( More on the related, near identical Valco produced lap steels later) Some of us do like the Supro lap steels specifically because they have a raunchy, dirty, dark and rather nasty sound that works well on blues, and some rock styles.
I often see unrealistic prices being asked for Supros on the used market.
Roaring Twenties The roots of the Supro story go back to the ’20s and the sometimes tempestuous relationship between Czech immigrant/instrument repairman/inventor John Dopyera and dapper Vaudeville musician George Beauchamp (pronounced “Beech-um”).
Both were searching for the guitar’s holy grail of the era, more volume.
The following is a key for decoding the serial number, but keep in mind that the numbers are approximate.
"N" prefix: 1935 "S" prefix: 1935-36 "A" prefix: 1936-37* "C" prefix: 1938-40* "G" prefix: 1941-42 "G" suffix: 1943-47 V100-V7500: 1947 V7500-V15000: 1948 V15000-V25000: 1949 V25000-V35000: 1950 V35000-V38000: 1951 X100-X7000: 1951 X7000-X17000: 1952 X17000-X30000: 1953 X30000-X43000: 1954 X43000-X57000: 1955 X57000-X71000: 1956 X71000-X85000: 1957 X85000-X99000: 1958 T100-T5000: 1958 T5000-T25000: 1959 T25000-T50000: 1960 T50000-T75000: 1961 T75000-T90000: 1962 T90000-T99000: 1963 G5000-G15000: 1963 G15000-G40000: 1964 Starting with "1-": 1964-68 Starting with "2-": 1968 *"A" and "C" prefixes also occur in some pre-1936 serials.
Before we wade in, please note that National Dobro and subsequently Valco, more than most other manufacturers, were notorious for putting together guitars with parts left around.
Well, with a little help from our friends (in particular, catalogs and invaluable information supplied by Mike Newton, Jim Dulfer, and Michael Lee Allen), let’s set the record straight.Please send me any additional suggestions or recommendations.(If someone wants me to review your steel guitar-related product, send me e-mail!Supro brand lap steels were manufactured by Valco for the parent company National from the mid thirties through the mid sixties.Their hand wound pickups when used to over drive a tube amp can produce down and dirty blues tones.From the 40s until 1964, the serial could be found stamped into a small metal plate that was tacked onto the back of the headstock or the back of the cabinet.