Rickenbacker Model B-6 Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1945-6)

Rickenbacker  Model B-6 Lap Steel Electric Guitar  (1945-6)
$1,950.00 + shipping
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Item # 11779
Prices subject to change without notice.
Rickenbacker Model B-6 Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1945-6), made in Los Angeles, California, polished black finish, molded Bakelite body and neck, black gig bag case.

This is a very interesting transitional Rickenbacker (still spelled "Rickenbacher" on the 1930s style nameplate) *just* post-WWII Model B-6 six-string Bakelite steel guitar. These instruments were the professional standard of their day and are still generally considered by many players the finest sounding lap steel ever made. From So Hoopii to David Lindley, Jerry Byrd to Larkin Poe the original Bakelite Rickenbacker has consistently proved itself the ruler of the lap steel roost.

This 1945-6 era B-6 has an unusual mix of pre-and post-war features we have never seen before in a single instrument. This was likely one of the first post-war B-6 models shipped, assembled with whatever components were at hand. The molded black Bakelite body and neck are pre-war pieces with the strings loading thru the body, a design altered soon after with a new integral pickup housing/tailpiece taking the string ends. The hollow body cavities are covered by off-white enameled metal plates, as with the 1940 era guitars (the final pre-war ones were plastic). The screwed-on Bakelite neck has integral molded frets and nut with inset white position dots. The headstock is fitted with wartime riveted Kluson tuners, a style common on Martin and Gibson guitars from the 1940s but rarely seen on Rickenbackers.

The body is molded to receive the original 1 1/2" horseshoe magnet pickup found on pre-war guitars, but is actually fitted with the earliest 1 1/4" post-war version, leaving a noticeable gap around the front and back edges. The older pre-war mounting flanges with patent numbers are fitted with the original knurled knobs for height adjustment. The pickup itself has the post-war stamped baseplate and narrower magnets typical of the later 1940s. All electronic components appear original but we believe the pickup was likely re-wound along the way due to the fabric the coil is wrapped in.

The volume and tone controls are on the treble side as they had been since the late 1930s, equipped with the original knurled black plastic knobs. Unlike earlier models the output jack is more conveniently mounted on the treble side of the body. The body is still marked below the bridge pre-war style with the original 1930s patent number. This is a predictably great sounding steel, A bit brighter than many 1930's examples but still with the string-through-body character. This first post-war version of the Bakelite B-6 is a very cool and rare transitional 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 very little wear overall and sounds and plays and sounds excellent. The Bakelite body and neck show light scuffing and handling wear overall with no chips or breaks. The enameled metal top plates show some very minor flaking with a tiny touch up here and there. The two bass strings have had small slots neatly cut under them in the molded bridge; these don't affect function as is but could be filled in if desired.

The plating on the pickup magnets and flange is very clean, the original WWII era tuners are intact and functional with a bit of corrosion on a couple of the baseplates. The guitar remains original except as far as we can tell the pickup has been very neatly rewound, with newer fabric around the original coil and all the cloth-covered wire leads preserved. This appears to be a top pro job and it sounds excellent. This is a neat example overall, a superb example of a rare variation of the B-6 we had never previously encountered. This guitar came in minus any case, but a black gig bag will be provided. Overall Excellent Condition.