Unlabelled Lap Steel Electric Guitar, made by Harmony (1939)

 Unlabelled Lap Steel Electric Guitar, made by Harmony  (1939)
$1,250.00 + shipping
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Item # 10511
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Unlabelled Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar, made by Harmony (1939), made in Chicago, sunburst lacquer with faux grain stenciling finish, hardwood body, black gig bag case.

This is an early Harmony-made lap steel with the company's proprietary large multi-coil pickup, an interesting and unusually advanced design for this often conservative builder! This was probably sold by Sears under the Supertone label, but the guitar itself has no brand markings.

The first Harmony made steel was a fancifully baroque metal body instrument; after that ran its course the company settled on several more prosaic wood body designs. The layout of this guitar-shaped body with a decorative edge carving and a plain square neck is simple enough, but the company really went to town on the pickup engineering!

The large pickup has three coils (each serving two strings) wired in series, topped with a screw pole and metal washer. It also has a fairly complex magnet structure, with an additional magnetized bar under the cover to widen the pickup field even farther. All this makes for a pickup with a fairly juicy output, especially considering it is mounted on a guitar that looks to have sold in the $55 range, WITH the amplifier included!

The wood body is decorated with some added painted-on grain inside the dark sunburst finish. The nut is bone, the bridge a large block of solid metal with the strings fed through holes in the back of the body. The conventionally shaped headstock carries individual Grover tuners with sintered metal buttons, the same ones used on some period Rickenbackers. The electronics are mounted under a translucent tortoise celluloid cover with typical period knobs. This is a more interesting "generic' pre-war steel than most, with some really original engineering hidden under its plain exterior.
Overall length is 31 1/4 in. (79.4 cm.), 9 in. (22.9 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 22 3/4 in. (578 mm.). Width of nut is 1 13/16 in. (46 mm.).

This 80+ year old steel appears all original with some general wear and tear. The original finish has dings, dents and scratches (heaviest near the side-mounted jack) but no large areas of wear. The metal parts show some typical minor corrosion; the celluloid plate on the top has an area at the top end in the early stages of outgassing. Overall this interesting and historic if obscure steel presents very well, and sounds great in the bargain! Excellent - Condition.