9/19/2014

c.1960 Alamo Jet Lap Steel Guitar




Alamo lap steels don't turn up as often as other brands and all of the variations I've seen have been a little weird. This is the coolest and most practical one I've had my hands on. It feels like a 50s steel but I'm pretty sure it's early 60s in vintage. The above soundclip is recorded via the direct out from my 1w tube amp with onboard reverb so you can get a sense of the crisp, singsong quality that this pickup has.

This one came in via a friend who's clearing house. After a bit of light work (spraying the pots with cleaner and adjusting the tail/bridge and pickup/control assembly) and setup at the nut I tuned it up to open B (the strings were gauged for C7 tuning but I don't play in that) and away it went... sounding quite chimey and alive in the process.


This has black-buttoned Kluson Deluxe tuners (original, apparently) and a big old bone nut. The nut needed some adjustment (it had slots that were too deep and causing weird buzzing) but now sounds clean. One of the Kluson Deluxe shafts has a broken top edge but it still works just fine.


The metal position/"fretboard" plate is pretty cool and looks great in contrast on the aged-white body. There's plenty of scuffing and light scratching and discoloration on the body but it's all in-character with the unit itself.


Pinky volume swells are pretty easy on this guy... and the pickup is height-adjustable like any modern electric guitar which is sometimes rare on a lap steel. The bridge is bolted-down and made from cast aluminum.





Here's what's under the hood. The malevolent part of me says: wouldn't it be neat to use this whole assembly on a regular electric guitar? No...! Bad thoughts... because it sounds crisp and tops as a lap steel right now.

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