c.1960 Candelas Folk Guitar

Candelas is a famous Border-influenced maker in Los Angeles that's still making some fine bajo sextos, vihuelas, and classical/flamenco guitars to this day. The owner of this guitar said it was custom made for him probably around 1960. He's a folk blues player and while this guitar has a 12-fret dreadnought shape to it, it also has a funky half-ladder, half-fan bracing that recalls to mind 50s and 60s folk guitars out of Germany (read: Hofner, Framus).

There was a lot "wrong" with this instrument when it came in (neck pulled forward, warped neck, hairline cracks in the upper bout, classical-style top loading bridge which would not allow cutting-down of the saddle) and I addressed a lot of it, but the quirks add up to a guitar that plays nicely (~3/32" at the 12th) but not exactly spot-on.

Part of the issue is that the saddle was never compensated (it's a straight-across design) which makes the bass end of the instrument play out of tune as you go up the neck. I keep feeling like this is an instrument that maybe was intended for nylon or gut and then wound up getting used for steel over time, which is what the owner wants to use it for. Fair enough: it's got 46w to 10 extra lights on it and seems to be holding up just fine.

The big old rosewood-veneered headstock is very classical in looks, as is the 1 7/8" nut and flat-profile fretboard with big old neck.

Rosewood board.

This has a typical classical-style rosette. The binding and purfling is also similar to what would be seen on a high-end classical model.

Here's the result of conversion as well as recutting to a pin-bridge load so I could lower the action. If I'd left it as a classical-style bridge I would have had to reset the Spanish-heel neck which would have been perhaps a bit much for this player's needs.

The back and sides are solid rosewood (nice!).

The funky, pearlescent big old tuner buttons look great in their odd way.

Isn't that a lovely old back?

This is a big guitar and it has a big old tone: lush, full, but surprisingly fundamental and direct. This doesn't have the sing-songy harmonics of an x-braced instrument. It responds very much more like a concert classical guitar.

And here's the label! 1066 Sunset Blvd.


Matt @ Best Guitar Cable said...

I don't know what it is about it, but I really like the look of that bridge. So simple and clean.

Antebellum Instruments said...

Well, I truly appreciate that, as it was quite different to begin with, though the same footprint!

Anonymous said...

If there still is minor intonation issues on the bass side, it might be an idea to try Thomastik strings . Silk and steel type that intonate lower as you go up the neck ( more like a nylon string ) . Just an idea ..

Antebellum Instruments said...

That's a really good idea, actually. Thanks!