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Lap Steel Question

 
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meatandpotatas



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 183
Location: The Great Northwest

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 2:15 am    Post subject: Lap Steel Question Reply with quote

I'm looking to get into a little steel playing, mainly hawaiian/blues/country/western swing. Don't want to spend much money, but I want an instrument that I won't have to upgrade down the road. Saw this Rickenbacker at a guitar show today, and it looks promising to my untrained eye. Has the old horseshoe design pickup, which I'm told is one of the ideal designs on a lap steel. Seems pretty clean and original. Reputable dealer that I can drive to without much hassle. So in anyone's educated opinion, is this a suitable instrument for my needs? He's asking $595 - is that a reasonable price?


http://www.philsguitars.com/laps.html


Thanks,
James
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Jerry Hayes



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 57
Location: Virginia Beach, Va.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James, if you're looking for a Rickenbacker that one's not the most coveted of their guitars. You'd either want a bakelight or frypan. If you're just wanting a lapsteel to play with a good tone and no problems I'd try the model that Gretsch makes. They're available at Guitar Center for around $249 or so and look and sound great. Also the electronics are modern so it'd probably be more gig worthy. Fender is also making a new version of their old six string lapsteel which goes for about the same as the one you pictured.

I've never seen a Rickenbacker that looks like that one are you sure it's a Rick? I don't see any logo on the headstock or anything.........JH in Va.
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rballister



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 174
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wander over to the steel guitar forum. Both the Gretsch and the Fender reissue lapsteels have been discussed there (neither too favorably).
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Dogbear



Joined: 23 Jun 2007
Posts: 275
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Picked this one up just recently. 1930's National Lap Steel.



Additional thread here:

http://www.tdpri.com/forum/bad-dog-cafe/105745-national-1930s-lap-steel.html
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meatandpotatas



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 183
Location: The Great Northwest

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies so far - that National is a work of art!

Jerry - I did run across a little info on old Ric steels, which showed a couple models like this, so I'm pretty sure it's legit. Phil has been in business a long time, and I trust he's being straight on this one.

Now, what makes this one less coveted? The guy I talked to about this did mention the Bakelite's being more desirable or "higher grade", but didn't really tell me why. He said they have the same pickup, which I've been told is one of the most desirable lap steel pickups.


Thanks,
James
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STEELEFT1



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 44
Location: GRAYSON GA

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James,
I am a pedal steel player, but also play lap steel. I am out of touch as to whether that is a fair market price, as I bought most of mine 20 years ago. That is a good piece that will hold its value. I have two Rickenbackers with horseshoe pickups, and they are really good.
Mine are different than the one pictured, one is a gold sheetmetal 1949 and the other a 37 bakelite.
I also like the Gibson Century models (mine are 1954 and 1959). They are the same scale as the Rick you pictured (which I prefer), but have the P90 pickup. I paid 90.00 and 120.00 for mine 20 years ago, but they are going for around the same price as the Rick pictured (I believe, on Ebay).
The Rickenbacher is a different sound, but both are great.
Good luck,
Lefty
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I forget the exact model, but it's a bottom-of-the-heap student that's been refinished. I had an Academy bakelite that was also a lower-end model...traded it for essentially $300 worth of stuff a year ago. Ric's wood guitars are not highly prized, and that one is a $250 guitar, maybe.

That is *a* horseshoe...but not THE horseshoe. There were a couple of versions, and that's the small-magnet type from what I can see. The bigger ones have an ungodly amount of output. I know Mur's Silver Hawaiian (I'm pretty sure that's what he has)and my Model 59 (essentially the same except for cosmetics - hollow metal body stuffed with rags to reduce feedback - really!)

Here are pics of my '39 model 59 Rickenbacher (note the "h" in the early spelling) - it was rusted hulk with a working pickup, so I took some tliberties with the finish and tuners (Rustoleum Hammertone Aqua and Gibson-branded Klusons). THIS is the pickup - it's loud and either sweet as a pineapple or as nasty as a rabid dog in a garbage dump. It does great swing, Hawaiian or especially David Lindley-style stuff. I tune it like my pedal steels, using the upper-6 strings of my 8 string B6 tuning. I like it better than C6; it has the root on the 2nd and 6th strings (low to high): B D# F# G# B D# and for most rock stuff I prefer E at the 5th fret.





If you want a Ric...and I think they are far superior to other lapsteels tonewise EXCEPT for Gibsons, which also are nice...Fenders are more Tele or Strat-sounding - keep digging for a metal-body or Bakelite model. You should be able to find one in playable shape for that price; in the $300-500 rrange you might also get lucky, although on the lower end of the price range I'd figure on needing replacement tuner buttons (a no-brainer) and on metal guitars a possible refinish. Do not wory about killing collector value on a refinish unless it just has a few chips and dings - then it's more valuable when original. But if it's like this, do whatever you like - it's easy. Took me a whole weekend in 1-hour chunks (probably 4-6 hours total) from the time I started pulling the first part until it was done. I let the finish really dry for a few days before I played it much, but the paint was a quick-dry and I had parts on it an hour after painting.

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Don Miller



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 238
Location: Anchorage, Alaska

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Jim..Thats a beautiful steel..

Your 6 string B6 tuning is just like the C6 tuning in the Scotty's Music instructional stuff but tuned down 1/2 step. (that stuff is in CEGACE or the Jerry Byrd variation C#EGACE (C6/A7)) There are numerous variations on C6 tho

I forgot the exact spelling of Sneaky Petes B6 tuning...I assume the loer strings are F# and G#??

Lately Ive been doing most of my sliding on a dobro, in high bass G...so I tuned my 6 string lap steel to high bass G as well...my 8 string is still in C6, same tuning as above with a low A and high G thrown in altho its been a while since its been out of the case...
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Don. When I got it it was a total rustbucket, so I didn't worry about the Vintage Police (they're not as rabid in the steel world anyway) an went with what I liked; the t-shirts and cotton that cut feedback and create the position marker colors I replaced with a "donor" Bad at red T Shirt; The Gibson Klusons fit existing holes, lthough the shafts are a hair short...but they work.) For such a wreck it's amazing the electronics were fine!

Regarding the tuning, it makes sense that the B6 pretty much matches Jerry Byrd's C6 inversion since he was Pete's favorite player(interesting when you consider the drastic differences in style.) I wonder what tunings Pete used on his old triple-neck?

Oddly, every C6 instruction course I bought had a different string/note sequence, making them useless to me and assuming they would be the same I bought a BUNCH at once!). I had been told Pete's 4, 5, 6 and 7 pedals were th normal C6 changes as well....another mistake. I guess I really should dump the C6 stuff I have...I might look into Scotty's, although I find all his material really dated. But since all I have is my ear to go on it might be worth it. Don, which specific stuff has the same tuning? I'd like to avoid wasting any more money!

J-
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STEELEFT1



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 44
Location: GRAYSON GA

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim,
I believe your prices quoted are what the lap guitars should be going for. Have you checked Ebay, or SGF for todays going prices?
You won't find a bakelite for 500.00 unless it is cracked.
Lefty
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Don Miller



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 238
Location: Anchorage, Alaska

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim..the material from Scottys I was referring to was some non pedal instructional stuff..I got 2-3 books of standards...some country-some Hawaiian in the C6 (CEGACE) or C6/A7 tunings..came with a cassette tape....

I went thru the thing that I think alot of non pedal 6th tuning players go thru...until you nail the blocking and the grips, that 6th note in the middle keeps popping up and everything sounds hawaiian whether you want it or not...Im still not there yet so my entire 6th tuning repitoure(sp?) all sounds like "Moonlight over Maui"

It facinates me that Sneaky played in a 6th tuning and got the sounds he did..unlike anyone else playing either pedal or nonpedal C6...If I recall correctly he used "sort of E9" changes on his pedals...I know virtual nothing about c6 pedal steel...altho I was watching Stu Shulman at a jam a while ago and and I was surprised to see him doing alot of C6 ...its obviously more than the big chord jazzy sounding stuff one might normally associate with C6th pedal steel......
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