1/13/2012

c.1930 Stromberg Voisinet Hawaiian-decal Parlor Guitar





If you've been following the blog for a while you may have noticed several other Kay (Stromberg Voisinet until 1931) instruments very similar to this one. This solid-mahogany bodied, ladder-braced, slightly-smaller-than "O" sized guitar was a mainstay of the company's guitar lineup from the mid-20s through the 30s. While I assume many were used for Hawaiian-style lap "steel" play (this one, too -- as it had the "number" learning system from the era written at each fret position) these are really put to best use as regular "Spanish" style guitars.

The necks on these are v-shaped, 1 3/4" at the nut and have flat-profile fretboards -- but unlike other company makes (Regal in particular) the v-shaped neck is much nicer on the hands for extended play, especially if you're playing chords up and down the neck.

Unlike this (click for link) and this (click for link), this model has a poplar rather than mahogany neck with a regular "slotted" headstock instead of the more-often seen gumby, half-slotted headstock. It also has a plain-style dyed-maple fretboard instead of the more usual pearloid one and is less fancy in some ways (less binding) but fancier in others (fun screw-on pickguard).


My work on this instrument included this new rosewood bridge, crack repair to the bass side and a hairline repair on top lower bout as well as a fret dress and full setup. The bridge pins (dyed hardwood with MOP dots) are all original save one, which is an identical same period match from my parts bin.


This decal is in spectacular shape compared to a lot of these. Note the sailboat above the treble bridge wing and the lighthouse above the bass bridge wing.


Original bone nut. I lubed the tuners and they function perfectly.


Brass frets, MOP dots... dead straight neck. Action is just as perfect as you can ask for an old 12 fretter with a flat board -- 3/32" from fret at the 12th.


This screw-on pickguard is more typical of '30s Kays and I'm guessing it was original factory hardware as it looks the part. Note the cool marquetry inlaid rosette and top purfling.


Here's that bridge. I like this wide, thin style of repro bridge -- they're new old stock West German bridges I get off of eBay and compared to other belly-bridges available on the market these look much more natural with old Harmony, Kay, and Regal makes from the '20s and '30s. Despite the fact that many of these guitars used straight, rectangular bridges, I feel that belly bridges are a good safe addition when an original bridge is damaged or missing as they really do help to stabilize a ladder-braced top from warping and excessive pull from steel strings.





Really pretty solid mahogany body. The mahogany gives a balanced, warm, and woody tone with mellow high end and tight bass.


Steel plates, brass shafts and gears. Nice!




I clamped this crack up perfectly before going to bed but unfortunately it settled slightly while I was asleep. This happens once in a while -- the repair is solid but not perfect visually. This usually happens because some chips out of the wood have occured on the edge of the crack over years of neglect... which is the case, here.



Nice back, too.



The neck set was good to go upon arrival.



...and it has a dilapidated, but "good for dust cover and storage" use original case.

2 comments:

Mr. Gambini said...

how much?

Antebellum Instruments said...

Asking $450 -- and just as an aside -- I realized that this is 1" deeper than the other iterations of this model I'm familiar with.