Rickenbacker Silver Hawaiian Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1938)

Rickenbacker  Silver Hawaiian Lap Steel Electric Guitar  (1938)

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Item # 7770
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Rickenbacker Silver Hawaiian Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1938), made in Los Angeles, serial # D416, nickel plated finish, stamped metal body, original brown soft shell case.

this is a heavily played but obviously also well loved example of a Rickenbacker Silver Hawaiian Steel Guitar, one of the most striking pure deco era instruments. The headstock logo plate reads Richenbacher " Electro" Los Angeles. The horseshoe pickup is the much-beloved prewar 1 1/2" magnet model with a mounting flange marked "Pat Pend", with the output jack on the bass side. The volume and tone controls are on either side of the pickup. This example has a metal bridge and nut; later examples substituted molded plastic for these components with some loss of tone.

The Silver Hawaiian was the next model designed after the Bakelite Model B, coming into production about two years later in 1937. The stamped metal body was less expensive to build, resulting in a retail price 30-40% cheaper than the Model B. The hollow chambered body gives a more 'reverby' sound than the earlier solid instruments, with a slightly more acoustic character. The plated metal gives a very flashy appearance- Rickenbacker's original description states "...delights the eye with its flashing beauty" and indeed this is a most striking looking and fine sounding prewar steel.
Overall length is 29 3/4 in. (75.6 cm.), 9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 22 1/2 in. (572 mm.). Width of nut is 2 1/8 in. (54 mm.). This is a well played-example of this flashy seminal steel. The finish shows a decent amount of scuffing and scratching, and some spots of wear the plating. He plating on the pickup cover is fairly well worn. One knob is period but not an exact match for the original, and one of the tuning pegs likewise is a slightly different version of the same type. The jack has been fairly neatly re-positioned further back on the bass side with a neatly faired-in patch in the old hole.

The only notable alteration is somewhat precious-the original colored dot position markers have all been replaced with rhinestones, for a more glittering stage act! The unmolested original pickup sounds fantastic, and even with its scars this is a great looking and even better sounding steel. The original thin-walled shaped case obviously got very damp and was re-covered in funky brown cloth, and is pretty battered but just about functional. Overall Very Good + Condition.