During the 1930s and into the late 1950s, Hawaiian music was very popular in the USA, and this led to the development of the very first electric guitars. The origins of the electric pickup started with the Hawaiian guitar. It was the need to electrify its sound that spawned the guitar amplifiers built by Delbert Dickerson, Rickenbacker, and early White/Fender amplifiers.
Dickerson started making lap steels and amps in Los Angeles in the 1930s. Just after WW2, Art Duhamell bought the company and the Magnatone brand was born. Hawaiian guitars were the only stringed instruments sold by Dickerson & Magnatone until rock & roll and Leo Fender would change the course of the electric guitar.
Guitar pioneer Paul Bigsby did some design work for Magnatone, and the details of this fine lap steel reflect some his ideas, including string-through body, a hot pickup, quality hardware and elegant aesthetics set off by the cool pearloid ‘MOTS’ (Mother Of Toilet Seat) finish.
The pickup is a large single coil unit set into a rout in the body where it is immersed in wax, then covered by the MOTS. Everything works as it should on this steel which has plenty of sustain and a hot sound reminiscent of an early Telecaster.
Everything on the lovely blast-from-the-past appears to be original. There’s a few of these Magnatone MOTS lap steels out there, but very few with all its components intact.
The tuners are original, as are all the electrics. Even the knobs (bakelite we think) are present, and everything works as it should. The grey MOTS pearloid covering looks fantastic and has not bubbled or lifted.
And you can evoke the soothing sounds of the seven seas, or crank it up a little & get that David Lindley sting.
Comes without a case.