BD6 identification help?

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BD6 identification help?

Postby (Mike Anderson) » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:53 pm

Hi all, newbie here and very glad I found this great resource.

I just purchased a BD6 lap steel, and am hoping someone might be able to give me a year, and possibly a location for a serial number. The last owner described it as "early Fifites" but didn't seem to know more than that. It came with the original case, which is brown leather with bright red plush lining and two internal lidded pockets; the lids have crocodile-imprinted leather undersides. The only changes made to it were replacement pots (but original knobs I believe) and tuners (replaced with very similar vintage nickel style).

Although obviously a later model, it has string-through body. It has a very clean, minty appearance. Here are some pics - please let me know if you want me to post or email any other angles, I also have the original Clarostat pots and tuners if that will help in ID'ing the guitar:

Image

Image

Image

Thanks in advance for any lore on this model -
Mike.

PS I bought this baby to play, just so you know I am not asking for this info to try to resell and profit on it. :)
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Re: BD6 identification help?

Postby (rshatz) » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:02 pm

Mike,
Spectacular and very interesting and unusual example of a great instrument.
1. What's spectacular? The rarity and condition. You hardly ever see BD steels,especially in pristine condition.
2. What's interesting? Few postwar BDs and for that matter did not have string though bodies. Most had a metal tail piece that held the bottom end of the strings.
3. What's unusual? All of the above.
These were made from the late 40s into the early 70s. I've never seen a BD or post war Model B with a serial number.
But, if that pot in the photo is original. The code on it could tell us much more.
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Re: BD6 identification help?

Postby (Mike Anderson) » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:11 pm

Thanks very much for replying Richard. Both pots have these numbers stamped on the rear:

CM10965
140146

regards,
Mike.
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Re: BD6 identification help?

Postby (Mike Anderson) » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:52 pm

I also find it interesting that they were made into the 70s! Looking at it I'd have to say it couldn't be older than that - yet the case is pretty thrashed and really looks quite old. And the pots - did they still use oil and paper caps that late? Anyway looking forward to maybe getting some of the mystery solved.
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Re: BD6 identification help?

Postby (libratune) » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:07 pm

The pot code (140) IDs it as a Clarostat pot; the next digit is the year (1 = 1951) and the last two the week (46).

This is a very late 1951 or early 1952 build based on the pot date code. That also fits with what the seller told you and with the appearance/style of the case.
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Re: BD6 identification help?

Postby (Mike Anderson) » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:40 pm

Wow, THANK YOU Ron! You have to wonder how the guitar was kept so mint-looking. I guess it just wasn't played. A friend told me I had to get it scratched up or nobody would believe it was from the '50s. :)
Last edited by Mike Anderson on Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: BD6 identification help?

Postby (cjj) » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:45 pm

The '1' could also mean 1941. That was a problem with pot date codes in the 1940s & 1950s, 3 digits was only good for 10 years. Now, I have no idea when these guitars were made, so if they weren't made in 1941, then it's got to be 1951. Also, capacitors often have date codes on them too, but they are less well known that pot codes. So, any numbers on the cap might help too. And yes, oil and paper caps were used during these periods (40s & 50s)...
I have NO idea what to do with those skinny stringed things... I'm just a bass player...
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Re: BD6 identification help?

Postby (libratune) » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:53 pm

cjj wrote:The '1' could also mean 1941. That was a problem with pot date codes in the 1940s & 1950s, 3 digits was only good for 10 years. Now, I have no idea when these guitars were made, so if they weren't made in 1941, then it's got to be 1951. Also, capacitors often have date codes on them too, but they are less well known that pot codes. So, any numbers on the cap might help too. And yes, oil and paper caps were used during these periods (40s & 50s)...


The "1" could mean 1941, but the style and features of this lapsteel definitely make it a post-war (WWII) model. It wouldn't be a 1961 b/c there would be a "6" before the "1" making a 7-digit pot code.

Mike, your lapsteel is in fantastic condition! Just keep it in that case so you'll be reminded that it's more than a few years old!
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Re: BD6 identification help?

Postby (Mike Anderson) » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:57 pm

Hi CJ - I really meant, did they use oil and paper caps into the 70s. Understandable confusion there...

Here's what we can see from a close look at the cap:

- at the end with the black stripe, it says OUTSIDE FOIL.

- going around the circumference, we have:

INDUSTRIAL
CONDENSER CORPORATION (these first two lines comprise a logo)
.05 MFD.
500 V.D.C.
PT 201
INDUSTRIAL
CONDENSER CORP.
CHICAGO ILL.
MADE IN U.S.A.


Thanks again to all for your input!
It's never too late to have a happy childhood. :)
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Re: BD6 identification help?

Postby (Mike Anderson) » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:19 am

libratune wrote:The "1" could mean 1941, but the style and features of this lapsteel definitely make it a post-war (WWII) model. It wouldn't be a 1961 b/c there would be a "6" before the "1" making a 7-digit pot code.

Mike, your lapsteel is in fantastic condition! Just keep it in that case so you'll be reminded that it's more than a few years old!


Thanks Ron, I am really pleased with it.
It's never too late to have a happy childhood. :)
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Re: BD6 identification help?

Postby (cjj) » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:32 am

libratune wrote:The "1" could mean 1941, but the style and features of this lapsteel definitely make it a post-war (WWII) model.

Yeah, that's what I meant. I know a lot more about electronics and date codes than I do about lap steels...
:oops:
I have NO idea what to do with those skinny stringed things... I'm just a bass player...
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Re: BD6 identification help?

Postby (rshatz) » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:21 pm

The pot code on this Model B confirms that the pot was made in 1951 or maybe 1961, even though most pots had 7 digit codes beginning in 1961. EIA codes as we now know them didn't appear until after WW2, as far as I know.
What nails this as early 50s is the knobs. By the mid to late 50s Rickenbacker stopped using the "flying saucer" knobs.
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Re: BD6 identification help?

Postby (Mike Anderson) » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:16 pm

Thanks again Richard - the knobs really are great:

Image

What I'm trying to figure out now is if there's real alligator on the inside of the case pockets:

Image

...and this is the pocket on the opposite side of the case - completely different pattern, much bigger "scales":

Image

Did some research online about fake vs real, and nothing conclusive as far as I can see. If anyone knows, it'd be a great thing to add to my knowledge about the guitar.
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