1/25/2014

c.1935 Oscar Schmidt-made Collegiate 0-size Tailpiece Guitar




A buddy of mine has been exporting a bunch of fun guitars from California out here to Vermont. This is one of them, direct from the Sween Collection. It's a fun little thing in black and white, bluesy as all heck, and in a shapely version of 0-size goodness (13 1/4" lower bout). My work on it was a simple fret level/dress, setup, and cleaning. I also glued down that pickguard again where it was coming up a bit here and there.




You've gotta give Oscar Schmidt credit -- they knew how to make a stylish guitar. The "binding" on this model is painted-on and the wood is all solid birch, but it's got such a classy look that it gets away with it. The other great thing about Oscars is that they're sturdy, too, and take travel and gigging very well. The sound is similar to other tailpiece-style guitars in that it's got a warm, strong fundamental followed by a snap and bite. Because it's OS, though, it's creamed-up overall which gives it a darker voicing compared to a similarly-built Harmony or Regal.

It's no wonder they've become such collector items.


Ah, new nut, too. Forgot about that. It's bone.


The frets are brass and the board is "ebonized." The neck cut on this instrument is a medium-v shape but it has that peculiar OS way of feeling comfier than a comparable Harmony or Regal with a similar-depth cut. It's also got a longer (25") scale vs. the competition.



I love the funky old tailpiece. Amazingly, the fret-saddle/slotted bridge works just fine. I often have to remove these and make replacements (then stash the old one) as they can get overtone-y or buzzy, but this one works just fine with the set of 50w-11 strings I have on it. I think this guitar could easily do 12s but I wouldn't go beyond that unless the player is detuning.




The tuners look like they might creak and groan but they don't -- they're smooth for oldies and hold pitch.





The heel cap is also pearloid but it's hard to see in the sun. The neck looks like it was reset in the past.


The only crack is this tiny tight hairline on the rear lower bout and it's not going anywhere. It's right above the endblock!



Original (oversize) endpin.


PMICo was just a retailer/reseller.


Yeap, and it has its original chip case, too.

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