Rickenbacker Model A-25 Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1950's)

Rickenbacker  Model A-25 Lap Steel Electric Guitar  (1950

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Item # 7577
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Rickenbacker Model A-25 Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1950's), made in Los Angeles, natural aluminum finish, cast aluminum body.

The Rickenbacher A-25 Electro Hawaiian Guitar, nicknamed the "Frying Pan", remains one of the most historically important of all 20th century guitars. Originally issued in 1932, this was the first commercially successful electrified string instrument. The model was initially officially discontinued by Rickenbacker in the mid-1930's, replaced by the B-series Bakelite Hawaiians and the cheaper pressed metal steels that followed. Some players, however, still loved the sound and look of the "Frying Pan" and consistent demand caused Rickenbacker to continue to build the "A" series aluminum models in small batches, finally even re-listing the guitar in catalogs for a time in the 1950's .

This A-25 is one of those 1950's examples, built somewhat differently than the originals but still fabulous looking and sounding. The entire instrument is fabricated in one piece of cast aluminum, with a separate brass nut and saddle. The neck on this later version is cast thinner than the original, the fingerboard still simply consisting of raised ridges for frets and small dot recesses for position markers. This one has some inconsistent spots in the casting on the back of the neck, and the entire reverse surface was once covered in flocking-probably intended to cover the casting marks up as much as to keep it from sliding around on the player's lap!

The diminutive round body is hollow, the back covered by a molded Bakelite access plate. The original 1930's A-25 body was cast in a single hollowed-out piece, so this re-design made the wiring up and assembly much easier. It carries the post-war style 1 1/4" horseshoe magnet pickup in a chrome surround, with volume and tone controls on either side mounting the typical 1950's Rickenbacker "Flying Saucer" knobs.

The slotted headstock is fitted with older 1930's style open gear strip tuners with ivoroid buttons. The logo decal on the face reads "Richenbacher Electro, Los Angeles" still using the 1930's spelling, and is adorned with two small lightning bolts. This example shows some use but is completely playable and sounds fantastic, still one of the best-sounding lap steels ever produced. The 1932 introduction of the A-25 created the market for the electric guitar, and despite all that have come since the design still more than holds its own as both a player's instrument and a work of engineering art.
Overall length is 31 3/8 in. (79.7 cm.), 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm.) width, and 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 13/16 in. (46 mm.). This is a decently well preserved example of this very rare instrument, with some wear but no major repairs. The flocked covering sprayed on the back of the neck is mostly worn away, and there are threaded holes at either end of the "pan' (for a strap/cord?) that look original but are open. The finish shows light wear and minor corrosion but looks great overall, and the original pickup sounds fantastic. A cool and unusual example of this much-requested instrument. Excellent - Condition.