11/29/2009

c.1935 S.S. Stewart (by Harmony) Archtop Guitar


Though sold under the S.S. Stewart brand name (originally a fine banjo maker in the late 1800s) and marketed by Buegeleisen & Jacobson, this guitar was made by Harmony. It's definitely a great-quality machine, and thunders out chords with a woody, warmer-than-typical-for-an-archtop tone. It doesn't lack the penetration and clarity typical of archtops, however.


Materials include a hand-carved quality spruce top, solid mahogany back, sides, and neck, and binding front, back, and neck. Cool pearloid block fret markers, awesome multicolored marquetry purfling, and of course that super-cool celluloid headstock veneer. This thing breathes vintage charm.


The nut is original, and is bone.


Fretboard is rosewood, with nickel-silver medium frets.


Here's my new bridge arrangement -- a rosewood topper with feet of bone on the treble side and ebony on the bass side. I think this gives really nice sustain and a sweet overtone to the treble and a warmer, punchier bass. The original bridge had been cut down and made useless when I got it.


Cool warm, cherryish tobacco sunburst.

I had to reglue the neck block (it was annoyingly loose) and do a neck reset on this guitar, as well as some brace reglues, which had previously had a poor neck reset attempted. How's it play now? 1/8" at the 12th fret and super easy.


...


Bridge detail.


Marquetry detail. This cool grain is also repeated via the bookmatching on the other side of the upper bout, too.


Back.


New Grover tuners.


B&J logo. Note the nice mahogany of the neck.


I love the look of the back and side mahogany. It lightens this guitar up, too, which makes it really easy to handle for long sessions.


Yum! There are a few glued-up hairlines on this guitar, however -- one down the middle and one on either side of the upper bout -- they're dryness openings along the grain, and all secure now.


Side.


Other side.


Tailpiece is original... and nice little end strapping & ebony end pin, too!

4 comments:

Liesbeth en Karl said...

I thought B&J stood for Buegeleisen & Jacobson.

Wikipedia: Buegeleisen and Jacobson was a musical instrument seller during the 1930s and 1940s located in New York, New York.

The company sold several different types of guitars to locations around the United States including Kay De Lux guitars, Serenader guitars, S.S.Stewart guitars, and National guitars. The company also sold Serenader ukes, Abbott trumpets, clarinets, trombone, accordions, and violins. Many of these instruments are collectable items. [1]

Antebellum Instruments said...

Liesbeth: Exactly, you're right. Mind flop over here -- just the other day I entirely forgot my ATM pin number and it drove me crazy...! Thanks!

Liesbeth en Karl said...

Buegeleisen incidentally means a iron appliance - so you can probably iron out the back seam.

As with many of those (NY or Chicago) brands, it doesn't say a whole lot about who made it and what quality it is.

But it looks stunning...

Anonymous said...

we have what we think is 1935ish stewart B & J. Can I have ur email so i can send u a photo? susancrisp@att.net