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Stradivarius-branded Maxim lap steel – 1950s

Price: AUD $1,475.00
GST Included


From the late 1940s, through into the sixties, several Australian instrument manufacturers supplied guitars and lap steels to the Adelaide College of Music, all under the Stradivarius brand, with students able to purchase their chosen instrument at decent discounted prices. Known manufactures included Moody Musical Instruments in Sydney, Maxim in Melbourne, and possibly, (unconfirmed), Maton, also in Melbourne.


Peter McCarthy

Our Stradivarius lap steel here was made by respected Melbourne builder Peter McCarthy, at his workshop in Bridge Road, Richmond. McCarthy also made his own amplifiers, some of which also went out under the Stradivarius name, though his own products all carried the Maxim brand. We believe that, as a Maxim, this would have been a Model 1.



All Maxim pickups were hand wound by Perter McCarthy, while internally, pots and caps were supplied by Ducon Condenser, based in Waterloo in Sydney, with offices in both Sydney and Melbourne. None of the date codes are visible, but the paper & oil capacitor matches Ducon photos from the late forties and early to mid fifties.


Stamford & Sons

Finally, the case was made by WH Stamford & Sons in Sydney, one of two companies that made musical instrument cases for the Australian market. (Given limited Australian production of musical instruments at the time, most cases were for the major American brands, whose instruments were shipped out to the colonies minus cases, to minimise the cost of shipping)


Tres chic!

Design wise, the Stradivarius clearly followed other models of the time, being not that dissimilar to certain Gibson, Epiphone, and National models, particularly the latter company’s Chicagoan, (though without the mother-of-toilet-seat perloid finish). One extra nice touch is that the fingerboard timber appears to be Brazilian Rosewood. The position markers are all inlaid colored plastic, except the first, which is a circle of the Rosewood, cut out and reinserted – tres chic!


Mid-range warmth

Like most vintage steels – specially those with hand-wound pickup coils – the tone is wonderfully musical. There’s a tad more mid-range warmth than you’ll fine on some others, making for an incredibly versatile instrument.



For an instrument that may be 75 years old, the condition is fabulous! Some lovely fine checking in the paintwork; the Stradivarius headstock logo – presumably once clear – has yellowed; and there’s a few holes in the red felt backing. Eight or so teeny-tiny dinglets in the paintwork here and there, a bit more near the jackplate, (see pic # 7), and that’s it – incredibly well preserved.


Free courier delivery

Complete with its original Stamford case, (also in great condition), your all-Australian Stradivarius lap steel is 100% ready to plug in and play. Our FREE COURIER DELIVERY is included to any address in Australia. ($100 airfreight to New Zealand, $175 to the US, Canada, UK and mainstream European countries)




Stock No. 9203

Stradivarius-branded Maxim lap steel – 1950s

Price: AUD $1,475.00
GST Included