Rickenbacker Silver Hawaiian Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1937)

Rickenbacker  Silver Hawaiian Lap Steel Electric Guitar  (1937)
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Item # 8885
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Rickenbacker Silver Hawaiian Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1937), made in Los Angeles, serial # D-698, nickel plated finish, stamped metal body, brown hard shell case.

This is a nice early example of the Rickenbacker Silver Hawaiian Steel Guitar, one of the company's most striking 1930s classics. The entire instrument is nickel-plated metal, with a headstock logo plate reading Rickenbacher "Electro" Los Angeles. The standard 1 1/2" prewar horseshoe pickup's mounting flange is marked within the recently assigned patent number, in place of the earlier "Pat. Pend". This first version has a single volume control on the bass side, with the original arrow-top black Bakelite knob. This example has a molded plastic bridge and nut, which mellows the sound slightly from the earlier metal fittings.

The Silver Hawaiian was the next model designed after the Bakelite Model B, coming into production about two years later in 1937. The stamped metal body was less expensive to build, resulting in a retail price 30-40% cheaper. The hollow body gives a more "reverb-y" sound than the earlier solid instruments, with a slightly more acoustic character. The plated metal gives a very flashy appearance; Rickenbacker's original description states "...delights the eye with its flashing beauty", and indeed this is a most striking-looking and fine-sounding prewar steel.
Overall length is 29 3/4 in. (75.6 cm.), 9 1/4 in. (23.5 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 1/8 in. (54 mm.).

This is a nice all-original example with some general wear but no damage or alterations. The plating has some small areas of loss to the top and edges, and there is some light residue on the back of the neck from an old felt pad that was glued there long ago. The original tuners are intact and working fine, as are the pickup and wiring. As with most period Rickenbackers this is a wonderful-sounding steel, still flashy as all get-out. Housed in a period HSC that is wider than needed but works well enough. Excellent - Condition.