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Rare Vintage Pre-War 1 1/2" Horseshoe Pickup came stock in a very few 1938 Oahu Tonemaster Lap Steel Guitars Tonemasters and Dianas are one of our favorite vintage lap steels. But this version is extra special with a 1 1/2" horseshoe pickup. We’ve had many other Tonemasters & Dianas. We find them to be outstanding. Now you can emulate David Lindley's sound on a very cool mahogany bodied lap steel with an artistic design. The longer than normal scale length of 25" gives it more range than conventional lap steels. We've had over 450 sliders and this is one of my very favorites. I've played close to a hundred Rickenbachers with horseshoe pickups & find them to produce the best of sound. The harmonics being different with the different models. That being so, I found this guitar & pickup combo to surpass the Rickys. The output is strong & biting. It can cry, growl, scream, or be mellow. This guitar has more overdrive than most & combined with the wood body gives an earthy resonance that compliments the p'up. It is a rare find that was only made for a short time before Rickenbacher forced production to be sidetracked threatening legal action for patent infringement. Please see the older article quoted below for more details. Vintage guitars sometimes pose interesting mysteries. Although very close to Rickenbacher in looks and identical in function; this pickup is a modified Rickenbacher copy. We have established it was made by Kay. Lynn Wheelwright is highly regarded (by pickup professionals as well as others) as "an incredible source of knowledge of obscurity". Lynn Wheelwright was good with sharing his knowledge, "My insight comes from having taken apart and comparing a number of the Kay and Kay built Oahu units and comparing them to quite a few Rick's, Epiphone and others that copied the Rick design. They are at first glance alike but when you examine and take measurements they seem to be made by different folks. The bobbin material is not the same, nor are the pole pieces, also the brackets and most other parts are not the same, and the magnets have a diff. manufacture stamp. (*I noted the magnets are thicker than Rickenbacher's.) Kay was licensed by Meissner as was Epiphone, they both put out PUP's that were very close to Rick in looks and identical in function. It appears that Kay discontinued this design in late 1938 and Epi in 1937". We were aware of Kay's involvement in the manufacturing of Oahu lap steels during the '30s. Lynn's knowledge fit well with this and brings it together nicely. This guitar does not have a serial number, nor source codes for dating the pots. In dating it for the description, I relied on the documentation these pickups were discontinued by 1939. We have experience with a number of '36 & '37 Tonemaster/Diana deluxe lap steels we were able to date by source codes. Being relatively confident of 1936 and early '37 not fitting, that leaves late '37 and 1938. And we have Lynn Wheelwright's input identifying the pickup as made by Kay; that leaves 1938 as (most likely) the year of manufacture. The recognition of there being Rickenbacher horseshoe copies leads me to wonder what Rickenbacher Guitars or more specifically how Adolph Rickenbacher's partner, George Beauchamp reacted to copies being produced. It's well known, Beauchamp was involved in several patent infringement lawsuits in the late '20s - early '30s. This was prior to him joining forces with Adolph Rickenbacher. I don't recall reading about issues over Ricky horseshoe copies. If anyone knows of reactions to Ricky copies in the late '30s, please contact me and shed some light. I’ve been told several times that the pickup in these guitars are worth more than the guitar. Be that as it may, the pickup may be rare, but I prefer leaving the pickup in this guitar. The body is just too beautiful. If I wanted to rob a pickup for another guitar, I’d choose a guitar that was less attractive to take it from. The pickup receives rave reviews. Of course, it's a sister to the one David Lindley played on Jackson Browne's Running on Empty album. I’ve run this guitar through combinations of effects and duplicated sounds Jimi Hendrix created, only on a slide guitar. This guitar can scream. Or growl. Or be mellow. And the sustain is also noteworthy. You can go from country twang to Southern blues to Hawaiian or anything beyond. It’s up to you. This is a vintage classic in great original condition. Enjoy! *Please see our other listings and store for many other Vintage Lap Steel Guitars and Amplifiers. We currently have over 60 lap steel guitars & 40 amps. We have been in the business for over 40 years, specializing in Vintage gear, primarily slide guitars. * *Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.


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