Natural Music Guild Lap Steel Electric Guitar and Amplifier Set, made by Magnatone (1950's)
Natural Music Guild Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar and Amplifier Set, made by Magnatone (1950's), made in Hollywood, CA, grey pearloid and vinyl finish, cream vinyl gig bag case. Item # 7839
The ultimate in a combo instrument-instead of an amp-in-case this intriguing creation offers an amp-and-guitar combo, no case needed! "You say your kid's tired of carrying his steel guitar and amp to the lesson? Well how about this-we'll make them one solid unit, so it's an even more enticing load for a 12-year old!" While we're not sure that's the real reasoning behind this interesting but awkward creation, a teaching studio called the Natural Music Guild of Santa Anna California commissioned this all-in-one steel guitar from Magnatone in the early 1950's. It's perhaps a bit hard to see the logic, as the unit is far heavier and more difficult to carry around than a typical separate lap steel and small amp, but the Natural music folks must have had their reasons.
The steel guitar section on top is covered in flashy looking grey pearloid and bolted to the top of the oversized amp box. It's angled rectangular body is similar to several other Magnatone models, including one mounted to the amp with a height-adjustable post. The guitar is very teacher-friendly-cleverly tunable only with an Allen wrench so the young whippersnappers taking lessons couldn't mess around with re-tuning it themselves! The amp is Magnatone's "Student" model M-199-3-J mounted off to one side on the bottom of the box with a nice little Jansen 8" speaker off to the other. The steel -is hard-wired to the amp but there are two inputs on the faceplate so your friends can play as well! There are sockets for legs on the bottom but those are long gone-although an original flimsy gig bag is still included. The combo actually sounds great-Magnatone's pickups always shine and hoo boy talk about sustain! An electrical conversation piece of the first order and a real curio from the era just before Rock & Roll made this sort of thing yesterday's news.
Overall length is 28 in. (71.1 cm.), 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm.) width, and 12 in. (30.5 cm.) high. Scale length is 23 in. (584 mm.). Width of nut is 2 1/4 in. (57 mm.). Some wear overall but no major issues. The amp section has a new power cord, cap job and power tubes. Works fine and sounds great, with a tons of zing. More fun than most period student steel/amp combos-you also can just use the great-sounding Magnatone amp by itself, and the larger cabinet is a definite plus there. Head-scratchingly absurd perhaps but in an oddly delightful way! Excellent - Condition.
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