Thursday, 22 December 2011

1947 National New Yorker lap steel guitar, Art Deco design in Tuxedo finish
Here is a National New Yorker lap steel guitar from 1947. Apparently there were 15 variations of the New Yorker produced between 1935 and 1968; the Art Deco stylings of this particular example were supposedly inspired by the Empire State building.

I always think that lap steel guitars were ahead of their time in some ways. Whilst they didn't altogether abandon the traditional hourglass guitar shape, makers did experiment with a whole variety of different shapes and designs whilst contemporary "Spanish" style guitars (i.e. played in the regular way and not lap steel style) had ultra conservative designs for the most part. And then there's the hotly debated question of who developed the first solidbody electric guitar. Was it Leo Fender with the Broadcaster/Esquire? Was it Les Paul? Or was it even some obscure Norwegian guitar manufacturer? I have to wonder why so much noise made about this when it seems that lap steels had abandoned the acoustic resonating sound box ages before Les Paul or Leo Fender had their brainwave ideas.

This particular lap steel is currently listed on eBay Australia with a Buy It Now price of AU $1,300 (Australian dollars).

G L Wilson

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