National, Electric Hawaiian Lap Steel Electric Guitar, 1935


Electric Hawaiian Lap Steel Electric Guitar
Serial Number: 
The Story Behind

The National Electric Hawaiian Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar, also called ‘Horseshoe Crab’, was introduced in 1935 and made in Los Angeles, California. The guitar was finished in natural aluminum with gold paint accents finish, cast aluminum body and rosewood fingerboard. This shining Art Deco masterpiece is one of the very earliest commercially built electric guitars, and the National company's first entry into the purely electrified market. As the first Rickenbacker Electro Hawaiian guitars had been made of aluminum, so was this National-although it is much larger and more substantial feeling than the more famous "Frying Pan" it emulates.

The pickup is the same blade-equipped unit with an internal horseshoe magnet used on all first National and Dobro electrics. It is mostly hidden, inserted from the back into an abstract shaped metal housing moulded into the body. The only wood element is a standard rosewood guitar fingerboard rather incongruously affixed to the square metal neck, fitted with frets never meant to be used. A "National" block letter logo is moulded to the face of the body, with decorative insets filled with gold paint all around on the face. The still-futuristic looking headstock is cut out in the center, with the six fluted-base Grover tuners fitted to the solid wings. This guitar sounds great, if brighter than many period steels and looks amazing, antique Deco and ultra-modern at the same time. If Buck Rodgers had played steel guitar, this would have been a perfect choice!. The only thing missing is the pool table felt that once covered the back of the body-it is completely gone, leaving only some minor old glue residue.

This is the first year of production; later other features were added such as height-adjustable pickup with knurled adjustment knobs, two control knobs in either the middle or lower panel and a recessed jack.

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