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Post new topic Help needed Identifying A early Commodore Lapsteel
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Author Topic:  Help needed Identifying A early Commodore Lapsteel
Barry Warren

United Kingdom
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 12:16 pm     Reply with quote

Hello I am trying to get some information for a friend who owns this lovely old Commodore Hawaiian lap steel guitar which he will be selling at some point in the near future, we are trying to find out its age and other details to identify and list it properly before this is done.
It is obviously very old, it has been stored in its case in a garage, fortunately though it has protected it and it and it only has minor rust on the metal on the top of the neck & tuning pegs though it also has various knocks and chips consistent with age.
Everything on the guitar seems to be original, it was made beautifully & has lovely inlay on the neck & what looks like 2 hand made wooden knobs which turn at the bottom, A lead looks like it would have to be screwed on so I do not know if it could even be played, it measures approximately 75cm long and the body is 15 cm wide, on the back on the top neck there is a ripped sticker saying Maurice Liebert’s Studios 123 a Armagh St Christchurch, on the back it has purple felt stuck on it to protect the back of the body.
I gather from reading in these forums that Commodore steel guitars were manufactured between 1945 and 1966 by Bunny Milne trading as Milton Products and distributed NZ wide by Western Enterprises I imagine this must be a very early one but I have trawled through photos and although I can find photos of lap steels of around this age I cannot find any photos of one that looks anything like this so we would therefore really appreciate if anyone could help us. Many Thanks Barry

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Levi Gemmell

New Zealand
Post Posted 19 Sep 2017 8:05 pm     Reply with quote

I think I can help with this one.

I believe this is the first model of Commodore steel guitars, but it is different in a couple of ways. The first and a half, if you will.

I have seen the first model with black finish, and it differs only in colour and in the material which the controls are made out of. The black model has metal vertical rollers, unlike this which look to be wood as you say or Bakelite.

The body is solid rimu, a native NZ timber.

The way the guitars were licensed may have something to do with the colour, and may or may not be something to do with the store it was sold out of - incidentally, in my hometown. It no longer exists.

I have myself a third model, seen many differing examples of the second and third models, and seen later models too.

I expect this guitar to have been made between 1950-55, but may stand corrected.

Lastly, depending on what your friend wants, I may be very interested to buy this guitar!

Bunny Milne Commodore #287
Shot Jackson JB Frypan #A023
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