This is a nice early example of the Rickenbacker Silver Hawaiian Steel Guitar, one of the company’s most striking 1930’s classics. The entire instrument is nickel-plated steel, with a headstock logo plate reading Rickenbacker “Electro” Los Angeles. The most sought after Rickenbacker 1 1/2″ pickup is sitting proudly under its horsehoe covering. To us, this pickup sure looks like the inspiration for Leo Fender’s original Esquire single pickup in 1950. Its mounting flange is marked within the recently assigned patent number, in place of the earlier “Pat. Pend”.
This Silver a has a single volume control on the lower side, with its original arrow-top black Bakelite knob. Molded plastic bridge and nut, which mellows the sound slightly from the earlier metal fittings.
The Silver Hawaiian was the next model designed after the Bakelite Model B, coming into production about two years later in 1937. The hollow chambered body gives a more ‘reverb-y’ sound than the earlier solid instruments, with a slightly more acoustic character. The plated metal makes for a most stunning appearance. Rickenbacker’s original description states “…delights the eye with its flashing beauty”, and indeed this is a most striking-looking and fine-sounding prewar lap steel.
Overall length 29 3/4 in. (75.6 cm.),
9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm.) wide at lower bout,
and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim.
Scale length is 22 1/2 in. (572 mm.).
Width of nut 2 1/8 in. (54 mm.).
This all metal Ricky lap steel has a brighter sound than its Bakelite siblings. The Silver Hawaiian has a natural acoustic resonance and deep sustain. Chrome pickup surround and original chromed open back three-on-a-plate tuners, working just fine.
Newspaper stuffed in body dates to July 1938 which is taken as the completion date. Rickenbacker added a tone knob to this model in 1939.
100% original and in collector’s condition. Big output from the 1 ½” horseshoe pickup.
Comes in its original hard case, a little worn but does the job.