Rickenbacker Model B-7 Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1936)

Rickenbacker  Model B-7 Lap Steel Electric Guitar  (1936)
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Item # 8936
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Rickenbacker Model B-7 Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1936), made in Los Angeles, serial # B-559, polished black finish, molded Bakelite body and neck, original black hard shell case.

This is a relatively rare variation of the pre-war Rickenbacker Bakelite steel guitar, the most successful instrument in its class prior to WWII. The B-7 seven-string version was built in much smaller numbers than the standard B-6 -- in 1937 the extra string option cost you an additional $10! This is a fairly early example with the first-generation typical features for 1935-6. With the famous 1 1/2" horseshoe magnet pickup found only on prewar guitars and strings loading through the body, this B-7 has a combination of features considered to produce the ultimate Rickenbacker tone. These instruments are generally considered the finest-sounding lap steel guitar ever made.

The body is molded black Bakelite with hollow cavities covered by silver metal plates, the upper panels glued on instead of screwed as they would be later. The bolt-on neck has integral molded frets and nut with inset white position dots. This guitar is fitted with the first style of strip tuners used with metal buttons, the standard three on one side and a bank of four on the treble. The pickup is adjustable for height with knurled knobs, and the pickup mounting flange is marked "PAT PEND", which dates it to mid-1937 or earlier. The volume pot is on the treble side, there is no tone control, and the output jack is mounted on the bass side. This is a great-sounding steel and a fine example of the most sought-after guitar of its type, with a truly fantastic sound.
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 1/4 in. (57 mm.).

This is a clean and all-original guitar, with only some light wear overall. There is minor scuffing and scratching to the Bakelite and chrome surfaces, with one dent to the upper bass side coverplate but no heavy wear. The 7th string nut slot has never even been widened for a lower string as many have but is still set up for the original re-entrant 7th tuning. Everything except the strings on this instrument remains as it left Los Angeles around 1936, even the original cloth wiring with the ancient "pan" style volume pot. The original rectangular hard case is still functional, with one latch missing but a couple of old bars and string packets included. Excellent Condition.