Bronson Singing Electric Lap Steel Electric Guitar, made by Valco (1952)

Bronson Singing Electric Lap Steel Electric Guitar, made by Valco  (1952)
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Item # 9696
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Bronson Singing Electric Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar, made by Valco (1952), made in Chicago, serial # X-14994, blue/grey celluloid finish, hardwood body, original brown hard shell case.

The Bronson Company was a Detroit-based spinoff of the Oahu publishing empire that did a similar business selling Hawaiian guitar arrangements to teaching studios, and instruments to go with them. Bronson products were always designed to be classy-looking, and are often of better quality than their Oahu counterparts. Bronson was fond of adding gold-plated accents to their instruments, and this steel presents a visual symphony of blue-grey pearloid and gold to stunning effect!

Most Bronson-labeled instruments were Hawaiian guitars, by the 1940s primarily electric lap steels. The firm was supplied by several different subcontractors including Rickenbacker and Regal. This fancy-looking 1952-era steel is an example of a mid-line Bronson -- most of them were basic student-grade models. It was made by Valco in Chicago and is generally similar to the Supro and National brand instruments that company marketed themselves. It uses the same great-sounding steel pickup unit with adjustable poles under a metal coverplate as many other Valco products, primarily Supro-branded ones. This unit has lately become popular on regular electric guitar custom builds -- often called "CooderCasters" -- for its powerful overdrive facility.

All the hardware on this guitar is gold-plated, including the entire pickup assembly. A plastic cover is fitted over the bridge and pickup area to protect the gold plating from rapid wear. The swirling pearloid patterns on the body are further offset by a gold-and-cream back-painted Lucite fingerboard and cream knobs. The headstock is faced in pearloid with the "Bronson Singing electric" logo beautifully incised and painted on a two-tone metal plate, and fitted with gold-plated Kluson deluxe tuners. This is a powerful-sounding and very unique-looking 1950s steel guitar, much classier than its Supro-branded sisters to look at anyway!
Overall length is 32 1/8 in. (81.6 cm.), 7 in. (17.8 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm.) in depth at side. Scale length is 23 in. (584 mm.). Width of nut is 1 7/8 in. (48 mm.).

This steel is all original except for one player-friendly alteration; the original screw-on Amphenol jack has been neatly replaced with a phone cord jack for ease of use. It is possible the tuner buttons are old replacements, but they look period anyway. Overall it is relatively clean with just light wear, general scuffing and some surface corrosion to the gold plating. It sounds great and comes with the original rectangular hard case. Excellent - Condition.