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Author Topic:  My Most Valuable Lap Steel. Please Share Yours
David Knutson


From:
Cowichan Valley, Canada
Post  Posted 6 Sep 2019 1:26 pm    
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For electric lap steels I'm down to just one 8 string and one 6 string, both of which I built. Of the two, it's the 8 string I'd never part with. That Lollar Console Grand pickup is so lovely.

That said, my old, beat up '28 National Style One thrills me every time I play it.


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David Knutson


From:
Cowichan Valley, Canada
Post  Posted 6 Sep 2019 4:48 pm    
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Thanks to whoever fixed my photo (Brad?). And thank you, C.E. for resurrecting your original thread. There are some nice steels showing up so far on version 2. Keep 'em coming, gang.
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 6 Sep 2019 7:53 pm    
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Valuable is a tricky word for this!

My Clinesmith frypan is technically the, well, most monetarily valuable, and its probably the most useful to me as a player...it's my primary instrument and I love it.

My Fender Stringmaster T8 was the guitar I purchased when I decided to jump full speed ahead into learning steel guitar. It's chewed up from a rough former life but two years ago (has it only been that long?) when I got it it was the instrument that launched me on this!

My Magnatone D8 was the holy grail that sorta gnawed at me until I finally found one and got it, because it represented the sound and the style I was and am in endless pursuit of...Jules Ah See. It's perhaps not as imbued with musical magic as the one Alan Akaka has, that actually was Jules' guitar, but I still get a nice feeling playing it just for the connection to a musical hero...adore that guitar.

My cheap, serviceable SX 8 string lap steel is not flashy, but it's the guitar that sits in my living room and gets played more than any other, and it also is the one that flew with me to Hawaii and played Hawaiian music at the statue of Alfred Apaka in the Hawaiian Village on his 100th birthday so it is a sentimental favorite.

And then there's my Morrell lap steel which has been with me for 20 years or so...bought on a whim, but it was the latent seed that eventually blossomed into this! I have an import tricone that I sure like a lot but there's not really any area of sentiment or value where it stands out, it's just a good guitar that fills a niche.

So yeah, I can't pick one. I'm very fortunate. If I tell anyone I need another steel guitar, slap me, I'm hysterical. Smile
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Terry VunCannon


From:
Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 7 Sep 2019 7:22 am    
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Love the Alvino pictures Lynn. Thanks.
I was wondering, what does the knob & switch on the outer shell do? Does that control the lap, or the knob on the lap itself?
Thanks...
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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 8 Sep 2019 2:23 pm    
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Thanks to Allan, Terry, Tom, Jerry, David, and Nic for comments
and photos. Forum members certainly have a wide diversity of
steels.

Jerry, monthly payments for your steel reminds me of monthly
payments which I made for a bicycle in grade school. I was
working on the family farm for $5 a week (kind of hard times in
the late 1940s). I paid Firestone $50 for an American Flyer.
Every week Firestone let me pay $5 until it was paid out. Took
me most of the summer.

C. E. Jackson Smile
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Brentley Dahmer


From:
Richmond, VA
Post  Posted 9 Sep 2019 12:38 pm    
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Nothing too spectacular but I was psyched to get this for a pretty good deal.
::Under Construction:: as you can see.
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John Limbach


From:
Billings, Montana, USA
Post  Posted 9 Sep 2019 1:56 pm    
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My 1934 Rickenbacker A22 Frypan





That came with the original Rickenbacker "Speaker" amplifier from the same year:



and a close second:

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Marc Bell


From:
Surat Thani, TH
Post  Posted 9 Sep 2019 5:55 pm    
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There are not so many Smeck-heads around these days, so value here is unlikely to be so high in cash terms. But, in terms of rarity and general interest there is plenty of value here. I have an old hardback Gibson book that states there is only 1 of these in existence but reading the Duchessoir book it appears there are somewhere between 7 and 10 in existence.



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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 10 Sep 2019 6:44 am    
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Thanks to Brentley, John, and Marc for photos of these great old vintage steels.

Marc, I have seen EH-150 Roy Smeck steels, but I don't remember seeing another
with ROY SMECK SPECIAL on peg-head. According to Duchossoir, they are rather
rare. These steels had the large 4.50" x 1.25" bar magnets for the pickups and screwed
on backs, like yours. You should be proud to own this steel.

C. E. Jackson Smile
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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 17 Sep 2019 7:29 am    
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If I put aside memories, emotions, sentiment, and look at reality of value, my most valuable
steels would probably be between these two, based on quality and numbers shipped.

GIBSON EH-185 (v.1a) 10 STRING C.C. pu: c. 1940
Gibson Records indicate Only 4 of These Beautiful Steels Were Shipped



GIBSON EH-185N (v.2) 8 STRING ES-300 pu NATURAL: c. 1941
Gibson Only Shipped 2 of These Beautiful Natural Finish Steels



Duchossoir stated: "An exceedingly rare eight-string EH-185N custom-built in 1941 with natural finish and
a gold-painted Hyblum metal plate."


Additional information on these 2 steels can be found in "GIBSON ELECTRIC STEEL GUITARS: 1935-1967"
By A. R. Duchossoir.

Which of these 2 steels do you think is more valuable, and what do you think the value is?

I don't plan to sell either during my lifetime. My wife has jokingly said "If you go first, I will probably
have a yard sale and sell your steels as wall hangers for $5.00 ea."

C. E. Jackson Smile
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Jonathan Scherer


From:
Stehekin, Washington
Post  Posted 17 Sep 2019 5:16 pm    
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This is a very enjoyable topic. Thank you C.E.

That GIBSON EH-185N Natural really sings to my eye the most,
no idea of the $ value.

I have three guitars and my favorite is the National Dynamic.

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Phillip Vaught


From:
Dallas,Texas, USA
Post  Posted 18 Sep 2019 9:54 am     Georgeboards
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what a guitar, course we are all biased but my choice of steel for the sound I like... phillip
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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 19 Sep 2019 5:17 am    
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Jonathan Scherer wrote:
This is a very enjoyable topic. Thank you C.E.

That GIBSON EH-185N Natural really sings to my eye the most,
no idea of the $ value.

I have three guitars and my favorite is the National Dynamic.


Jonathan, thank you for the kind comment regarding the post, and your opinion regarding my GIBSON EH-185N NATURAL.

Your National Dynamic is a beautiful and colorful instrument. I own 3 Nationals and enjoy playing them.

C. E. Jackson Smile
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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 19 Sep 2019 9:19 am     Re: Georgeboards
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Phillip Vaught wrote:

what a guitar, course we are all biased but my choice of steel for the sound I like... phillip


Phillip, that is a fine looking steel, and I hear great things about Georgeboards. I really like the tuner setup for straight
pulls on the strings. Anchoring the strings through the body is also a good design. I have never played a Georgeboards,
but would like to play one.

C. E. Jackson Smile
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Allan Revich


From:
Victoria, Canada
Post  Posted 20 Sep 2019 7:07 am    
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As of today...
This:



1950s 7 string. Rickenbacker B7
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Bill Sinclair


From:
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 20 Sep 2019 10:08 am    
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Lots of cool guitars in this thread. Of about a dozen lap steels I own, some players and some projects, this is the one I value the most. It appears to have at one time been a Rickenbacker model 100 from the 50's or 60's that the previous owner (a very talented custom guitar artist) had played in bands in the 70's and decided to add these attractive ladies to it in the Art Nouveau style of Alphonse Mucha. Carved and burnt wood designs with brass and mother of pearl inlays. Takes my breath away every time I open the case!


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Larry Carlson


From:
My Computer
Post  Posted 20 Sep 2019 10:24 am    
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.
My goodness Bill that is a beautiful guitar.
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Joe Elk


From:
Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 20 Sep 2019 12:06 pm    
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I pretty certain NO positive that would be mine too!!!!!!
We will be in Prague in about two weeks I will be visiting the Muncha Museum been there several years ago. I doubt it will be there.
Joe Elk Central Ohio
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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 20 Sep 2019 2:46 pm    
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Allan Revich wrote:
As of today...
This:



1950s 7 string. Rickenbacker B7


Thanks for posting, Allan. I have a 7 string model B. Mine has white knobs. The spacing near the nut gives
me adequate room to make 2 fret slants. Rick could have made a great improvement if they had anchored
the strings through the body, in my opinion. I think these steels are great sounding.

RICKENBACHER MODEL B (white plates) 7 STRING: c. 1946


C. E. Jackson Smile
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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 21 Sep 2019 4:06 am    
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Bill Sinclair wrote:
Lots of cool guitars in this thread. Of about a dozen lap steels I own, some players and some projects, this is the one I value the most. It appears to have at one time been a Rickenbacker model 100 from the 50's or 60's that the previous owner (a very talented custom guitar artist) had played in bands in the 70's and decided to add these attractive ladies to it in the Art Nouveau style of Alphonse Mucha. Carved and burnt wood designs with brass and mother of pearl inlays. Takes my breath away every time I open the case!




Thanks for posting the photos Bill. That is one of the most most highly decorated steels I have seen.
The case looks in great shape, and I like steels that have the strings anchoring through the body.
You should be very proud to own it.

Thanks to Larry and Joe for comments.

C. E. Jackson Smile
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Fred Kinbom


From:
Berlin, Germany, via Stockholm, Sweden.
Post  Posted 21 Sep 2019 6:43 am    
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Great topic!

And Lynn - thanks for sharing the amazing Alvino Rey steel and story, and count me in as very interested in your book too!

"Valuable" can have many meanings, and my custom Lap King electrics built for me by Jason Dumont are of course very dear to me, but I will here share another steel - my 1939 Vega Console Electric - which was an expensive instrument at the time it was made ($145 in 1939's catalogue), is fairly rare, and most importantly - great sounding, and with a unique sound and design.



In addition to the many unique design features, it has a humbucker pickup, long before the first patented humbucker, and it has a very special, well rounded tone, without any harshness but still crisp. Very warm for a bridge pickup, and plenty of "woody airiness". I have been using it a lot in a new collaborative project with a pianist this year, where it fits great, and it could recently be heard in a German TV documentary soundtrack we made.

The console body shape - it is the only console steel I own - makes it a different, more "piano like" experience to play than lap steels with a narrow neck, and I find it makes me play differently when I play this Vega.

Also I recently discovered that it sounds great to record straight into the preamp of the recording interface. Shocked This is something I would not even have considered before, but we did it during a writing session as I had no amp with me, and it sounds fantastic that way too.

Here is a photo of the pickup too:


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Larry Carlson


From:
My Computer
Post  Posted 21 Sep 2019 9:10 am    
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.
.
My most valuable monetarily is my Duesenberg Fairytale.
The guitar that has the most meaning for me is my 1939 Rickenbacher Silver Hawaiian.
It's the only thing in our home that is older than I am and I love it's tone.
The pic below is from a few years ago when I got it back together and playing.




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Sometimes it works.
Sometimes it doesn't.
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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 22 Sep 2019 12:05 pm    
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Thanks to Fred and Larry for their comments and photos. Fred also has an interesting website.

Members of the Forum certainly have a diverse variety of favorite and most valuable steels.

According to his book published in 2005 by Don Helms, there were possibly 7,000 steel guitar
players in the world in 1984. If anyone has more recent statistics please let us know.

I wonder if the number has gone up or down since that time?

C. E. Jackson Smile
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Dennis Brion


From:
Atwater, Ohio USA
Post  Posted 22 Sep 2019 1:22 pm    
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Here is mine 1941 Gibson 125 EH
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Terry VunCannon


From:
Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 22 Sep 2019 1:25 pm    
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I think that number may have gone up C.E. I ADMIN a facebook lap steel site, and it has over 6,500 members. And it is only lap steel theme, and I can't imagine that we have reached a fraction of the players. Of, course the site is world wide.
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