1941 lap with a fender headstock

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1941 lap with a fender headstock

Postby (cadibill) » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:54 pm

Hi

I've just looked at a 1941 Rickenbacker steel guitar body with an older than dirt neck that has a headstock which looks like a early Fender strat headstock except a little thicker. This isn't a homemade job, it was defiantly made and fitted into the body. I'm affraid to pull the neck off to see if there's any writing or dates on it because the fitting is so exact and with age the woods have swelled a little on top of everything else the neck is tapered and fitted into the body.

I was told the serial numbers on the body shows it was made between 1939 to '41. The horseshoe pickup also has a serial number and I was told those serial numbers were put on the pickups only one year-1941.

I'm going back Friday to take close up pictures of this thing. The lady who owns it is in her '70s. The guitar belonged to her father way back when.

Here's my problem story, I was also told that Les Paul, Leo Fender and Bixby all three worked for Rickenbacker. Les and Leo were in sales and Bixby was doing his thing - his story is well documented. I can't find anything that says Les & Leo worked there which according to this story would have been around 1938 to 1941.
I was also told that these three got permission to work in the Rickenbacker after hours. Next I was told they developed three guitars (one for each of them) that this is one of the three. It looks like the Rickenbacker lap but you can also put a strap on the thing and play it standing up.

Have you ever heard of such an animal? I will take photo Friday and if I can figure out how to glue them onto this message I'll do so.

Thanks for your time
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Re: 1941 lap with a fender headstock

Postby (jingle_jangle) » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:07 am

cadibill wrote:
I've just looked at a 1941 Rickenbacker steel guitar body with an older than dirt neck that has a headstock which looks like a early Fender strat headstock except a little thicker. This isn't a homemade job, it was defiantly made and fitted into the body.

Here's my problem story, I was also told that Les Paul, Leo Fender and Bixby all three worked for Rickenbacker. Les and Leo were in sales and Bixby was doing his thing - his story is well documented. I can't find anything that says Les & Leo worked there which according to this story would have been around 1938 to 1941.
I was also told that these three got permission to work in the Rickenbacker after hours. Next I was told they developed three guitars (one for each of them) that this is one of the three. It looks like the Rickenbacker lap but you can also put a strap on the thing and play it standing up.

Have you ever heard of such an animal? I will take photo Friday and if I can figure out how to glue them onto this message I'll do so.

Thanks for your time


That's a conflated story with no factual basis. Paul Bigsby (note spelling!) never worked for Rickenbacker, nor did Les Paul or Leo Fender. The lives of these three men are very well-documented; a bit of reading online would debunk this very quickly.

Leo and Rickenbacker's second CEO, Francis Hall, were partners in the very early days, but there's nothing I'm aware of that ties them together in any way in Rickenbacker's product line.

My money is on this being a homebuilt instrument. Photos, please! We're curious...
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Re: 1941 lap with a fender headstock

Postby (jimk) » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:13 am

I don't know much about early Rickenbacker history, but I'm sure interested. Do post pix when you can.
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Re: 1941 lap with a fender headstock

Postby (collin) » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:36 am

Hey Bill....welcome to the RRF. :wink:
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Re: 1941 lap with a fender headstock

Postby (STRINGS MUSIC) » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:31 pm

Does it look like this?
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019.JPG
Does it look like this?
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Re: 1941 lap with a fender headstock

Postby (STRINGS MUSIC) » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:33 pm

1. www.vintagemartin.com/Rickenbacher.htmlCached
Rickenbacher Electro Model B Lap Steel ... Leo Fender was a salesman for Rickenbacher at the time, and it's surely no coincidence that several of the features ...
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Re: 1941 lap with a fender headstock

Postby (jingle_jangle) » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:09 pm

Correct link is: http://www.vintagemartin.com/Rickenbacher.html

The headstock certainly has the early Strat shape (which would put it at 1953 at the very earliest, if it's some sort of prototype. The workmanship on the headstock is not of production grade; either very good amateur or prototype, hand-built quality. However, it's almost watered-down early Strat (as in copied from existing, but not too accurately).

Also, there's no trace of any logotype, again pointing to prototype, or amateur modification.
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Re: 1941 lap with a fender headstock

Postby (electrofaro) » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:45 pm

So, was Leo F a sales rep at Rickenbacker at one time, or is that just a fabrication of that page? Never heard anything about it before...

...unlike the story Fender stole the headstock design from Bigsby! :mrgreen:
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