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1935 Epiphone Electar Electrophone Lap Steel Guitar w/ OHSC Very rare and beautiful Electar Electrophone by Epiphone lap steel guitar with their version of a horseshoe pickup. This version was only made from late 1934 to early 1935 when Epiphone opted in to the lap steel market. We know of only 5 other examples of this guitar, one of which sits in the Epiphone Museum, 2 are in private collections. The last other is also offered for sale by us. The earliest ones only had a volume control & had amps in their cases. This particular guitar is in great condition & looks quite good. The wiring, pots & cap were replaced. The magnet & output is strong. This one is a collector’s dream, quite playable. The custom fitted original case is still solid with working hinges & latches. Note: The following is a review of a sister guitar and contains several details that differ from this guitar. : Electric instruments were a rare and obscure novelty for the first half of the 1930s, but sales started to pick up around the middle of that decade. A few electric lap steels started to trickle onto the market in 1935 with offerings from Audiovox and National-Dobro. These early designs would prove to be workable and toneful, but subsequent alterations would improve their functionality over time. The same can be said of another company’s product: debuting in November 1935 was a steel and amp set bearing the Electrophone name (electric instruments were usually sold as sets back then, as there were no manufacturers that just made guitar amps). This was, in fact, a product of the Epiphone Company. In the uncertain salad days of electric amplification, Epiphone evidently felt sufficiently uncertain about their new product’s viability to put their own name on it. Then, the Gibson ES-150 and EH-150 appeared in 1936 and became the first commercially successful electric instruments. Suddenly, every manufacturer under the sun tried to grab a piece of the fledgling electric market. Epiphone/Electar replaced the Electrophone with the Models M and C lap steels and introduced a corresponding line of Spanish-style instruments. The last Electrophones actually bore the Electar name printed on a metal tag which was nailed to the headstock; as a result, they are sometimes referred to as “Electar Hawaiian guitars”. The Electrophone overtly displayed the influence of earlier electric steels, particularly Rickenbacker’s Model A (commonly known as the “frying pan”). The teardrop-shaped body clearly recalls that design, while the black Bakelite top was probably influenced by Rickenbacker’s recently-released Model B steels. The chrome-plated horseshoe magnet is another clear nod to Rickenbacker, though the rest of the pickup is constructed quite differently. While these features were probably intended to give the Electrophone a trendy appearance, they also indicate a design that focused largely on aping another company’s products. Later Electrophones would have rosewood fingerboards and colored markers in place of the screws; this reflected a move towards the later Electar designs. I suspect that my particular Electrophone was a prototype. I can’t prove anything, but there are a number of details that I present as evidence. The hardware is a mishmash of nickel tuners, chrome horseshoe magnet and brass bridge, with both brass and nickel screws holding the instrument together. There are extra holes under the tuners, but the machines on there are found on other Epiphones from the mid '30s. These may result from experimentation at the factory. The tuners currently on the steel do not have post holes wide enough for ferrules, but other Electrophones have the same ferruled tuners as early Electars. The bridge is identical to the one that I've seen on other Electrophones, only without chrome plating. It has two extra screws holding it down (one broke as I took the guitar apart, which is why one appears to be missing), but the extra holes appear to have been drilled at the same time. Curiously, there is an extra hole in the plastic top that doesn't match up with the bridge or the wood underneath. The bridge is located about 1mm off-center, enough to be visually noticeable; this was rectified by offsetting the string slots. The bridge is also located closer to the neck than other Electrophones, resulting in a 22" scale (my Electar has a 22.75" scale). I wonder if the builders misplaced the bridge but corrected its location on later production instruments. The lack of a name on the headstock is also suspicious, as most had “Electrophone” stenciled in flowery script across the top. A few had metal “Electar” tags, but this is the only one I’ve seen without any name at all. The finish has been touched up in places, but it’s generally pretty obvious with close examination, and I don’t see any evidence that the name was painted over. The pickup’s coil is significantly different than the coil in my 1936 Electar M; it is wider and shorter, and the winds are separated with paper as in a transformer. There are also individual pole pieces at the center of the coil, unlike the split blades in my Electar. Later Electrophones would also have an end pin, while mine does not. All of this adds up in my mind to an experimental instrument, possibly a prototype. It certainly seems to have more “primitive” features than most of its kind. The output is very loud – it must have driven contemporary amps to distort low on the volume dial. The sound is clear and bright, with some similarity to contemporary Rickenbackers but with a bit more cutting power. The instrument sustains forever – longer than any other steel I own. In 1935, Epiphone released an electric lap steel guitar. This guitar featured a horseshoe pickup and a single volume control. Epiphone had been competing with Gibson in the archtop guitar arena for years, released this instrument at the same time as Gibson’s release of a lap steel guitar. Photo - *Please see our other listings and store for many other Vintage (Lap Steel) Guitars and Amplifiers. We've been in this business for over 50 years & currently have Alamos, Audio Vox, Bronsons, Dickersons, Dobros, English, Epiphones, Fenders, Gibsons, Harlin Bros, Harmonys, Kays, Maestros, Magnatones, McKinney, Nationals, Oahus, Rickenbachers, Sho Bud, Silvertones, Supertones, Supros, Vegas, and White Lap Steels as well as several others. We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments* *We also accept Cashier's Checks, Bank Transfers & other forms of payment. We ship (worldwide) at cost. Please contact for information.*


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