Gibson Century 6 Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1952)

Gibson  Century 6 Lap Steel Electric Guitar  (1952)
$1,750.00 + shipping
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Item # 10263
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson Century 6 Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1952), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, blue lacquer finish, maple body, original brown hard shell case.

Starting in the late 1940s, the BR-2 Century was one of Gibson's all-time strikingly modernistic creations; a truly unique concept in playable art. This lovely royal blue Populuxe delight from 1952 was the second iteration of that whimsical concept, launched in 1951. The Century lap steel was positioned as a midline-priced piece of futuristic design, a bit less deluxe than its upscale sister the Ultratone but featuring a similar oblong asymmetrical body and back-painted Lucite fingerboard.

The instrument's visual character was originally the work of the design firm Barnes & Reinicke, hired by Gibson at the end of WWII to add some new flavor to the company's recipe -- and boy, did they! This fairly short-lived version of the model features a deep blue/green lacquer finish on the body, set off with lighter blue, grey, and gold accents. The one-piece metal bridge and the pickup are covered by molded, back-painted plastic shell -- no unsightly electronics here!

That pickup is the familiar single coil Gibson P-90 with adjustable polepieces, situated under the blue-grey plastic cover with a gold floral design unique to this model. This always great-sounding unit provides the tonal muscle to back up the Century's slickly moderne looks. It is controlled by an unusual one-volume, dual-tone-knob circuit for an added range of sound, although the second tone control has a very subtle effect. This 1952 model has no serial number but can be dated by the combination of the older tall numbered amber plastic knobs and the newer lucite fingerboard introduced that year.

The 1950s-era Century was produced in relatively small numbers (228 shipped out this year), but remains one of Gibson's most unique and visually striking instruments. This one comes in its original rectangular hard case which is the little brother to other Gibson cases of the era, covered in brown with a pink plush lining.
Overall length is 32 1/4 in. (81.9 cm.), 8 1/8 in. (20.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 22 3/8 in. (568 mm.). Width of nut is 2 in. (51 mm.).

This is a good playing if somewhat worn in example of this Populuxe classic overall, showing some general wear but no major damage or repair. The original blue/green lacquer finish has greened somewhat over time and has a number of chips, scrapes and dings. There is a deep gouge on the lower body edge below the nut, and heavier wear at the bottom of the body.

The instrument is largely original; the tuner are the correct style repro Klusons with "Epiphone Deluxe" stamped in the covers. The original tone caps and knobs are present; the middle tone pot is original but the other two were changed. The clear knobs show some cracking in the plastic but are still intact and functional and everything works as intended. The fragile plastic bridge/pickup cover is not cracked as many are, and amazingly the original plastic jack plate is still intact.

This Century is still a fine-playing and sounding steel, with the typical warmer Gibson tone compared to contemporary Fender or Rickenbacker instruments. After nearly 70 years these Century and Ultratone models are still unique and in any musical gathering the most futuristic thing in the room! The original pink-lined brown case has some external wear and tear; it looks like the bottom end in particular got wet long ago but it is still intact and functional. Overall Very Good + Condition.