This "Tonemaster" lap steel guitar was made in Chicago by
Valco sometime around 1964. In that era, Valco manufactured a variety of
solid-body electric instruments that were marketed under the National,
Supro, Oahu, Airline, and English Electronics names. The Tonemasters
were mostly branded Oahu and English Electronics, both of which focused
more on Hawaiian-style lap steel guitars. That makes sense, too, because
the Tonemasters feature a unique pickup that is particularly desirable
for slide playing.
Sometimes simply called the "oahu pickup," the Valco string-through 
pickup gives this Tonemaster rich tone with wide versatility and depth. 
It utilizes separate coils for the bass and treble strings, and it has 
genuine AlNiCo magnets that help lend a responsive, touch-sensitive 
attack. When you roll off the volume knob, the tone is sweet, clean, and
musical, but as you push the amp, the pickup gets hotter and hotter. 
With the volume wide open, it saturates nicely with singing sustain that
is perfect for cutting slide solos. Famously used as the bridge pickup 
on Ry Cooder's "Coodercaster," this pickup covers a wide range of 
territory and seems to do everything well.

This circa-1959 Valco Tonemaster lap steel is in excellent condition 
for its age. The pearloid veneer is nicely patina-ed—it has authentic, 
smoked-out charm. The electronics function 
100% as they should, and the guitar holds tune nicely. It includes the 
original case as well as the original screw-in legs. Holds a tune great. 

It's hard to beat the sound of this pickup. Big steel swells sparkle,
and they sound big and full. More delicate fingerpicking sounds clear 
and musical. This Tonemaster may truly be the master of tone!

This item is sold As-Described

This item is sold As-Described and cannot be returned unless it arrives in a condition different from how it was described or photographed. Items must be returned in original, as-shipped condition with all original packaging.Learn More.

Listed3 months ago
ConditionVery Good (Used)
Very Good items may show a few slight marks or scratches but are fully functional and in overall great shape.learn more
  • Tonemaster
  • 1964

Sacred String Gear Depot

Arlington, MA, United States
Joined Reverb:2015

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