1950s Fender Champion Mix-Mash 3-Course Lap Steel

Destroy your expectations! A customer bought this mid-'50s pearloid-covered Champ lap steel as a husk with its control plate, jack plate, and pickup missing. It did have the tuners and metal fingerboard, however.

He had a very specific project in mind -- to make a doubled-course, mando-ized lap steel for recording purposes. It's currently 3-courses and tuned EBE in unison (that's a step above guitar's D string on the low side). This is really fun to play and sounds like nothing else. The range is nice because it's like "chorus lap steel" in the first octave and like "mandolin lap steel" in the second octave.

Other mods to this project included using a later-style (non-covered) Champ control plate, new wiring harness, and a Seymour Duncan Lil '59 Strat-sized humbucker.

Work included: fitting the non-standard control plate, recutting the fingerboard to match it, routing to fit the new control layout, wiring and pickup install, and modification of the saddle-mounting system to get it located in the right place to match the fingerboard's scale length. The knobs are modern relic dome-top ones and the jack-cup is new. It has a juicy, full sound and, if desired, the whole thing can be swapped back to a "normal" lap steel simply by restringing and not using the extra slots on the bridge and nut I cut for mando-ization.