Iseman ‘Custom’ Koa Weissenborn Lap Steel


Out of stock



This is an Iseman Koa Weissenborn Style Guitar inspired by the original Hermann Weissenborn’s Style 2 invented in the early 1900s.. Iseman’s Style 1 Deluxe is 100% Handcrafted in our shop in Honolulu, Hawai’i. This guitar is made from ‘Fallen’ Big Island Koa. This Hawaiian Koa is only taken when the tree is dead, it is never cut, and it can only be locally sourced and used. The Koa is from the Slopes of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa at an elevation about 5000 ft, known locally as the best. This is handpicked and milled into large cants, which we then mill and dry for instrument grade use. We source Koa that is very consistent, dense and not too mention highly figured. Typically we source aged trees that have lived their life out and have developed a great density and figure, which produces a better sound. The guitar is finished with a shellac and oil combination, which is an older method that was used by Hermann from 1916 to 1926. At the time Hermann also had a great source of dense Hawaiian Koa that was air dried, rather than kiln dried, which he used for nearly all his weissenborn builds. This era was known as the best sounding Lap Steels that he has produced, and it also gives credit to this finish process, before he switched to Lacquer. This is a similar method used by Stradivarius on his violins, which today sell for upwards of a million dollars, and many credit the sound to the Shellac and Oil combination he used. The thin layer of shellac/oil enhance the soundboard and brings out the natural tone and complexities of the Koa. This Guitar sounds beautiful and rich with deep complex tones with an almost infinite Resonance. This Koa is a very superior tonewood with a beautifully crisp even range.

Binding: Top Rosewood Binding with Bloodwood & Rosewood Purfling (around the headstock as well)
Rosette: Maple, Rosewood, & Mahogany Marquetry Rope Rosette
Fretboard: Rosewood with Maple Fretmarkers & Paua Abalone Shell Inlay Position Markers
Bridge: Handcarved Rosewood with handcarved cow bone nut and saddle.
Bridge Pins: Rosewood Tuners: Grover 18:1 Sta-tite Tuners. Open Gear.
Bracing: is an X- pattern bracing made of Sitka Spruce. Bracing pattern has thicker braces, larger bridge plate, and is very structually sound creating a larger volume soundboard.
Headstock: Handcarved made from Koa or Mahogany.

25″ Scale
Height: 37.5”
Lower Bout: 15.5”
Depth 3.25”
Nut Width: 2″

Hardcase & Express Shipping (2-day from HI) Included.



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Dear Iseman Guitars,

I received the new guitar today all the way from Hawaii in good condition and I love it! What an absolute gem of an instrument, both in aesthetics and sound. Herman Weissenborn would have been proud. The luthier's craftsmanship is immaculate, simply a work of perfection. Clean and beautiful, with the stunning koa wood grain patterns, it is a naturally something exceptional to look at. The sound is awesome, with warm intonation and a rich, clear projection. A lovely sounding lap guitar. I am so happy. As you know, I have broken my finger and it will take me many months before I can ever make a regular left hand chord on my little Martin 0015M. This new guitar is amazing and the Martin is already getting jealous, because it is sitting there while I play the Iseman Weissenborn with the left hand sliding. I am real proud to have been you first buyer and it is great to get in on the ground floor of your new luthiershop. Judging by this instrument, you will be a great success and certainly these will be widely sought after gems. Tomorrow night I am meeting with Ed Gerhardt, one of the best Weissenborn players in the US, and I will show it to him. He plays about a million times better than me, but he is gracious and kind and surely will enjoy playing it.How cool is it to look inside the label and see that my serial number is Iseman 00002- Made In Hawaii.This guitar takes me back to the glory days of koa wood Hawaiian Weissenborns of the 1930s.Congratulations and thank you very much. I feel extraordinarily privileged and happy to own this wonderful instrument.

Frank Matheis ​Music writer, radio producer and publisher of Hudson Valley, New York October 18, 2012