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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.

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. This setup is described in a ’50s Rickenbacker catalog as “providing a player the ability to smoothly roll off volume to create desired shading and tonal effects and faster changes between necks.” The catalog goes on to say that the pickups enable “more chord combinations, fuller chords and greater harmony.” The guitar has natural-finished maple panels, the corners and sides are covered with polished aluminum caps, and the whole thing is supported by a stainless steel frame. To help prevent lighting reflections onstage, the 27-fret metal fingerboards are matte finished.

This Console 518 package also includes a gray original hardshell case with red plush lining. Thanks to Stan and Dave of Elderly Instruments for listing this guitar on Gear Search. Whether you’re looking for a vintage piece or the latest on the market, there’s a great chance you’ll fi nd it at Gear Search. More than 47,000 pieces of gear are listed, including some of the rarest gear in the world.

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