1938 Rickenbacker Electro Silver Lap Steel Electric Guitar

Yup -- these old Rickenbacher lap steels are iconic in the old-fashioned Hawaiian and country scenes. They're beautiful, they shine like gems, they're supremely deco in their futuristic look for the time, and they also sound disgustingly good. They make you want to play them despite whatever poor skills you might have as a lap player (I'm raising my hand, here).

This one was sold to its owner as a '38 and I concur -- it's a '38 or '39, "two knob" Electro and has the original, wide, 1 1/2" horseshoe magnets. Some things have been changed, however, but overall it's an authentic instrument and is ready to roll. The tuners are later, '50s-style Waverly units. The wiring harness has also been replaced and the coil for the pickup (including bobbin and polepieces) looks like a very clever, high-quality replacement as well. I know all this because the original equipment is stored in the case, but at a glance I would not have suspected at all -- it's well-done and sounds right.

Not a whole ton of these survive nicely intact and this one, while having some blem to the plating here and there, looks great.

Repairs included: mild cleaning and adjustments.

Body: nickel-plated metal

Bridge: bakelite saddle and nut

Fretboard: raised indents

Pickups: 1x horseshoe-style (original mags, replaced coil)

String gauges: heavy-ish nickel electric strings (open E tuning)

Scale length: 22 3/8"

Nut width: 2"

Body width: 9 3/8"

Body depth: 1 7/8"

Weight: 6 lbs 14 oz

Condition notes: there's mild pitting and wear to the finish throughout. The pickup's coil and polepieces and bobbin are replacements. The wiring harness is a replacement and the tone knob functions backwards. The knobs are period Epiphone knobs but not original to this instrument. The tuners are later 1950s Waverly units (the originals are often damaged or missing, so no surprise there). There are a set of small holes drilled on the back of the instrument -- presumably to mount a pad for the lap or to fit it to a stand of some sort. They're not obvious. It's a handsome steel!

It comes with: its original hard case and the original wiring harness, bobbin, coil, and polepieces stuffed in it.


Unknown said…
Jake, is this one for sale? I didn't see it on the shop side. She's a beautiful silver Hawaiian lap steel. I have been wanting one of these if affordable lol. tom
Jake Wildwood said…
I had a ROFR on it and that guy is going to buy it, so it's on hold/sold. I'm sorry you missed it! If it comes back up again for some reason, I'll have a "Back in the Shack" announcement.
Unknown said…
Thanks Jake. I realize to strike while the iron is hot. I was able to get a 1939 bakelite rickenbacker all original for just over a grand. very good guitar and price. I love those silver hawaiian ones also. I check your fine site weekly. Happy Fall! Tom