1955 Oahu (Valco/National-made) Lap Steel Guitar

I worked on a whole bunch of old National-made lap steels some years ago and I can tell you this -- they have their own, distinct tone. I think of these pickups as "toasty" or "airy" sounding -- they're a bit like a DeArmond in that once you add just a little grit, they're instant blues-machines with great string to string balance and aggressive mids. Played clean, however, they do a nice, rootsy, country or Hawaiian thing as well.

While this was just in for some new tuners, it wound-up getting new (same-type) vintage knobs and a new wiring harness because the original pots and knobs were damaged in shipping. It sounds better, now (a little more "open"), so I guess it's a win in the end.

This has a 23" scale and the body appears to be poplar under that paint. The serial number at the back of the headstock dates it to '55. The new tuners are Gotoh relic'd units and are basically direct replacements of the old Klusons that were on it. The new pots are 500k vs the 250k and it has a good, 010 Mallory cap, now.

Bone nut and... upside-down Oahu label!