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Post new topic Can anyone identify this vintage lap steel?
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Author Topic:  Can anyone identify this vintage lap steel?
Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 18 Dec 2017 10:02 am     Reply with quote

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David Knutson


From:
Cowichan Valley, Canada
Post Posted 18 Dec 2017 4:46 pm     Reply with quote

Hard to tell from the picture, but my wild guess would be somebody's home build. It reminds me a bit of my old National Chicagoan in general shape, but the Valco vibe ends there, since, if I recall correctly, they pretty much all had pickups. Very Happy

Is there a pickup hidden under that plate with the knobs? And is that a nut riser at the nut?
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David K
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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post Posted 18 Dec 2017 5:33 pm     Reply with quote

David Knutson wrote:
Hard to tell from the picture, but my wild guess would be somebody's home build. It reminds me a bit of my old National Chicagoan in general shape, but the Valco vibe ends there, since, if I recall correctly, they pretty much all had pickups. Very Happy

Is there a pickup hidden under that plate with the knobs? And is that a nut riser at the nut?


Isn't that MOTS? Did guys experiment with that stuff at home? I thought that was just a factory type finish?
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David Knutson


From:
Cowichan Valley, Canada
Post Posted 18 Dec 2017 6:18 pm     Reply with quote

Ya, I also thought it was MOTS at first, but it looks worn through so maybe just a paint job? What's the finish, Jack? (assuming you have it nearby)
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David K
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 18 Dec 2017 6:41 pm     Reply with quote

Sorry guys, I can't answer any of your questions. All I have is the photo, which raises more questions than answers. It piqued my interest to the point I submitted a bid approximately equivalent to the cost of a couple of six-packs of Three Barrel Trashy Blond. Surprisingly, I won the auction. After it's delivered I will snap some pix and report back.
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David Knutson


From:
Cowichan Valley, Canada
Post Posted 18 Dec 2017 8:22 pm     Reply with quote

Good score, Jack! Just for the fun of it. Looking forward to some more pics.
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David K
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Noah Miller


From:
Rocky Hill, CT
Post Posted 19 Dec 2017 5:55 am     Reply with quote

It's definitely not a Valco product. I can't say who did build it, but it's not a manufacturer that I'm familiar with.
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www.OldFrets.com: the obscure side of vintage instruments.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 19 Dec 2017 9:03 am     Reply with quote

Thanks for chiming in, Noah. I thought if anyone would recognize it, it would be you.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 2 Jan 2018 4:08 pm     Reply with quote

Don't think it's a homebuilt. It has a similar finish to the Epitome lap steels that were distributed by Jackson Guldan of Columbus, Ohio. Instead of the gold paint underlying the white, like on the Epitome, this one has silver paint underneath. The pickup appears nearly identical to a prewar Gibson P-13. There are remnants of a decal on the headstock that has long since flaked off.

The pickup/control mounting plate was a chunk of 1/4" plywood paneling, so I fabricated a new one from Stew-Mac b/w/b/w/b pickguard material. The tone pot was frozen solid, so I replaced all the electronics (with the exception of the pickup) with top quality components.

The bridge was mounted about 1/2" too far from the nut, so I repositioned it properly. Pleased to report that it plays fine and it sounds great.



Unless someone makes me an offer I can't refuse, it'll be headed to the local music store for consignment on my next trip to town.
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Daniel McKee


From:
Corinth Mississippi
Post Posted 2 Jan 2018 8:06 pm     Reply with quote

In some ways it looks like a McKinney lap steel I have. A lot of those old steels had similar characteristics though.
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Paul Honeycutt


From:
Colorado, USA
Post Posted 5 Jan 2018 10:29 am     Reply with quote

I like the clear chicken head knobs. I've not seen those before.
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Daniel McKee


From:
Corinth Mississippi
Post Posted 5 Jan 2018 5:17 pm     Reply with quote



This is a McKinney lap steel I have. To me the body style and bridge closely resemble that of your lap steel. Also the placement of the volume and tone knob seem to be in the same position. I've done research on mine and not come up with much about them.[/img]
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 6 Jan 2018 11:08 am     Reply with quote

Paul Honeycutt wrote:
I like the clear chicken head knobs. I've not seen those before.

I decided to save the original brown Bakelite knobs for an upcoming project. I purchased the clear chickenhead knobs from Antique Electronics in Arizona a few years back and I agree that they look pretty cool for this application.


Daniel McKee wrote:
This is a McKinney lap steel I have. To me the body style and bridge closely resemble that of your lap steel. Also the placement of the volume and tone knob seem to be in the same position. I've done research on mine and not come up with much about them.

I agree that the body shapes of both instruments are quite similar, and the bridges appear identical. I've seen several McKinneys that were obviously produced by Valco, but agree with Noah that these two were not.

Regal, perhaps?
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Tom Wolverton


From:
San Diego, CA
Post Posted 6 Jan 2018 11:36 am     Reply with quote

I have a Kay that looks similar.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 6 Jan 2018 11:45 am     Reply with quote

David Knutson wrote:

Is there a pickup hidden under that plate with the knobs? And is that a nut riser at the nut?

Yes, there was a pickup hidden under the paneling. No riser, but the nut was very low-cut, like for Spanish as opposed to Hawaiian playing. I cut a new, much higher nut with wider string spacing from aluminum bar stock:

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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 6 Jan 2018 12:33 pm     Reply with quote

Tom Wolverton wrote:
I have a Kay that looks similar.

That's certainly a possibility.

I believe the mounting plate on Daniel's guitar may be the key to identifying these instruments.

Mine has oddball tuner strips. There is a hole through the top that is somewhat "J"-shaped down through the shaft to emerge on only one side. They're Klusons, but unlike any I've seen before. I can see why they never caught on, as it must have taken two hours to install an .024p in the third position.


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Noah Miller


From:
Rocky Hill, CT
Post Posted 6 Jan 2018 1:40 pm     Reply with quote

Definitely not a Kay either. I think you were probably right that it's a Guldan.
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Daniel McKee


From:
Corinth Mississippi
Post Posted 6 Jan 2018 4:04 pm     Reply with quote



Here is the headstock on mine. It has the same type of nut yours had. Mine no longer has the original tuning keys.
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