National Steel Lap Guitar

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My Dad's National Steel Lap Guitar
My Dad's National Steel Lap Guitar

My family artifact is my great great grandfather Edwin Johnson’s National Steel Lap Guitar from 1935. The six string guitar was made of a cast aluminum body with a rosewood fretboard. This instrument connects to my culture because my family’s legacy is dancing and music. My great, great, grandpa used this for playing tunes for his friends and family, alongside being in a band with his friends. He bought it in New York in 1935 when he was twenty-six years old. It was special to him because he believed the best way to connect with people was on the dance floor, through music. 
After Edwin died in 1969 the guitar was given to his daughter, Anita. For the next forty years it traveled all throughout New York State. It was in Hempstead, Northport, Bayside, Dorloo, Cobleskill, Guilderland, and then finally resting on my great grandmother’s bookshelf in Schroon Lake, New York, was up in the Adirondack mountains. The guitar was afterwards passed down to my father who was living with me in Lincoln, Vermont 2009. The case was well worn with the fabric tearing and the wood splintering, but within the case the guitar was still in almost-perfect condition. It sounds amazing, with a full and rich powerful soul. The summer before I started kindergarten at P.S.130, we moved to Windsor Terrace, and the guitar moved with us. My dad hopes to play it for others publicly someday to complete the family legacy. When the time comes, he will then give the guitar to me! 

Place(s): New York
Year: 1935

– Sofia

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more