4/06/2012

c.1890 Cincinnatus "Parlor" Tailpiece Guitar





This is a real early steel-string guitar, utilizing a tailpiece and floating bridge setup, and also branded "Cincinnatus" with an "RWB" monogram tailpiece and German-made bone-buttoned brass-plate tuners. Now, that RWB monogram was used on Rudolph Wurlitzer merchandise, but construction details on this instrument are mighty close to Bay State guitars from the same time period. So -- that's my conclusion, at least -- that this was more than likely made in the same factory as the Haynes "Bay State" instruments and then resold by Wurlitzer.

My work included a fret level/dress, crack repair, brace reglue, headstock (one side) crack repairs, new ebony bridge (tried to make it fit in), new end pin, and slight alteration of the original tailpiece (it had been broken at the "hinge" so I bent it further up and thus shortened it about an inch so I could reuse it).


Either way, it's a stunner. Plays great, has oodles of volume and a rumbly, warm, punchy bass with snappy trebles. There's only one tiny hairline crack to the top on the treble side of the soundhole and it's all glued up.

This has an unbound ("pumpkin" stained) spruce top, Spanish cedar neck, and it looks like the back and sides are either the same stuff (Spanish cedar, or "cigar box mahogany" as it's a type of hog), or possibly the back and sides are a dyed-dark poplar.


Original ebony nut, rosewood fretboard. Note that the headstock's treble "wing" has been reglued in 3 places, but they were hairlines so they're good and stable now.


Curious big-dot ivoroid markers.



Here's my ebony bridge to replace a missing original. I tried to sort of approximate the style of the times while yet improving on it. Note that the bracing on this guitar is extremely light. There's one brace below the soundhole and a "bridge plate" brace on the lower bout, and that's it. Of course, this means the top bows down a little bit in the center, but that's typical of these older first-generation steel-stringers.


Nice RWB "Wurlitzer" stamped tailpiece.


Cool Cincinnatus logo in the soundhole.


Don't the back and sides look nice and red-brown pretty in that sun?



Here are those German-import, bone-buttoned, brass-plate tuners. I lubed them and they're good to go.




The heel is in good order.






New rosewood end-pin, modified tailpiece hanger. I added new screws for the tailpiece mount as the originals were simply short nails which I thought were pretty crude.

Overall, this is a great old-time guitar and also fits for ragtime and early blues really well. The neck is a lot smaller (front to back) than most period (or heck, anything at the time other than a Martin) necks and has a shallow v-shape. This makes it well suited to modern playing styles since one can get around just like on a modern neck.

2 comments:

Tj blue 4157564735.sf cal text me said...

I have the same exact guitar.how much are they worth

Jake Wildwood said...

A zillion dollars...

Really, not a whole lot. Parlors go up and down in price but one like this -- maybe a few hundred totally fixed-up these days. If it hasn't been serviced -- it'd be cheap.