1959 Fender Double 8 Stringmaster Lap Steel

Double-neck lap steels don't come my way that often, but this consigned one sure is a treat to have in the shop. I went through it this morning -- disassembling it, checking all the electronics and giving it a heavy cleaning. Then I strung it up with C6 (lower) and E9 (higher) string sets and gave it a whirl. Guess what? Instant classic country vibe. I like.

Under both tuner plates 1-59 (January '59) is penciled, giving us its age. There are a few mods on this guitar which I'll detail below, but it's more or less original and functions as-original.

Like I said before, I removed all the hardware and cleaned it up and lubed the tuners. There's a bunch of rust pitting in the bottom of the tuner plate recesses and a little on the edges, though the Kluson tuner units themselves are in good order.

Can't argue with the Electrosocket jack and diamond covers for the body-joint gizmo...

The bridge covers rotate up and show a little thumbwheel mounted to a volume pot. This allows switching/blend between 1-pickup (single coil) and 2-pickup (humbucking) mode. The volume and tone pots work just as they should.

The "lower" neck is tuned ACEGACEG for C6 tuning with a set of SIT semi-flattened strings and the "upper" neck is tuned BDEF#G#BEG# for E9 (like part of a 10-string pedal steel set) tuning with "Cobra Coil" strings.

The original 3-way switch was a Tele-style one that switched between either neck or both "on." The replacement is an on-off-on with both necks off in the middle. Actually, this mod is an improvement to my way of thinking...

I've removed the cover in this photo to show something "weird." Someone was going to convert this "upper" neck into a pedal steel and cut beneath the bridge to do so. They put a piece of bent steel back in place to replace the missing section, however, so it functions as-normal. Note also that these bridges are adjustable in case you have need to fine-tune position for your playing style.

Like other Fender console steels, the case loads the unit "upside-down" so you can easily mount/unmount the legs before popping it on- or off-stage.

Yeah, the original case is nice to have! It's in good shape, too.

I have no idea why someone would make Gibson-style rear "control" openings (maybe for that aforementioned pedal steel mod that never was?) but, nevertheless, they're there. They don't do anything to the stability of the instrument, however.

Someone got as far as cutting below the bridge in modding this neck. I quickly popped a bit of pine in the opening to keep the dust out, though it's not necessary -- this thing is 100% structurally good to go.

1-59 pencil marks...

The "upper" rout has been modified a little, but the wiring is original save the vintage on/off/on switch mod.

The "lower" neck is all-original from what I can tell. Of course, all the pups are true-blue, too.


Ivan said…
That is a sought after 24" scale instrument