National Electric Hawaiian Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1938)

National  Electric Hawaiian Lap Steel Electric Guitar  (1938)
$2,450.00 + shipping
Buy Now
Item # 10425
Prices subject to change without notice.
National Electric Hawaiian Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1938), made in Chicago, serial # B1295, two tone finish, maple body, plastic facing, original tan hard shell case.

Here's something we rarely see -- the earliest "four knob" version of the supremely stylish first National wood-body lap steel, later dubbed the New Yorker. This seminal National is not only striking to look at but great-sounding as well, something of a landmark in electric instrument design. This replaced the elegant but cumbersome all-metal steels from National/Dobro in late 1937. It is faced in two-tone black and white plastic giving a high deco look, and "under the hood' has a elaborate multi-pickup rig designed to offer a greater range of sound than any other contemporary steel, none of which had more than one pickup.

The four knobs are labeled "Master Volume", "Natural Hawaiian" "Full Bass and "Full treble"; these blend the tones in fairly subtle ways but were a really elaborate setup compared to most contemporary instruments in an era when one pickup was considered plenty! The later New Yorker models made well into the '50s are fairly common still but this first version is comparatively quite rare, only made from late 1937 into mid-'38. This is a superb all original example, about as nice a pre-war steel from National/Dobro as we expect to see.
Overall length is 33 1/8 in. (84.1 cm.), 7 in. (17.8 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 23 in. (584 mm.). Width of nut is 2 1/4 in. (57 mm.).

This steel is in extremely fine condition for its age with just some light wear overall. There are minor scratches, dings and dents but really not a lot of evidence of much use singe the pre-war era. The interaction of the various controls is quite subtle, but all appear to be working as advertised. It includes a very clean original hard case with a period steel bar, picks, cloth-covered Amphenol cord (cool but probably not too useful after 85+ years) and the original instruction sheet from National/Dobro which is quite informative on the possibilities of pickup interactions without actually explaining how it works! This is a very nifty and exceptionally rare thing to find, and wishes "Yours For Better Music". Overall Excellent Condition.