8/16/2012

c.1935 Marwin No 1 Archtop Guitar


I received this guitar in part of a trade deal and, lemme tell you, what a beaut!

I worked on a 1939 Marwin a while back, but this one is a step fancier and in much better condition. It's also had a K&K Twin installed at some point as well as a professional-quality neck reset and setup in its recent past, featuring a newer bone nut and nicely re-compensated original bridge topper.

When I took it out of the shipping box, it was close to ready-to-go, but needed new strings, a light fret level/dress (there was a small amount of buzzing from uneven frets up the neck), and a small amount of setup at the nut. It now plays effortlessly and smooth, with good bite and zing for solos and a crunchy, condensed tone for chording.

These Marwin archtops were made by Harmony in Chicago, and judging by the nice tuners and hardware as well as the bigger v-shape (but still comfy) neck compared to the late-30s and 40s thinner Harmony shape, I'd guess that this was built around 1935-ish.

 
The headstock shape is nice, as is the stenciled logo and edging. Newer bone nut, polished.


Nice, slightly radiused rosewood fretboard with smallish pearl dots. Classy looking!



The guitar is crack-free throughout with a nice, glossy, thin finish. The reddish-brown sunburst is also quite lovely. There is, of course, use-wear and picking wear to be seen as well as little scratches, but overall for its years and obvious use, it's in fantastic shape.

The top is solid spruce (pressed) and the back and sides are solid birch with faux-flame finish to make it appear like maple from a distance. The neck seems like it's probably poplar or maple, also dark-stained.


Both the top and back edges are bound in creamy-white celluloid and the top edge has zipper purfling inlaid, which looks super slick and eye-catching.


This is the original rosewood adjustable bridge. Note that the B string slot has been compensated quite nicely.


Good tailpiece!




Good, seductive, press-arched back as well. This is a 16" lower bout.


These fancy tuners are in excellent working order.


See all the playwear on the neck? Obviously used!


Celluloid heel cap, perfect join.






When the K&K Twin pickup was installed, the endpin was enlarged for this jack and the tailpiece cut to fit it. This was nicely, professionally, installed and looks great.

This guitar begs to scream some jazz, swing, blues, or old-timey fingerpicking. It's got volume, cut, and looks to spare... and if you've been reading the blog a while... you know I love me these nice old Harmony archtops, and this was the best period for them.

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