11/21/2010

c.1925 Oscar Schmidt O-size "Parlor" Guitar


Blues fiends, eat your hearts out. These old Oscar Schmidt (New Jersey) guitars are what old folk-blues fellas just love, especially since a smattering of 20s and 30s artists used them. This is their O-size concert-ish model, one of their typical mailorder line ones, bearing the dubious "American Conservatory" name, and made from solid birch throughout. Of course, like most of their entry/mid-grade models, is has some way-cool decalomania stuff going on with a faux-pearl rosette and funky backstrip.


This guitar was a mess when I got it -- no bridge, seams open, top braces all popping off, in need of a neck set, cracks in the fretboard, etc. -- and in addition to that the old owner had popped strings in the pin holes (sans bridge) and then used a dowel on the top as a "floating bridge" -- thus the old pin holes started wearing out and tearing up the top where the original bridge used to be.

At any rate, I did all the necessary work, cleaned it up, and set it up, and it has a beautiful warm, sweet, and direct tone, perfect for fingerstyle, blues, ragtime, you name it.



Cute little decal.


MOP dots on the ebonized board.


Sweet reflective decalomania "rosette."


I used a belly bridge rather than a pyramid type because of the totally worn-out and slightly damaged old bridge pin holes. This placed the new pin holes further back on an untouched part of the bridge plate and top, and also stiffened the top a little bit further. I chose rosewood rather than ebony because rosewood tends to impart a sweeter, warmer tone, and sometimes these old ladder-braced guitars can be quite honky of the bright part of the sound is enhanced.

And speaking of the top... it's nice and flat, no belly... which is nicely surprising!


It's cool how the sanded edges give this a "wood binding" look. And the sunburst finish, of course, looks fantastic. This guitar's a nice player, but the big old v-neck is a "must get used to" feature for many modern guitarists.





The guitar is also fortunately crack-free save a 1.5" hairline on the back, which is glued up.



Cool brass-plate & bakelite-buttoned tuners work fine.







...and an original MOP-inlaid end pin. Not bad!

This guitar sports a 25" scale which gives it a little bit more of a "modern" sound over the usual 24" scale guitars of the time, which sound mushier or too rich when flatpicked heavily.

1 comment:

Mr. Gambini said...

im interested, how much
domgambini@gmail.com