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'Alan Stringed Instruments' hand crafted lap steel guitar and valve amplifier set, made in New Zealand circa 1940s and imported into Australia pre-1965.

This is a Museum quality set and I have been unable to locate another example, making this possibly a 1 of 1 example. My best guess is that this is a one off prototype set for display at trade shows or was made in extremely small numbers for the domestic market.

The build quality on this well preserved set and attention to detail is second to none. The power cord (printed "Made in N.Z"), flight tag affixed to case (now safely stored in case) from TEAL airways (Tasman Empire Airways Limited 1940–1965 - the former name of Air New Zealand) and the construction (see below) all point to its origin. The lap steel guitar appears to have been lovingly crafted from what looks likely to be NZ Kauri wood (Kauri trees can live to be over 2,000 years old and are now a protected species). It features a beautiful light burst finish including attractive diagonal shading across the fingerboard and body.

When strummed this lap steel is extremely acoustically lively and resonant. This is due in part to its completely chambered construction, which was a real surprise to find when I removed the pickup.

Underneath the large chrome hand rest lies a large and powerful horseshoe magnet pickup which propels notes forward with a strong attack and rich sustain. The coils are wrapped with the same tolex as the amplifier, confirming that these were built together. Pots read '25K LIN 37/251 NE'. Original braided and shielded wire throughout.

Electronics which are 100% original have been cleaned for trouble free operation and it has been freshly restrung with a string set optimised for open G tuning, though this can be swapped out to taste.

The details in the construction need to be admired including the frets on the finger board (not actually required for lap steel but a nice touch), swooping fingerboard extension, Bakelite knobs, slotted classical style headstock with original tuners (still in perfect working condition), Perspex scratch plate which allows the wood grain to show through, aluminium nut and bespoke bridge and tailpiece.

The guitar is housed in its form fitted hand made case with lush green lining and internal pocket. It's in remarkable condition considering its age, with very sturdy internal cushioning and even includes a few vintage celluloid finger picks and chrome tone bar.

The hand built valve amplifier alone is worth the price of admission. It has been completely serviced by Peach Audio in Annandale and a full circuit diagram drawn up by Dave which will be included with the sale. When the lap steel is plugged in it remains relatively clean - but switch over to a humbucker equipped guitar and the original Rola speaker will erupt into filthy, tube saturated fuzzy goodness - even at lower volumes. This makes for the ultimate studio weapon for those chasing unique tones.

Will not separate due to historical value.

If you have any information about Alan Stringed Instruments or this set, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Listed9 months ago
ConditionMint (Used)
Mint items are in essentially new original condition but have been opened or played.Learn more
  • Alan Stringed Instruments
  • Lap Steel and Amplifier Set
  • Natural
  • 1940s-50s
Made In
  • New Zealand
Right / Left Handed
  • Right Handed
Body Type
  • Semi-Hollow Body
Number of Strings
  • 6-String

Fretted Treasures

Sydney, Australia
Joined Reverb:2019

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