10/29/2009

c.1910 Adams Brothers Parlor Guitar


Let me begin with a big "sorry for no updates." Our DSL has been out since heavy rain on Saturday and Fairpoint Communications (now going bankrupt) has the most entirely useless, abusive customer service I can imagine. It took them until Wednesday to get a techie out to us and we're still not online. I'm writing from our local lovely cafe (Seasoned Books & Bakery in Rochester, VT) and pulled some photos over so I can at least give you a glimpse of the huge amount of instruments I've recently put out in the store.

That said, this is an excellent guitar. It's a c.1910-1920 or so, probably Chicago made, "parlor" (really a concert size for the times) guitar intended for gut strings and classical or ensemble music. It is incredibly high quality, though a life of suffering through light steel strings has caused it some belly (which I've rectified to some extent). It's setup perfectly with 1/8" action and sings at the lightest touch.


This guitar had some work done in the past on its lower bout and apparently at some point someone used tiny screws to align the bridge for re-gluing (as the tiny screws don't go through the bridge plate and aren't structural -- I may remove them soon and patch). Since acquiring it I've crafted a new bone saddle for it and dressed its frets, along with thorough cleaning, setup, etc. It has a new set of Aquila nylgut strings that give it that excellent period feel.


Did I mention quality materials? The neck is one hunk of beautiful mahogany, the fretboard and bridge are rosewood and there's some nice MOP on the board, the top is nicely-grained spruce and the back and sides are striking quartersawn oak. Everything is original to the instrument save the new bone saddle.


Nice inlay.


Very cool multicolored rosette marquetry. Note the attention to detail in the appointments. Also, the top is transverse-braced like my own c.1880s oak-bodied gut-stringer, which suggests a built of no later than 1920 (or so) to my thinking. It also suggests Lyon & Healy or other Chicago makers who were using that type of bracing quite a bit.


Elegant bridge. Oops, forgot to mention the pins are new-ish.


Label. If anyone has more information on the Adams Bros, please do tell.


Ah! A glimpse of that super-cool quartersawn oak!


Breath held yet?


Note the nice sculpting of the headstock/neck "join."


Someone reset the neck in the past, too, and a good job they did.


Inlaid center-strip.


Side. Pay attention to this profile: do you see how the upper bout's back is "bent?" That focuses the bass tones to eliminate a muddy sound. Quite advanced for the time, really, and telling of the quality of this instrument. The maker was thinking.


Oodles of beautiful oak.


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Good quality plate tuners. Buttons are ivoroid.


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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

beautiful-i have a little Regal guitar that shares some similarities.

todd said...

man, i'd love to get my ham hands on that for some 'thumpy' pickin'

just beautiful!

cheers,

todd

Jeff said...

WOW! I also have an Adams Bros. parlor guitar, circa 1897-1903. It's spruce/mahogany, but otherwise looks very similar to your guitar. I've not been able to find anyone else with an Adams Bros. guitar. We need to share some info with each other on our instruments!

Allen Hopkins said...

There's a current Mandolin Cafe thread about an Adams mandolin -- general bowl-back silhouette, but a deep, flat-back body. Mugwumps index puts Adams in Chicago around the turn of the 20th Century.

merle said...

i have a adams parlor guitar. with a paper label inside paper label says favorite made in dwight ill adamsbro guitar co