Rickenbacker Silver Hawaiian Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1937)

Rickenbacker  Silver Hawaiian Lap Steel Electric Guitar  (1937)
$1,600.00 + shipping
Buy Now
Item # 9393
Prices subject to change without notice.
Rickenbacker Silver Hawaiian Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1937), made in Los Angeles, serial # D-213, nickel plated finish, stamped metal body, original black hard shell case.

This is a very nice and fairly 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 stamped metal hollow body making it much lighter than the earlier Bakelite guitars. The 1 1/2" pre-war horseshoe pickup's mounting flange is marked "Pat. Pend" as in mid-1937 the long-awaited patent was not yet approved; it finally came through in August that year!

This guitar's serial number D-213 marks it as one of the first couple of hundred Silver Hawaiians built in early/mid 1937. It has a single volume control on the bass side with the original arrow-top black Bakelite knob; the next year a tone control was added as well. It also has the early style solid plated brass bridge and nut; later examples substituted molded plastic for these which knocked a bit of top-end brilliance off the tone. The metal headstock logo plate reads "Rickenbacher Electro" Los Angeles with lightning bolts surrounding an "RE" emblem.

The Silver Hawaiian was the next model designed after the Bakelite Model B, coming into production about two years later in 1937. Besides being lighter 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 affords 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 guitar is completely original and unaltered (except the strings!), showing some fairly minor wear overall. The plated finish has a some spots of corrosion and scuffing (mostly on the face) but for the most part still shines like the bumpers on a 1955 Cadillac. Some plating has flaked off the top of the metal nut. The original hard case has some external wear and the paper-covered handle is split across the middle but it is still completely functional. We wish all 80+ year old instruments survived this well! This Silver Hawaiian is a true connoisseur's delight in a prewar Hawaiian steel and a very fine sounding old Rickenbacker. It includes a nice original blue-lined HSC with some wear but still solid. Excellent - Condition.