Lap steel guitar (Dynamic model)

Valco (National brand) (American)

Object Place: Chicago, Illinois, United States


81.3 x 16.5 x 3.8 cm (32 x 6 1/2 x 1 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Maple, plastic, steel

Not On View


Americas, Musical Instruments



Lap steels were the first commercially successful electric guitars. As they were relatively straightforward to construct and not bound by any previous traditions, their designers made abundant use of new materials, exciting colors, and marvelous shapes. The curved shapes of the headstock, body, and control knob plates all suggest the streamlined look that was still prevalent when the Dynamic model was first introduced in the 1940s, while the pattern of stepped fret markers owes more to the slightly older fashion of Art Deco. The lap steel is played with a steel pick that that slides up and down the strings to produce sound.


About 1991, sold by source unidentified to Walter Carter, Nashville, Tennessee; 2006, sold by Carter to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 22, 2006)

Credit Line

Gift of Byron Poon, by exchange