9/30/2011

c.1925 Lyon & Healy 0-Size Rope-Bound Guitar





There are no markings on this guitar but it is without a doubt made by Lyon & Healy in Chicago around c.1920-1925 or so. It's almost identical in build quality and style to their American Conservatory (just below high-grade Washburn) line, though I do recall a reference in the good old Washburn book to a Washburn-branded Hawaiian built like this. Either way, the label is long gone, but the glue spot where the round label was affixed is still there in the soundhole.

So, the lowdown? This is an all-solid mahogany guitar, through and through, with fancy (but yet low key) rope binding on the top, back, and soundhole, which gives it that classy down-to-earth Hawaiian look. It's rough a 0-size guitar and features light, but firm bracing (only two braces on the lower bout!) that keeps this guitar going just fine with the extra-light round core strings I have on it (48w-10).

This was definitely intended as a Hawaiian from the outset as it has no strap button on the end block area but looks like it was played as a Spanish instrument after a while (considering the fret divots in the first 5 frets).

As a Spanish guitar the tone is warm, woody, with good volume, and very sweet as both a flatpicker or a fingerpicker. I'll bet it would give a nice soothing slide tone, too, but I currently have the action setup for buttery Spanish play, so the saddle (or nut) would have to go up for that.


My work on this guitar included: neck reset, neck block reglue (it had split from apparently a neck banging incident), related side crack reglue, fret dress, slight saddle/bridge shave, new ebony nut, tuner lube, new unslotted ebony bridge pins, as well as the usual cleaning and setup. Oh, and I cleated a couple of already-repaired (so it seemed) hairline cracks to the top.


From the upscaled quality, I think this might be the L&H Washburn-labeled Hawaiian. I'll have to check my books to corroborate that, though. Either way, it's a first-class little "parlor" size partner. The neck is a big old V shape but like the old Washburns and other Lyon & Healy products, it's quite comfortable to play vs. many of the other brands at the time. Something about the way it fits the hand. Not bulbous...?


Rosewood fretboard and bridge add some class. MOP dots in board. Nickel-silver frets.


Isn't that rope binding just so darn elegant? And the hog is to die for!


I love them Chicago-style bridges. Nice!



Pretty stuff!



While the finish is mostly original, there were some scuff/scratch marks on the back that look like they got a little clear-coating at some point. Does not detract at all as the stuff wasn't spread everywhere! Looks like someone just rubbed in some French polish.


Gorgeous slotted headstock, original tuners, though I replaced 4 of the tuner screws on the plates for better grip. Bakelite buttons.


Here's that 2" hairline on the side from the neck block having been split. All stable now and you don't see it at all when it's in your lap (or, for that matter, when anyone walked by it or tried it out in the store...)...



Pretty hog on this fella.


Tuners work perfectly.




Ah, voila! No end pin = probably setup for raised Hawaiian playing to begin with.

1 comment:

Dk Daluca said...

Beautiful guitar. I picked one up like it at an auction. I was told the same thing by luthier. 1918ish Lyon Healy. It has a painted flower stencil on it at bottom though. What do you project the value to be?