Gibson EH-150 Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1938)

Gibson  EH-150 Lap Steel Electric Guitar  (1938)
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Item # 12041
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Gibson EH-150 Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1938), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # DGE-4838, sunburst lacquer finish, maple body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original tweed hard shell case.

The EH-150 with the "Charlie Christian" style blade pickup is generally considered the best lap steel guitar in Gibson's history, one of the most successful and popular instruments of its type from the 1930's until now. This nicely preserved 1938 model would be one of the first mounting the second generation blade pickup with the smaller U-shaped magnet underneath but the same coil structure as earlier models. This also allowed Gibson to make the body a bit sturdier, doing away with the screwed-on back plate of the original 1936 design.

The tone and volume knobs on the treble side are (subtly) color coded brown and black; the output jack is still located on the bass side as it had been since the beginning. The individual Grover tuning machines are a style specific to the 1938 period with metal buttons and a nice Art Deco look. A then-new fitting of a chromed bridge cover is mounted over the cast tailpiece/bridge unit.

With a beautiful shaded maple top triple-bound in celluloid and fancy pearl peghead inlay this is a very attractive instrument, maintaining a typical Gibson look on a "new-fangled" electric. These semi-hollow maple steels from Kalamazoo have a rich, powerful tone with plenty of definition, and along with the Rickenbacker B-6 the EH-150 was generally considered the top professional choice of its era. This one has seen some much use over the last 85+ years but remains an excellent playing and sounding steel with a uniquely classy Gibsonic appeal.
Overall length is 32 in. (81.3 cm.), 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 22 1/2 in. (572 mm.). Width of nut is 2 in. (51 mm.).

This Gibson steel is in very nice condition for its age, now over 85 years along. The finish shows a number of small dings, dents and chips overall but as a whole the instrument exhibits only fairly light play wear. There is one mark (cigarette burn?) alongside the highest tuner on the headstock face. The treble side of the neck has one deep ding and some minor flaking near to body joint.

There is one old repaired split to the top, running along the treble edge off the bridge and pickguard, sealed but not finished over. The all original sunburst lacquer has a deep, rich patina and appears to have not too much fade much at all. The instrument remains totally original with no alterations and is complete in the original tweed case, a lovely pre-war package including a large vintage polish cloth marked for a Pennsylvania hardware store. Excellent Condition.