9/02/2012

c.1930 Harmony-made Ludwig Ultra-fancy Tenor Guitar


This delicious, late-1920s, early-1930s Ludwig-branded tenor guitar was made by Harmony in Chicago and is patterned on their various incarnations of the "Lindbergh" model tenor guitars they made around the same time. It's part of the high-end family of Harmony flattop products. Similar quality Harmony instruments I've worked on are this one, this one, and this one.

This particular instrument is a customer's, and he had it in for service from Chicago before shipping out further afield to Australia, where he lives. I'm super happy he had it "waypointed" here for work, since it's such a fun instrument and it's nice to have it grace the blog.

My work on it included: wing reglue to airplane bridge, new lower bout brace install (to stiffen and sturdy up a non-braced lower bout), fretboard extension removal, planing, and reglue, softwood "patch" over bridge plate area and also a bigger softwood "patch" (for reinforcement) under the fretboard extension area, which had some hairline cracks. In addition there was the usual cleaning, fret level/dress and setup done.

And how'd it turn out? With the additional lower bout brace, this is about the most focused Harmony tenor of this grade that I've worked on. These tend towards the very warm and sweet and can have an unstable lower bout (since they're not braced), but this one has the warmth but is also focused and much less woofy. I think it's a big improvement!


Woods include a beautiful solid spruce top and solid mahogany back, sides, and neck -- with a fantastic, fantastic flamed Cuban mahogany back. There's super-cool celluloid checker binding on the top and back edges as well as the soundhole, and nice herringbone purfling throughout as well. Getting to the neck... it's got a bound fretboard, ebony-veneered board itself (maple bottom, thin -- 1/16" -- ebony top), and oodles of pretty pearl inlay. Nut and saddle are, of course, bone, and the "airplane bridge" is rosewood.



Nice stuff!

The action is rolled down to slightly over 1/16" at the 12th on the bass and 1/16" at the 12th on the treble -- perfect!



Tons of "washboard" pickwear, but for good reason... tone, tone, tone!


Ebony bridge pins.








See the "dot" on the heel? Someone countersunk a screw in this for reinforcement at some point.


Nice "planet" tuners!





Original end-pin, too, with rosewood "endstrip."


And here's a better pic of the back, to really draw out how intense the flamed Cuban mahogany is. This stuff tricks people (including myself, years ago) into thinking it's koa when it's not. And heck, it might as well be! Ooh, la, la!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great Guitar Jake and more of your thoughtful and caring work to get it up and ready to tackle it's next incarnation. You've done very well.
Thanks for all that you do for the Musical Community.
All the best
Alex