or you could go behind the Melobar neck.

If you want a to size blue print with the jig I use for the right cut angle on the Tele side and the body size for the bottom, router and wiring diagrams; it's $65 including close up photos from all angles for the body shaping.
It's not an easy project but not impossible for a DIY - well worth the fun the guitar is to play and the power of having both styles at your finger tips. You need a Melobar neck of course and a donor Telecaster or Strat.

Hope that helps anyone trying a DIY Tel-O-bar project; all I ask is that you do not call it a Melobar unless you used one of Dad's original Melobar necks, and not to call or email me with any questions. I don't have the time and I didn't have anyone to ask but had to figure it out by trial and error myself - You'll do fine if you just mock up your prototypes and take the time to make it fit you personally. Good luck.

Here is one Aaron Jennings just completed from the plans

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Just to prove I'm not completely prejudice to Tele's ... I had to build this just for fun, actually fun to play too! Strat on top, with the V and T down on the bottom under the Melobar neck.
NOT for sale

Thursday, February 27, 2014

50 years for Melobar...Finis

Well  Melobar has now been around for 50 years and that finishes it all for me building guitars for the public. I'm only building for myself and friends from now on, but here are a few I ended with. I'm going back underground now, any questions on Melobar just go through the pages on the right side here for; identifying models, history or tech support. I will be turning off the gmail account...keep on pick'n

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Melobar Tel-O-bar = Tele Custom with a Powerslide Melobar

This is a really nice 8 or 10 string version of the double neck...take a look at video below

Video links are hard to see but just below here 


Close ups

She got the nick name already of Black Beauty

Friday, January 24, 2014

LAST SXL 8 string lap steel blanks

:ast CC-8 style 8 string; Chrome Grovers, single Stringmaster Lollar pickup and a vinyl fingerboard. $685 or trade options for red Epiphone 335 or...
you can reach me at for any questions

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

wrapping up the last Melobars

winter of 2013

working on a mini-Teleratt...way cool
 ...last Melobro
Black Skreemr is cool but it will have to go through the paint booth one more time

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hawaiian Holiday Melobar

This is what happens when you're sitting around talking about what would be cool and someone says, "hey - what about using one of the old album LP's as a pickguard..."

WAYYY!! harder than I thought it would be but kind of fun too. The album is Hawaiian Holiday with Hawaiian Starlight and Aloha showing on the label Spin-O-Rama.

The Paul Barth pickup has a very warm tone but I'll only sell it as a wall hanger because I can't warranty that pickguard won't crack under abuse but it does sound like the Islands $395

Love the color, has a lot of green and blues in it not coming out in the photo, I call it ocean blue and am doing a SXL double pickup in it right now.