Rickenbacher Electro Lap Steel – USA 1930s

by Rickenbacker

$3,995.00 22072

Folks of a certain age may remember one of the first real music shows on Australian TV in the early 1960s. “Bandstand” was broadcast nation wide on the Nine Network early on a Saturday evening. It was hosted by newsreader Brian Henderson who went on to become a legend of Australian broadcasting.

But his original gig was hosting the first Aussie TV show that showcased actual MUSIC, not just variety style entertainment.

Bandstand  featured a core group of pop performers who regularly appeared on the program, who became known as the Bandstand Family. Over the years they included Col Joye, Little Pattie, Lucky Starr, Sandy Scott, Bryan Davies, Johnny Devlin, Laurel Lea, Judy Stone, the De Kroo Brothers, Digby Richards, the Bee Gees, The Delltones, Olivia Newton-John and a very young and straight looking Billy Thorpe.

But another regular was a young, good looking instrumental performer named Rob E.G. He didn’t sing at all – but looked very dashing in his black dinner suit, beaming a huge smile as he played instrumental hits on his lap steel guitar.

His real name was Robie Porter, who went on to become quite an influential figure in Australian music as a producer, writer and record label owner. His producing credits included Daddy Cool, Rick Springfield, Marcia Hines, Air Supply and Tommy Emmanuel.

Robie Porter received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2017, and died in December 2021 aged 80. This instrument is being sold on behalf of his estate.

On Bandstand and hundreds of other shows over the years Rob E.G. played all his hits on his 1930s Rickenbacher lap steel – this one.

And no, we didn’t get the spelling wrong – the metal plate on the headstock is clearly labelled “Rickenbacher Electro Los Angeles”.

Adolph Rickenbacher and George Beauchamp founded a company in 1931 to sell electric Hawaiian guitars. They chose the brand name 'Rickenbacher' (later changing the spelling to 'Rickenbacker'). Early examples bear the brand name 'Electro’.

We think this model is Rickenbacher’s Electro B-6 lap steel, made in USA in the early 1930s. It is of solid bakelite construction, with a whopping big single coil pickup sitting under a horseshoe over the strings near the bridge.

One look at that pickup and you get to wondering where Leo Fender may have found inspiration when designing his first solid body guitars.

Overall length is 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 is 2 1/8 in. (54 mm.)

It has single volume and tone controls, open back tuners and white bakelite trim on the top. Two strap pins have been added at some point. One of the original tuners has been replaced.

Apart from that, this lovely old Electro appears to be in original condition. It has not been modified and everything works as it should. The pots are clean and smooth, tuners are strong and accurate, and the pickup sounds amazing – big, broad and bright, but with a girth and grit quite unique to these old bakelite machines.

It can be played lap style, with a strap, or standing up as the original chrome stand used by Rob E.G. is included in the sale, but not pictured here. Also included are a number of Rob’s slide bars, fingerpicks and old strings.

This one is a real time capsule of Aussie music history, in fabulous collectible and playable condition, and sure to deliver lots more music for decades to come.

It comes with its original 1930s case still which is still functional, but also with a quality modern vinyl travel case.


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