Description

Retrofret Stock # 4494. Gibson E-150 Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1935), made in Kalamazoo, serial # 179, natural aluminum finish, cast aluminum, original tweed hard shell case. This still futuristic-looking all-metal steel from 1935 is a major historical piece...a fine original example of the Gibson company's first-ever electric instrument! The hollow cast aluminum body is fitted with Gibson's earliest bar magnet pickup - later nicknamed the "Charlie Christian" pickup. This seminal pickup - the first designed by Walter Fuller in mid-'35 - has an unbound black plastic coil form with a single metal blade polepiece for the three bass strings and segmented blades for the treble strings. The very advanced (for 1935) circuitry features both volume and tone controls with a fancy Bakelite knob on either side of the lower bout-a feature requested by Gibson's consultant Alvino Rey. The body's shoulders are more rounded and angle into neck at a sharper angle compared to the subsequent wooden-body EH-150. The unbound rosewood fingerboard has a V-shaped end, white flush fret inlays and mother-of-pearl dot markers. This is an unusual appointment on this instrument as most were fitted with ebony fingerboards. This instrument has the second style of bridge, with slots to hold the strings but only two securing screws. The body, neck and headstock on the E-150 are finished in raw aluminum, no doubt influenced by the Rickenbacker Electro instruments of the previous year. The original open back Grover tuners are stamped with the company logo and are nickel- plated. This model was originally designated both the "EHG" (Electric Hawaiian Guitar) and "E-150" (reflecting the original $150.00 list price of the guitar-amp set). Gibson's records indicate that somewhere around 100 of this model were shipped from Kalamazoo from October 1935 into the beginning of 1936. The production run was very limited; Gibson quickly deduced that the metal body (which had to be outsourced) was not an advantage and switched to a wooden body built in-house. The serial numbers on this model-apparently beginning at 100 and running up to just over 200-are a specific series impressed into the metal, and records indicate that the same instrument was sometimes shipped out to several different dealers before eventually finding a home! By any standard this is one of the rarest models in Gibson history. Not only were a very limited number originally produced, but more than a few were likely sacrificed to the WWII aluminum drives enforced from around 1942! In terms of not only Gibson history but the story of the 20th century guitar in general the E-150 is a milestone design, and marks the progress of the electric guitar from novelty to ubiquity. This example is nicely original, still plays and sounds great and comes with the original fitted tweed case.Overall length is 31 3/4 in. (80.6 cm.), 8 7/8 in. (22.5 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth at side. Scale length is 22 1/2 in. (572 mm.). Some general wear overall but no damage or repair. Original wiring and components, fully functional and still a very fine and useable instrument. Excellent Condition.

Year Condition Color Case
1935 Excellent natural aluminum Original Hard

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Retrofret Vintage Guitars
Brooklyn New York, NY
4:18 PM
Monday - Friday 12noon - 7pm Saturday 12noon - 6pm Other times and days often available by appointment. Feel free to contact us.

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Retrofret has been shipping instruments throughout the USA and worldwide for nearly 20 years. We have yet to experience a single instance of damage (...I hope this doesn't jinx our perfect record). Retrofret's shipping department can send parcels via UPS, Fedex, USPS, BAX, DHL and DSV Air and Yusen Air Cargo. We ship instruments and other items on a 48 hour approval basis once we received payment in full. Shipping charges and taxes are not included in the prices listed. Mail order shipments within New York are subject to sales tax of 8.875%. Shipments out of state are not subject to NY city and state tax, although the buyer assumes all other tax requirements of their municipality. Before sending payment, please call to confirm the instrument's availability and the cost of shipment.

If you decide not to keep an instrument shipped to you, notify us by telephone, fax or email within 48 hours of receiving it. We'll take note to expect the return. Please ship it in the same carton via UPS, insured for its full value. We will refund the price of the instrument as soon as we receive it, provided it arrives in the condition in which it left the shop. The customer is responsible for all shipping charges.