Rickenbacker Model B-6 Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1940)

Rickenbacker  Model B-6 Lap Steel Electric Guitar  (1940)
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$2,250.00 + shipping
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Item # 10704
Prices subject to change without notice.
Rickenbacker Model B-6 Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1940), made in Los Angeles, California, serial # C-3664, polished black finish, molded Bakelite body and neck, black hard shell case.

This is a very nice original Rickenbacker (still spelled Rickenbacher on the nameplate) *just* pre-WWII Model B-6 six-string Bakelite steel guitar. These instruments were the professional standard of their day and are still generally considered the finest sounding lap steel ever made. From So Hoopii to David Lindley, Jerry Bryd to Larkin Poe the pre-war Bakelite Rickenbacker has consistently proved itself as the ruler of the lap steel roost.

This 1940-era B-6 features the famous 1 1/2" horseshoe magnet pickup found only on pre-war guitars and strings loading thru the body, the combination of features considered to produce the finest sound. The body is molded black Bakelite with hollow cavities covered by off-white enameled metal plates. These plates were changed to molded plastic sometime in 1942 confirming this guitar's 1940-41 build date. The screwed-on Bakelite neck has integral molded frets and nut with inset white position dots. This guitar has the latest style of tuners used, individual Grover units with cloverleaf bases and white plastic buttons.

The horseshoe pickup is adjustable for height with knurled knobs on the sides. The volume and tone controls are both on the treble side, equipped with the original contrasting knurled black and white plastic knobs. Unlike earlier models the output jack is now mounted more conveniently on the treble side of the body. The body is marked below the bridge with a 1932 patent number, pickup mounting flange is marked with another patent number awarded in 1937. This is a predictably great sounding steel, the final version of the pre-war Bakelite style and a nice example of the most sought-after player's instrument of its type.
 
Overall length is 29 3/4 in. (75.6 cm.), 9 1/2 in. (24.1 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 1/4 in. (57 mm.).

This steel shows some fairly light average wear but sounds and plays and sounds excellent. The Bakelite body and neck show light scuffing overall but no chips or breaks, there is some rub wear to the treble side of the headstock edge by the highest tuner. The metal top plates show some light flaking to the enamel, mostly on the bass side where there is corrosion from moisture in some spots. The screw tip is missing at the back edge of the topmost plate.

The plating on the pickup magnets and flange is very clean, the original tuners are intact and functional with a bit of what we can only describe as old schmutz stubbornly clinging to a couple of them. The guitar remains original including the pickup and wiring except for a new volume pot; the 1940 original is included but has solidly frozen up. A bit electrical tape has been added to the front edge of the pickup coil but it has not been rewound, and sounds quite powerful. This is a neat example overall, housed in a slightly oversize but functional vintage viola case. Overall Excellent - Condition.