Gear Search Gallery 2010
September - Late-1950s Rickenbacker Console 518 Triple-Neck Steel Guitar
Often referred to as “The Frying Pan,” Rickenbacker’s—Ro-Pat-In Corporation—1932 A-25 Electro Hawaiian Guitar was one of the first commercially available electric guitars. This lap-steel guitar featured a frying-pan-shaped cast-aluminum body, 1 ½" horseshoe-magnet pickup, no knobs, and a metal nameplate that read “Electro.” In 1934, “Rickenbacker” replaced that name and the lap-steel continued its run until 1950.
The Rickenbacker Console 518 triple-neck steel guitar, which debuted in 1956, descends from the Frying Pan. The one pictured here is a late- ’50s model with three 8-string, 22 ½" necks that are currently tuned to E13, A6, and A7 chords. Each elevated neck features a horseshoe-magnet pickup and an on/off switch, and Master Volume and Master Tone knobs govern the entire instrument. Thanks to Stan and Dave of Elderly Instruments for listing this guitar on Gear Search.