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Rickenbacker Model 59 Lap Steel - 1938



Rickenbacker Model 59

Our Perspective:

This 1938 Rickenbacker 6-string lap steel just came in. It appears all original except for the tuners. We re-strung it and tuned it to a C6 tuning (CEGACE). The volume control works well with a very little bit of static at the end of rotation. The pickup is very "HOT" with a ton of "TONE". It does exhibit plenty of play wear, but still functions as intended. 

From "The History of Rickenbacker Guitars":

Model 59 - This was the first Rickenbacker student model stamped from sheet metal. Electro String introduced it after the Silver Hawaiian guitar, in late 1937 or early 1938. The company discontinued the model after World War II.

During the prewar years it was available, the Model 59 came in different colors. The solid colors were textured crinkle paint. In 1938 the factory finished it with a solid ivory enamel. A 1939 catalog listed ivory and black finish options. According to the 1941 Grossman Music Company catalog, the Model 59 had a two-tone, high-lighted exterior. However that year they listed no color.

The first Model 59 had a volume control and thirty-five frets. The non-plated pickup had no height adjustments. By 1939 it had a tone control and an adjustable pickup. Distributors usually sold the Model 59 steel as a set with the Model 59 amplifier.


  • Model: 59
  • Pat No: 2089171
  • Serial Number: E 104 ( hard to see, but we believe this is correct, could not picture)
  • Tuning: C6 - CEGACE
  • Pickup: Single
  • Controls: Volume Control
hidden field