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carol m

Lap Steel?

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carol m    64

I know I said I was all through with GAS but...

I just happened across this lapsteel guitar :rolleyes: - here's the blurb

" an Australian made slide from dated back to the late 1930's to early 1940's. It has all original attachments and is in good condition as it has been in storage for the last 15 years. The guitar is modeled from a Gibson shape with Rickenbacker finish. It has solid brass moustache plates and horshoe pickup. This was purchased new by my grandfather at a store in George St, Sydney".

He says he's had it valued and had a range of quotes, the lower end being about $500.

I need advice (and possibly counselling). Do you think it's worth that? Do you think it has Humbucker pickup (no wiki entry for moustache pickup). Do you think it would qualify as a 'Resonator' lapsteel? Do you think it's any sort of hollow body? do you think it would be better to get (theory only) a new bottom of the range lapsteel for about $350? Here are the pics:

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karcey    42

To one person it's worth nothing, to someone else it's worth much more than $500.

Maybe it's a fine collectible instrument and can't really be valued ... there aren't enough of these selling these days to observe an average price. On the other hand they may have been junk when they were made ....

If you buy it, then you decide that was a mistake, you always have the option of selling it later and in the process probably not losing any money. If it turns out that buying it isn't a mistake, then you have a nice addition to your collection.

However, if you want it to play, and you want it to sound better than the entry level guitars that are available new, then you'll have to hear its voice and decide for yourself. Helpful aren't I?

I'd buy it!

By the way, I have in my collection a banjo mandolin from the mid 50s. Almost as old as me. It's history, it's vintage, most of its brothers and sisters are gone now so it's getting rare. And I can't play it. But I love it. Who cares what its market value is? That only matters if I sell it, and I won't.

I didn't help at all did I!!!?

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carol m    64

Why can't you play it Karcey? (what I'm really asking is, which of you is too decrepid to make it play? :winkthumb: )

Can anyone decipher the writing on the headstock?

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boroboy41    1

I think the sticker on the headstock is from the store the guitar was bought from not a manufacturer. I think the first word on the sticker is "Nicholsons" and there was a music dealer of that name on George St, Sydney in the 1950's. Seems to tie up to me. I can't decipher anything else on the label

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boroboy41    1

Actually I think the letters to the right of the G string are LTD so I'd guess the ones just to the left are PTY giving "NICHOLSONS PTY LTD", definitely the name of the music store at 416 George St, Sydney

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allthumbs    8

A lap steel is basically a slab of solid wood with strings and a pickup. I had one many years ago. It is not a resonator. A resonator is a metal cone housed in the body of the guitar covered with a dinner plate sized metal cover. Both can be called lap steels though lap guitar is often used to describe resonator guitars. The quality of the brass fittings sounds good. As far as I know. age does not improve the quality of pickups and the fact that it has a pickup with no easily found history means that it probably is a generic pickup with no particular praise worthy qualities. As stated above, buy it if has mojo and a wonderful sound. I would not even consider it if I could not play it first.

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karcey    42
Why can't you play it Karcey? (what I'm really asking is, which of you is too decrepid to make it play? :winkthumb: )

I have to say the old one is letting the team down this time. The "born in the fifties youngster" is ready willing and able. Maybe one day I'll find someone who can help it sing again.

Make no mistake, I don't believe the old instruments necessarily sound better that the modern. In fact most of the time I'd put my money on the new. The Stradivarius reputation can't be applied to everything old. But there's a certain mystique in using vintage equipment, like driving a vintage car or sailing on a replica square rigger.

When it comes to music, we have to allow that the sound of an old guitar may not be as good as a new one. But if you have the skill to make pleasant music regardless, then you can enjoy the added emotion of preserving a bit of the past. I'm sure that's why we have museums.

I'd like to know what you do about this one. I'd say the GAS has almost got you and you'll expand the collection with something or other.

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carol m    64

I'm still very much undecided. The whole lap steel thing was brought on by the Ben Harper segment on the currently rerunning (and excellent) The Guitar Show on ABC2, Sunday nights.

From a website on lapsteel, I checked out Xavier Rudd on Youtube - well worth a visit, and I've been a fan of Kelly Joe Phelps for years as well.

After trying to decide on this old lapsteel I picked up my $85 righty to lefty converted ebay acoustic/electric (it actually works!) which I had previously fitted with a $10 ebay metal 'lapsteel nut', put on my 'Slide Guitar with Kelly Joe Phelps' DVD and found......my 'playing' is crap! No surprises there. But...if I could improve the playing, the sound was more or less ok for starters and sounded quite metallic/resonator-ish.

After hearing from my friends here, I'm thinking I won't be buying it. Mainly because if I bought it, I would want it to sound good - certainly it would have to be better than a new and cheaper bottom of the line proper lapsteel, which it sounds like it might not be.

And, if I bought it, I would want to play it, and it would almost certainly require more cash to make it sound decent.

So, if anyone is interested, I'll send them the link to the seller. (Aren't you amazed by my anti-gas behaviour? I am.)

PS. If someone here buys it and it turns out it's worth a fortune, a finders fee would be nice! :laughingg:

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karcey    42

(Aren't you amazed by my anti-gas behaviour? I am.)

Garbage. That's getting more like GAS every minute. Sounds to me the rejection of the old one, and the reasoning that a new one would be so much more appropriate, is about all the justification you need to go and buy another one straight away.

Post some pictures when you get it home.

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Doug    12

From what I could find, a mustache pickup is a single coil made by DeArmond. But can't find anything more than that.

Looks like a funky guitar.

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carol m    64
Sounds to me the rejection of the old one, and the reasoning that a new one would be so much more appropriate, is about all the justification you need to go and buy another one straight away.

Post some pictures when you get it home.

I thought it was more about justifying using my cheap converted one and saving my cash? :helpsmili

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carol m    64
From what I could find, a mustache pickup is a single coil made by DeArmond. But can't find anything more than that.

Looks like a funky guitar.

Interesting, and thanks Doug for looking. What I don't understand is that the pickup must be under the metal cover near the end of the strings, but the 'moustache' must be referring to the 2 bits of brass on the body? Is that what would give it the metallic resonator twang? I clearly know nothing about the way a Resonator works!

On closer inspection I see that that cover is in 2 halves which would make it a moustache, but how would a single coil in 2 halves work?

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