6/19/2009

c.1935 Slingerland "Songster" Archtop Guitar


After a week's overhaul in the shop this delectable archtop is all set and ready to go. This is a mid to late 1930s Slingerland "Songster" archtop and has the typical features of the model: solid spruce top, 3-ply curly/figured maple back and sides, a solid maple neck, and a heck of a lot of "cool" oozing from everywhere. This one doesn't have its pickguard anymore, and has a new end pin and new Kluson-style tuners, but otherwise is all original. The bridge is rosewood, the fretboard is too, it's bound top, back, and fretboard, has MOP dots, a "Slingerland" stamped tailpiece, and plays beautifully (well, it does now anyway).


This guitar had loads of scuffs, nicks, scratches, etc. that needed to be removed and/or minimized. After doing that, I rubbed a new topcoat on the neck, front, and back to bring some shine around after all the cleaning. It's got a sort of lovely subdued velvety look too it, now, and proudly shows years and years of good play.


The headstock is inlaid with pearloid of different colors that has aged a bit. Originally it would've been silvery-gold and bright green. The nut is bone.


Fretboard with nice side-dots and binding. These frets all needed a lot of work. This was evidently used by a fret-grinding player. Strangely enough, after setup, all you need is a very light touch and light picking to get this thing very alive. Driven, it has that oncert archtop tone: projection, projection, projection! The sustain and resonance is unreal, however: if I talk in the room, even 10 feet away, this thing starts echoing and vibrating sympathetically. It's almost spooky.


The finish has aged-in from a "cremona brown" sunburst to a cherry/orange-yellow sunburst that I think suits is just fine.


Great lines. From the split F holes, my guess is that this guy was made by Kay or Harmony for Slingerland.


Adjustable rosewood bridge. Note the different color strings: these are a "test set" of spares: I'll be putting on some new John Pearse 80/20s in a bit.


Tailpiece.


This tailpiece was entirely rusty and flaking before polishing: now I can actually read that "Slingerland, Chicago" stamp!


Front.


These are some new Kluson style "Wilkinson Deluxe" tuners. I love these things: feel just like nice old Klusons. The original tuners were fried.


Neck.


Neck joint is strong.


Back.


Back again.


Side...


Side detail... notice use wear.


Nice figure in that wood.


Action is 1/8" at the 14th on the treble and just a hair above 1/8" on the bass.


Other side.


Other side detail...


And tailpiece with new Martin-style end-pin.

4 comments:

guillaume said...

Hi, I'd like to know if this guitar is still for sale. And please mention the price.

Thanks,

Guillaume

Mark said...

So cool to see this. I actually have one of these, found by a friend at a garage sale in Kansas City in the early eighties. I allowed it to languish until three years ago when I had the neck reset and installed new frets. I'm also blessed to own a Martin D 35 and a Larrivee L-10 CE, but don't you know, even with its, shall we say "manly" action, the Slingerland is the one I love to pick up and play! Tone that goes on for days and a vibe that just won't quit.

Mark

NFL Jerseys said...

cool guitar, but very expensive
i have a friend sale guitar, but i never saw these in store

Beatles_Drums_Drawing_Life said...

i have this guitar, and all i can say, is what a beautiful guitar. i inherited it from my great uncle when he passed. Him and i still love this guitar and its beautiful sound.