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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member darkwave's Avatar
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    Ultratone lapsteel request

    I have a unique request of the group. An acquaintance of mine is pulling together a design exhibit in Chicago and is interested in including a specific model of Gibson lap steel. Their focus is more about mid-century design artifacts than musical instruments, so they are at a bit of a loss as to where to start with finding one.

    The model is a Gibson Ultratone, and in particular it is the one with plastic covers for the headstock and bridge and offset "fretboard". Here's a recent example from Reverb:

    https://reverb.com/item/280635-gibso...tone-lap-steel

    Still trying to get show duration and other details. Wondering if anyone here has one and would be interested in helping them out, or knew another person who might be in a position to do so? I have a few ideas, trying to see if there is a more direct option via this group - thanks!

    -Douglas C.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Ultratone lapsteel request

    Mine are all the later, more desirable version.

    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

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  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member darkwave's Avatar
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    Re: Ultratone lapsteel request

    I assume that is the PAF version? These people wouldn't have a clue what that was, and fortunately for them it makes the one they are seeking a less "precious" item to borrow or buy!

    I've got a Supro clipper myself, inherited it from the guy on the left in my avatar. Haven't spent the time to learn to play it yet (shameful).

    -Douglas C.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Ultratone lapsteel request

    Quote Originally Posted by darkwave View Post
    I assume that is the PAF version? These people wouldn't have a clue what that was, and fortunately for them it makes the one they are seeking a less "precious" item to borrow or buy!

    I've got a Supro clipper myself, inherited it from the guy on the left in my avatar. Haven't spent the time to learn to play it yet (shameful).

    -Douglas C.
    Yes, the PAF version.
    The one they want probably has the "look" they want. They are really cool.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

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  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Ultratone lapsteel request

    Okay...educate me. What Gibson lap steel has a PAF humbucker in it? Surely not the older Ultratone that Tom shows us?
    TW's is from right aroudn 1950, correct, Tom? HEnce, the peekaboo shades???? They were built until 1959...which would be more like that space age design of that reverb.com sale item. I can see why they would want that particular shape and look. that fits right in with the Jetson's approach, right?
    HEre is my only gibson Llap Steel.....



    IT is old school.
    "As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins." Albert Schweitzer

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member mistersnappy's Avatar
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    Re: Ultratone lapsteel request

    The Gibson Lap Steel Book probably has the info and I have a copy which I can check later today if Tom hasn't weighed in yet.
    "That's what I love, man, to hear that backbeat popping, that damn bass plonkin' down. Jesus God!"-Duane Allman

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member bizzwriter's Avatar
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    Re: Ultratone lapsteel request

    Quote Originally Posted by Wally View Post
    Okay...educate me. What Gibson lap steel has a PAF humbucker in it? Surely not the older Ultratone that Tom shows us?
    TW's is from right aroudn 1950, correct, Tom?
    Based on the knobs, I would suspect Tom's Ultratone is somewhere around 1957-1960 vintage, not 1950.
    Music is the BEST!

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Ultratone lapsteel request

    I based my guess on seeing a picture of a 1951 Ultratone ...but yes, it had speed knobs as on my old BR-6 above. Those flowers just don't fit in the space age....but whadahey....could be.
    "As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins." Albert Schweitzer

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member darkwave's Avatar
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    Re: Ultratone lapsteel request

    Quote Originally Posted by Wally View Post
    I based my guess on seeing a picture of a 1951 Ultratone ...but yes, it had speed knobs as on my old BR-6 above. Those flowers just don't fit in the space age....but whadahey....could be.
    It's my understanding that the more space-age looking ones (angles, asymmetry) were earlier and had a single coil - more traditional forms and flowers were the ones with PAFs. I prefer the look of the earlier ones, but understand the appeal of the later.

    -Douglas C.

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Ultratone lapsteel request

    Quote Originally Posted by Wally View Post
    Okay...educate me. What Gibson lap steel has a PAF humbucker in it? Surely not the older Ultratone that Tom shows us?
    TW's is from right aroudn 1950, correct, Tom? HEnce, the peekaboo shades???? They were built until 1959...which would be more like that space age design of that reverb.com sale item. I can see why they would want that particular shape and look. that fits right in with the Jetson's approach, right?
    HEre is my only gibson Llap Steel.....



    IT is old school.
    The Ultratone I posted has a factory original PAF. It has a 1958 serial number, but was likely completed in 1959 or even 1960.
    I have no idea how you got your information so skewed. The other one [which is the subject of this thread] is older.

    And there is no photo image in your post.
    What did you intend to show?
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
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  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Ultratone lapsteel request

    Quote Originally Posted by mistersnappy View Post
    The Gibson Lap Steel Book probably has the info and I have a copy which I can check later today if Tom hasn't weighed in yet.
    That book is incredible. Most of us would find it interesting even if we weren't interested in lap steels. Lots of amp details too.
    A reference book that is fun the open on any page.

    Gibson Electric Steel Guitars: 1935 -1967
    by Andre Duchossoir

    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
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  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Ultratone lapsteel request

    Tom, thank you for the info. My apologies for assuming something based on what I was looking at. Your steel 'looks' older to my eye in its design that the one in the link in the OP'.
    As for the PAF thing, that is new info for me. There is a steel such as yours on reverb.com right now....but of course, its PAF has likely been sold for big bucks, right?
    Learning is again for me. Thanks.....
    "As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins." Albert Schweitzer

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Ultratone lapsteel request

    Quote Originally Posted by Wally View Post
    Tom, thank you for the info. My apologies for assuming something based on what I was looking at. Your steel 'looks' older to my eye in its design that the one in the link in the OP'.
    As for the PAF thing, that is new info for me. There is a steel such as yours on reverb.com right now....but of course, its PAF has likely been sold for big bucks, right?
    Learning is again for me. Thanks.....
    Please post a link to the one on eBay. Are you sure it has a humbucker? Most of them don't.

    And, I do need to get a better [quality] photo of one of mine.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
    Click here: www.burstserial.com

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Ultratone lapsteel request

    Tom, that sale is not popping up for me this morning....I should have linked it yesterday. The pickup was gone from that guitar...but the route looked good for a humbucker....and they claimed it was a PAF that had been in there. IT would be a hard thing for most people to leave a PAF in a lap steel when it would bring so much money, right? Unless....of course, that person already had 'bursts sitting around and didn't find the appeal of a few thousand dollars for a pickup to be enough enticement to strip a good vintage Gibson lap steel. They wanted 4!050, iirc, for a non-functioning Ultratone.
    "As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins." Albert Schweitzer

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