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1981 Excel Fuzzy Frypan Vintage Short Scale 8 String Lap Steel Cast Aluminum, Pre-Jerry Byrd w/ Case, Japan


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Up for sale, a 1981 Excel Fuzzy Frypan short scale 8 string lap steel in exceptional, 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. A niche company first founded in 1967, Fuzzy lap steels were handcrafted by master builder (and master steel guitar player) Mitsuo Fujii in Tachikawa City, Tokyo, Japan; this Frypan model was first introduced in 1981, clearly taking design cues from the original electric lap steel, the Rickenbacker Electro A-22 “Frying Pan" as well as subsequent Sho-Bud Jerry Byrd models.

A model with a complex history, the Excel/Fuzzy Frypan shares some connective tissue with the Sho-Bud company (Fuzzy worked with Sho-Bud as early as 1974), responsible for the original Jerry Byrd models. While Fuzzy would also make official Jerry Byrd models starting in 1986, this rarer Fuzzy lap steel predates that artist model, ostensibly made in 1981, the first year for Fuzzy's Frypan production (with potentiometers dating back to 1979).

This 8-string Fuzzy features a cast aluminum body, offering stellar natural sustain and top-end articulation further accentuated by the brass bridge and nut. The stock single coil pickup is sparkling and sweet, with a warm, harmonically complex midrange and clear percussive cut. The lows are taut and snappy, with just a touch of growl when you dig in. This Fuzzy has been freshly restrung here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with roundwound strings.

The scale length measures 22 1/2“, and the string spacing measures 2 1/4“ at the nut and 2 2/5“ at the bridge. The playing surface features star position markers, and the headstock has larger vertical Fuzzy text. The original chrome-plated tuning machines turn smoothly and hold pitch as they should.

All of the electronics function as intended; the single coil pickup is governed by Volume and Tone controls, and the stock harness is untouched, with 500K Osmo pots that date to 1979. The solid aluminum construction results in a lap steel that weighs 7lbs 10oz, and there is a socket where an optional leg can be screwed in (presumably to assist with the weight of this instrument, although the exact mounting apparatus is unknown).

The hardware is notably clean, and the aluminum body is well-kept, with cosmetic wear limited to a handful of minor scratches and nicks on the body as a whole, and some light wear on the edges of the black-painted bottom of the playing surface.

The original Fuzzy-branded hardshell case with gray plush interior is included.