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Author Topic:  My Most Valuable Lap Steel. Please Share Yours
C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 13 Aug 2013 6:14 am    
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1949 SILVERTONE


This is the most sentimental and valuable to me of all steel guitars in my collection. Tears almost come to these old eyes as I share a little background on the guitar.

It was a Christmas gift from my Father and Mother in 1949. I was only 12 years old at the time. It was purchased from Sears, Roebuck and Co. for a cost of $29.00, and included a bullet nose bar and Home Study Course by the famous Nick Manoloff. The Course included 40 Lessons having many photos, Rudiments of Music, how to hold and play the steel guitar, and numerous old and Hawaiian songs for steel guitar. It was unusual to have electric guitars in our community since there was no electricity in our area until 1945.

The discoloration on the fretboard is the result of glueing a cardboard fretboard which included every note on the guitar and later removing this glued on cardboard. This instrument is all original.

My Father taught me to play this guitar. As a teenager, he had taken lessons on an acoustic box guitar with a nut extender in late 1920s and early 1930s. In 1949 he also began playing electric lap steel, and in 1972 began playing a Sho-Bud double 10 with 8 floor pedals and 4 knee pedals. He was an excellent steel player, playing country, traditional, and Hawaiian music. The Sho-Bud is also in my Collection.

I remember many times our family group (several played different instruments) playing such songs as Tennessee Waltz, Red River Valley, You are My Sunshine, Mockingbird Hill, Hymns, etc.

This instrument instilled a burning desire to play and collect vintage lap steel and some pedal steel guitars and is the cornerstone of my collection which in includes Gibsons, Rickenbachers, Fenders, and many other famous brand name steel guitars.

This 1949 SILVERTONE is the most sentimental and valuable of all steel guitars in my collection. Please share your most sentimental and valuable steel guitar with the Forum.
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2013 6:47 am    
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My walnut Clinesmith lap steel is my most treasured steel.

I got it from Todd Clinesmith at a time when I was about to give up playing for a number of reasons, one of them being because of a lack of inspiration. Todd threw me a Hail Mary pass and I caught it.

When the instrument arrived, I was transformed. I began learning playing styles of great country players and the instrument began to make sense to me. Five or six years later, I think this steel has really helped me in developing my own voice. It is my constant companion at home and when I travel. It inspires me to play.
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Noah Miller


From:
Rocky Hill, CT
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2013 7:25 am    
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I used to own a unique K&F student model as well as a double-necked EH-150 with custom-ordered controls, both of which are more valuable than anything I have now. Currently, the honor goes to my 1939 New Yorker; it's both my most valuable steel and my personal favorite. I named it "Maggie" after Margaret Dumont, who co-starred in Marx Brothers films; like the steel, she was popular in 1939 and shown in black and white.




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Ron Whitfield


From:
Kaaawa, Hawaii, USA
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2013 12:02 pm    
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Cool little story, C, no doubt you made your Mom and Dad happy playing that steel.

I'm nearly down to just my 2 main steels, an early Magnatone Troubadour 8 with a bunch of signatures on it, and my late 40's Rick Bakelite 8, both of which sat with me in many lessons with Jerry Byrd and each has distinctly different tones. JB not only played them a bunch but filled in the Rick's fret marker holes with White Out, so I know somebody with talent actually had their hands on them and they can sound good.
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James Kerr


From:
Scotland, UK
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2013 12:50 pm    
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It has to be the only Steel Guitar I own that was not made by me, my 1964 Tiesco R1.


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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2013 3:50 pm    
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C.E., thanks for sharing the story of your first childhood lap steel guitar and what it means to you. I know that you have a fabulous collection of rare guitars, and the point of your story is well taken. Value is not always measured in dollars, but sometimes in memories. Well done!
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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 13 Aug 2013 4:38 pm    
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Thanks to Ron and Doug for the very kind remarks. Although Dad passed away 12 years ago, I am still thankful he took the time and had the patience to teach me to play steel guitar. My Dad was only 20 years older than me. He was my best friend. We worked together in a family construction company until his retirement.
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Lynn Wheelwright


From:
Clearfield, Utah, USA
Post  Posted 14 Aug 2013 7:28 pm     Alvino Rey's Electro
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Alvino built the Electro into an acoustic guitar body in early 1933 so people would stop asking him what that strange little thing on his lap was.



This picture is of Horace Heidt's band at the Silver Forest room of Chicago's Drake hotel 1936. Note Alvino with this guitar by his side. Also take note of that half stack, this guy was serious about the electric guitar.

C.E. Thanks for the opportunity to share.

This is the Electro A-25 that was owned by a man, a pioneer really that I am sure needs no introduction to this forum. I had the honor and privilege of being Alvino's guitar tech and friend for about the last 20 years of his life. He was an amazing man and musician who held me spell bound on many occasions with stories accompanied by pictures of his and Horace Hiedt's band playing some of the most opulent ballrooms and theaters the country had to offer. This particular instrument a 1932 Electro was one of the first few Ric made in 1932 and one of the first electric's Alvino played. This is the instrument that was broadcast over the airwaves of America night after night in the early 1930's initiating the listening public to the electric guitar. Even though others like Les Paul take much of the credit for the electric guitar's success it was Alvino Rey who really shoulders the Lyons share of the credit. He was voted best electric player in 1937, as well as a member the 1942 Metronome all star band, He was a rock star of the time. Alvino had asked me to start selling his instruments in 1986 and as I took note of what there was, and there were many of great significance, I made a decision to keep the core of who Alvino was early in his career together. I felt they were much too important to be allowed to be scattered. When i asked him if he would sell this instrument to me he said that it was very important to him and if any one were to own it, it should be me. I really miss our chats, the pictures and lunch at the kitchen table prepared by his lovely wife and partner of 60 years, Louise. This and the rest of Alvino's instruments which I have been allowed to have temporary custody of will forever be kept together to honor the real electric pioneer.
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 14 Aug 2013 7:43 pm    
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@ Lynn: WOW!
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2013 2:22 am    
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Over 15+ years here on the SGF I've seen some amazing things but these Alvino pics and your story are right up there at the top.
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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 15 Aug 2013 5:04 am    
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Lynn, the photos and story are great. You and I have been communicating friends for several years, and I look forward to when you will publish a book on vintage guitars (hopefully soon).
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Richard Shatz


From:
Quincy, IL, United States
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2013 6:30 am    
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C. E. Jackson wrote:
Lynn, the photos and story are great. You and I have been communicating friends for several years, and I look forward to when you will publish a book on vintage guitars (hopefully soon).


That's a book I can't wait to see.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2013 6:45 am    
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A wonderful story, Lynn. Amazing!
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Lynn Wheelwright


From:
Clearfield, Utah, USA
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2013 7:34 am     Thanks everyone for the kind words
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I have been a member for some time but have not participated much other than drooling over some of the amazing instruments and stories that cross my screen. I am sure there are many others like me out there. I have found it enriching to share some of the instruments I have been lucky enough to be caretaker of. Others like myself waiting in the shadows might want to do he same for the benefit of the forum members.

C.E. Yes the book. Seems like the research never ends. I believe I now have a very good representation of most everything electric that happened from 1928 to 1942. Along with a number of surprises i stumbled over along the way. The book idea now seems a bit dated considering what the internet, streaming video and cable TV has to offer. That, and books aren't selling. I am in dissuasions with a documentary film maker about my idea to walk through the invention and development of the electric guitar using Alvino as the vehicle. He was there from the beginning of America's love affair with electricity. He was, as best I can tell one of the first to play an amplified instrument as a professional in a public setting, a banjo with Phil Spitalney in 1928. He worked with Gibson to develop their first electric pickup as well as being the first electric endorser of the electric guitar for any company. He worked with Rickenbacher and had one of the first ViVi-Tone guitars which he out on the radio airwaves late 1932. He worked with, and was life long friend of Leo Fender. I can think of nobody that can make more of a claim to helping to invent and promote the electric guitar, and of course the pedal steel while breaking new ground throughout his life. Hope to have it done in about 30 months.

So if anybody has any early electric instrument's, not just lap or pedal steels that they would like to share, I am all eyes and ears. I am most interested in home-brew stuff from the late 1920's to 1942 along with any documentation and stories.

Thanks
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2013 8:23 am    
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Lynn, can't wait to read your book! George Barnes was likely the first to record commercially on electric guitar. Check out this new website curated by his daughter Alexandra. I wrote an article for Fretboard Journal about her, him and the new Legacy Collection she's developed.

http://georgebarneslegacy.com

From Alexandra:
Quote:
A brilliant, innovative, consummate musician whose influential career spanned 44 years, electric guitar pioneer and jazz guitar great George Barnes was one of the first electric guitarists in history — and the first to record commercially, at the age of 16, with such blues greats as Big Bill Broonzy and Blind John Davis. Before Charlie Christian, who adored and lauded him. Before Les Paul, who admired and envied him. Inspired by Bix Beiderbecke, Sidney Bechet and Lonnie Johnson. Inspiring countless guitarists, from Chet Atkins to George Benson to John Pizzarelli…you name ‘em, they listened to him, loved him, and learned from him.

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Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2013 11:58 am    
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Lynn, Thank you for sharing the pictures and the story. That's amazing!
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Ron Whitfield


From:
Kaaawa, Hawaii, USA
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2013 12:42 pm    
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It's contributions like Lynn's that make our little forum retain it's 1st place in all netdom, and Alvino certainly deserves the accolades Lynn has so rightly attributed, and more, so that impending book is greatly anticipated. Too bad books are falling victim to the net, to have a needed book on Rey be jeopardized is sad indeed. Maybe youtube/or? is a viable option.
Andy mentioned the Fretboard Journal, and I believe the still current issue has a short but fine article on Lynn and some of his astounding collection, including some steels.

I'll always remember sitting next to him as we conversed and enjoyed that year's Jerry Byrd Steel Hoolaule'a, wishing I knew more than a mere fraction of his greatness. He really has never gotten all credits due him in our later era, but when you're that awesome things get left behind.
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Allen Hutchison


From:
Kilcoy, Qld, Australia
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2013 12:56 pm    
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Here's a SGF link to my most precious item. Scroll down till you see my avatar on the Rickenbacher B6 & Les Adams.
As Lynn said, I'm just a caretaker of this guitar & its history to me, is more valuable than its potential monetary value.
Cheers, Allen.

http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=205146&highlight=les+adams
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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 16 Aug 2013 10:07 am    
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All replies are great and appreciated. Thanks for your interest and time.
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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 5 Sep 2019 7:58 am    
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Having another nostalgic day. They seem to come more frequently as I get older. Pulled out my 1949 Silvertone
steel and played some. I personally think the tone is great. Decided to look up the current value and found it to
be $300-$500. A little bit shocked, since the actual cost was $29 from Sears in 1949. I currently have
4 Silvertones, 1 black, 1 blonde and 2 sunbursts.

1949 SILVERTONE


Here is a song played on this steel which I recorded in 2013. The tuning is A: E C# A E C# A

RELEASE ME

As a vintage steel with this quality of sound, they still seem fairly cheap to me.


I am happy with the tone. Do you have any of the old Silvertones, and what do
you think of the tones and prices?

C. E. Jackson Smile
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Allan Revich


From:
Toronto, Canada
Post  Posted 5 Sep 2019 4:58 pm    
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I guess it’s this fellow,


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Gibson BR9 1951, Rickenbacker NS 1948, Fender Champ 1957, National MOTS (Valco) 1964, Fanner 4 string ukulele lap steel.
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Terry VunCannon


From:
Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 5 Sep 2019 5:55 pm    
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Of all the laps I have, I think my National Dynamics are my most sentimental and valuable to me. Followed by my Harmos.


1949, 1951, 1960s...




Although the Harmos may have the most in terms of value & rareness.
But, then again, I may have to consider my Fender Stringmaster D6...

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Jerry Berger


From:
Nampa, Idaho USA
Post  Posted 6 Sep 2019 9:57 am     Favorite lap steel
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I bought this Fender Champion with my own money. I had a paper route so I put a little money down and made several monthly payments before it was actually mine.



Last edited by Jerry Berger on 9 Sep 2019 12:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tom Snook


From:
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Post  Posted 6 Sep 2019 12:12 pm    
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Jerry,very cool!So what was it about a lap steel over say a regular electric guitar? Who influenced you as a young steel player? I remember seeing Speedy West and Buddy Merrill on Lawrence Walk ,I guess that got me hooked.
ALOHA
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Jerry Berger


From:
Nampa, Idaho USA
Post  Posted 6 Sep 2019 1:02 pm    
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Tom,
My mom listened to the radio program "Hawaii Calls" every week and I guess she thought that it would be nice if I took steel guitar lessons. She bought me a Magnatone lap steel before I bought this Fender and paid for my weekly lessons. Very Happy
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