Steel Guitar – Triple Neck


Click to enlarge: 

A very interesting discovery brought to our attention by Dennis Johnson, who writes: 

 I got this sometime in the mid- eighties for $45.00 at a second-hand store in Kittredge, CO. There is no name on it except for the pick-ups. Maybe we can find out who made it? 

 I believe that the two Lectrolab pick-ups are sitting on the surface with a small route drilled for wiring only. They sound pretty good to me. I used the middle neck the most of the time I played it [C6th]. I think I have taken apart the pick-ups in the past. Maybe that’s why the middle is on upside down or maybe that’s the only way it would fit back together. You can see that one can not see the pick-ups once the handrest  is in place. The pick-ups are made up of a few magnet bars underneath the covers that say Lectrolab,Chicago. Nothing fancy about these pups. It is possible that even the Lectrolab pick-ups are not oringal to the guitar but I kinda doubt it. Hope this info helps.  

Thanks to Dennis’ great photos, we can plainly see that a couple of pickups are engraved with the Lectrolab logo, and the word Chicago.  This is entirely consistent with the markings on Lectrolab amps.  We have NEVER heard of a Lectrolab pickup, or guitar, until now.  In the 1940’s and 1950’s it was quite common for manufacturers to produce matching sets of lap steels and amps.  We know Lectrolab goes back to at least the early fifties, and probably the forties (see THIS old amp).  It’s possible that Lectrolab experimented with or marketed musical instruments. 

A number of questions and possible answers immediately come to mind: 

  • Is that a Lectrolab guitar? – I don’t know.  It has no other makers mark.
  • How old is that guitar? – Unless Dennis pops the bridge plate off and gives us the potentiometer codes, we won’t know.  And even then we might not, because the pots may have been replaced.
  • Are those the original pickups on the instrument? – We can see that the original finish was obstructed for a small distance around the pickups, suggesting that something else was there when it was finished.  It is possible that an entirely different pickup was originally there, and the Lectrolab pickups are replacements.  Still, we don’t know.
  • If the Lectrolab pickups are replacements, where did they come from?
  • Could someone have engraved the pickups with the Lectrolab name AFTER they had been manufactured by another company?  Why would anyone do this?
  • Could this have been an experiment or prototype for an instrument that was never marketed?
  • Did Lectrolab make other guitars?  Many thanks to Dennis Johnson for alerting us to this, and going to the trouble to send in the photos! 



1 Response to Steel Guitar – Triple Neck

  1. Kevin says:

    The pickups, at least from the photos, look identical to pickups used on 1950s Harmony instruments, and on ‘off-brand’ instruments by Harmony into the early 1960s, except the Harmo pu’s were smooth-topped with no logo. They are usually described as being made by DeArmond. Mounting is the same with screws passing through the pickup.

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