Rickenbacker Model B-6 Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1936), made in Los Angeles, California, serial # C-520, polished black finish, molded Bakelite body and neck, original black hard shell case. This is a super vibey and great sounding example of a pre-WWII Rickenbacker (spelled Rickenbacher on the nameplate) Model B-6 six-string Bakelite steel guitar. These instruments were the standard of their day and are still generally considered the finest-sounding lap steel ever made. This B-6 features the famous 1 1/2″ horseshoe magnet pickup found only on pre-war guitars and strings loading through the body, the combination of features generally considered to produce the finest sound.
The body is molded black Bakelite with hollow cavities covered by chromed metal plates w/the screwed-on neck has integral molded frets and nut with inset white position dots. This guitar has the style of tuners used in the mid-1930s, individual units with hexagon baseplates and (originally) angular metal buttons. The Horseshoe magnet pickup is adjustable for height with knurled knobs. The single volume control is mounted on the treble side topped with an octagonal black plastic knob with an arrow pointer typical of the 1930s. On these earlier models the output jack is mounted on the bass side of the body, where the audience couldn’t see it.
The body is marked below the bridge with a patent number; the pickup mounting flange is marked “Pat. No. 1881229” which dates it to earlier than mid-1937. The specific combination of serial number and features on this example indicate a build date of probably late 1936. As with all the early Bakelite Rickenbackers, this is a predictably great-sounding steel, an extremely nice example of the most sought-after player’s instrument of its type. This one appears played a bit, but still sings with that unmistakable Model B tone. Overall length is 29 3/4 in. (75.6 cm.), 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 22 9/16 in. (573 mm.). Width of nut is 2 1/4 in. (57 mm.).
This B-6 was owned by the same family since new in fact was played by a woman thru 1953…then gifted to her nephew whom stopped using it by 1964. An 83 year old Mr. Charles Zecher came in today & now this 1 family owned heirloom is ready for its next caretaker. Other than 1 small crack repair in the bakelite on its right side, she’s 100% original & ready to enjoy. She’s excellent overall & comes in her original square Black tolex/Green lined hard case w/some original case candy.