Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Oahu (Valco) Diana Lap Steel - Finished

The Oahu Diana lap steel is all finished so I whisked it out to the garden for some pictures.

Notice that the "Oahu" name is on three places - the top of the headstock, and twice it's used as position markers on the fretboard.

Maybe they figured you'd forget what kind of lap steel you were playing.

I actually think the fret markers are cool.  I've already found I really don't "read" them when playing it; I just see them as markers.

"I Am Diana, Princess of Electric Eighth Notes!"

The lightning bolt underscores the fact that it's electric.  Remember electric instruments were still a new concept in 1951 - the Telecaster had only been in production for 2 years, and the Stratocaster was three years away.

Most electrics were high-end Gibson or Epiphone archtops.  Gibson derided the Telecaster as "The Plank."  By 1953 they had realized solid-body electrics might be more than a fad and brought out the first Les Paul with gold top and P-90 pickups.

Closeup of the body and pickup.

The pickup lives up to its reputation.  Super clarity, and not noisy at all.

Valco cranked out thousands of lap steels.  We're fortunate that many of them have survived and we can enjoy them today.

I'm a total beginner on this thing, but it sounds really cool.  And yes, I WILL get sound clips on the blog.

The fingerboard is beyond cool.

Not directly related to this picture, but I wanted to write this before I forgot it.  You may recall I put a Soviet (actually made in Russia) capacitor into this thing for the tone control.  Which got me to thinking: what would the workers who built this in 1951 think of that?  After all, the US and the Russians (interchangeable with the USSR to Americans)  have "enjoyed" a distrustful relationship for decades.  But in 1951, maybe after being allies of a sort, what with Lend-Lease and all, a USSR capacitor would be ok?  Of course, the part I just put in was made in 1987 or so (if my Cyrillic is correct), so this musing is sort of moot anyway. 

But something to ponder nonetheless.  If you know what I mean.

The whole steel is in super nice shape.  I polished it with a fine grade compound and it really came to life.


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