Most unusual instrument, made at a time of great experimentation with electronics. meant to rest on your lap, it has two knee levers to raise the pitch of the top two strings. One lever is missing, but not hard to fabricate. This from a web site I found: "The round disc located beneath the strings on this instrument masks one of the most unusual, and possibly most dangerous designs ever produced to electrify a stringed instrument. Designed by Arnold Lesti, with the patent applied for June 5, 1935, this unit works on the same principle as any other electro-magnetic pickup, but with a twist. Two solenoids are set into a thin metal box and secured in a bed of bee?s wax. (?Solenoids? are simply electro magnets waiting for a jolt of electricity to bring them to life.) Using a special input system that joined this pickup unit to its specially designed amp, a switch was flipped for a few seconds sending a high current of electricity through these solenoids and magnetizing the metal strings above. Once magnetized, the strings would deliver the magnetic field necessary to then energize the coils. As the strings vibrated above, the small voltage was delivered back to the amplifier and reproduced as musical notes through the speaker.
Return to Gear Page