c.1916 Larson-made Stetson X-braced 00 Guitar

Egads, it's not too often that a pearl-trimmed Larson Bros. guitar wanders onto the porch for photos! Mr. Jim S., owner of the instruments in the last two posts, traded out and traded up from a couple of other Larsons (here and here) to arrive at this luscious, teens-era (1916 to be exact) J.F. Stetson-branded x-braced lovely. It's 14 1/2" on the lower bout making it roughly Martin 00-sized but a slightly larger soundhole and tightish (Chicago-y) waist profile give it an almost L-00 or Regal 00 feel in the lap. The side depth and 12-fret neck are closer to Martin-y measurements, but it does feel a bit thinner front to back than a 12-fret 00-28.

Simply put, it's an amazingly good guitar. When you pick up a guitar and don't feel like handing it back to its owner, that's when you know it's got that "extra special sauce" somewhere in the works. Compared to other makes, Larsons (and especially this guy) tend towards strong fundamental tone with singing overtones and a lot of sustain. They've also got a sweet clarity and focus that can get lost in warmth in the case of (similar style) Martins. It's definitely geared towards fingerpicking and the wide nut (1 7/8") is tempered by a medium-oval neck shape that feels fairly modern (compared to its period competitors), to be honest.

Parts of this guitar's repair were handled by various repairmen: Tucker Barrett down in Brattleboro did a great job resetting the neck (and refretting it?) as well as installing a reproduction ebony bridge (super close!) made by Tony Klassen of "New Era" guitar fame.

Check out all that pearl... fancy digs, Mr. Jim! The modern fretwire installed on this guy also feels really nice to play on. Sometimes that just makes all the difference...

That trim really pops out, huh?

I might mention here, that the braces on this guy are solid rather than laminate braces as found on many other Larsons... and, like all of the Larsons I've handled... the top thickness is miniscule. It's like the guitar is made from paper.

Bone nut, playful pearl inlay, rosewood headstock veneer...

The bridge pins are original but the rest of the bridge is a handmade replacement cut by Tony Klassen. I appreciate the slightly folksily-cut pearl clover designs as they perfectly match the style of the cracked-up original bridge.

That's what I'm talking about... big bad old Brazilian rosewood! The owner also mentioned that the rear binding on this instrument was out of place for a Stetson-branded Larson of this time, though it wouldn't have been out of place on a Maurer-branded one.

Mahogany neck...

Here you can see just how crisp that original finish is...

There's the Stetson mark.


Anonymous said...

Drool Drool And More Drool.
I have the last 2 posts covered but would really love to have this one as well.
No doubt about it Jake, you get some great stuff through your hands.
Any chance of sound clips on some of these very interesting instruments?
I know they're not for sale, but it would be nice to hear you playing them
I'm sure you must have a few minutes available between 3 and 3.30 am each morning when you're not doing anything.

Anonymous said...


Those soundclips are so super nice. Always miss them when they are gone.
Know you are a busy familyman, but I have to agree with the above comment.

Gr. Frank

Antebellum Instruments said...

Sorry guys, it's just one more thing to do in a day... Ideally I'd do videos of all these instruments!

Maybe sometime I'll archive all the soundclips somewhere online but that's 6-7 years now of audio that's spread over 3-4 computers... :)

Tim Dempsey said...

Hey Jake, what kind of strap is that? nifty! oh, and the guitar ain't bad either... ;)

Tim Dempsey said...

maybe some sort of resonator strap?

Antebellum Instruments said...

Tim: I have no idea, maybe. It's older and looks similar to a Dobro strap, to my eyes.