c.1930 Harmony-made "Vagabond" Parlor Guitar

This guitar was made by Harmony, probably for some distributor (I feel vaguely like I recall seeing a B&J mark on a "Vagabond" instrument before...), and features a solid spruce top, solid birch back/sides/neck... and incredible volume, punch, and sustain.

I did a bunch of work on this guitar... regluing seams, lots of cleaning, fret dress, new bridge, new bone nut and saddle, new rosewood bridge pins, cleaning, setup, and -- the binding was missing on the neck but some prior owner had shaved the "ridge" where the binding sits above down flush with the board edges... so... I cleaned that up a bit, sealed the open wood with some finish, and "ebonized" the side of the fretboard edge to give it more of a "done" look to it.

It has a slight bit of relief on the treble side (like, under 1/32") and after setup the instrument plays with 1/8" (from the board) action at the 12th, which is pretty much "factory standard" for these guitars. With the 52w to 11 strings on it, it sounds great, warm and punchy. It's a very gutsy guitar, and I expected that -- because I've worked on essentially the same model guitar about a half dozen times, each one with a similar awesome tone.

It's a superlative blues or fingerstyle guitar, and has a very "old timey" tone when flatpicked.

Check out the sweet pickguard.

Red/green fret markers are way cool.

New bone nut.

New rosewood bridge/pins,bone saddle. Wing "dots" are abalone.

This decal is very detailed and crisp and looks fantastic. I'm a huge fan of old Robin Hood movies and stories and this guitar has totally sunk its teeth into me!

Fun red/brown sunburst all over.

Original tuners work great and are nice and clean. I oiled them up and cleaned them up a bit. White bakelite buttons.

Good neck set.

Neck profile is a comfortable (but rather thicker than say an old Martin) V shape.

Oh, right... body has top binding and soundhole binding in multi-ply celluloid.


Jon said...

This guitar meets all of my standards of coolness. I'm in no position to buy anything but I have to ask. Is it for sale?

Antebellum Instruments said...

It certainly is.

Jon said...


Antebellum Instruments said...

Jon: You may have to take it up with my wife!!! She's become attached to this guitar over the past couple days to the point that I'd be worried about what would happen if I sold it. IE -- "You sold ANOTHER one I liked?!" -- and who am I to argue about keeping another guitar...??

RK said...

What a great decal. This is the nicest use of MOT I've seen on a guitar. Is the neck 13/4 or 17/8?

Antebellum Instruments said...

RK: 1 3/4" -- great open-tuning instrument. Just restrung it with slightly lighter sets and an unwound G so that I can switch between my versions of open E and D (EBEG#BE and DADADF#).

Anonymous said...

I have this same model of guitar, although mine is pretty beat up.
How much are they worth out of curiosity?


Rebecca Bradbury said...

I have a Harmony Vagabond Mandolin model # F34 and I'm wondering if you might know anything about it. I've been having a hard time finding information on it. Thanks. :)

Jake Wildwood said...

F-34 corresponds to 1934. The model number would be on a stamp like 1234H1234 where the bit of it that says H1234 is the model number. Vagabonds weren't made for a real long time and are usually on the order of student grade to mid level at very best. A lot of them are all birch or spruce tops over birch.