3/07/2014

c.1880 German-made? Gut-strung "Parlor" Guitar




The same family that brought that gorgeous 1959 Aubin classical guitar in also owns this one. It was in for a neck reset, new bridge, crack and seam repairs, a generous cleaning, fret level/dress, and setup. All of that's done and I'm glad to have it strung up and playing.

The story on this one is that it was purchased when the original owner lived in Spain. Now, to my eyes, this is not very much like a Spanish guitar. I'd guess that it's more likely German in origin and French if not German. It's got the hallmarks of instruments in that pattern including the vaguely "size 2" body dimensions, simple ladder bracing, spruce top and maple back and sides. The "ice cream cone" heel and black-painted neck further cement it in the German tradition.



Now that it's cleaned up, it sure is a nice looker. I like the simple "violin style" purfling along the top edge. I've never been huge on bindings so it appeals to me.


The slotted headstock is mated to the neck in a joint rather than cut from the neck. The bone nut is new but with fairly old stuff like this I try to give it some believable wear/less-precise cutting to get it to fit in with the instrument. Highly-polished nuts just look silly on guitars like this, to my eyes.


The black-stained maple fretboard with its brass frets is pretty typical for the time. Also typical for this type of guitar is the very slim, quick neck. Except for the flat profile it could be something I'd expect to play on a modern 12-fret guitar. The reason it can be so slim and unreinforced is that it was built for gut/nylon strings (for which tension it holds up just fine).


Nice multicolored rosette, too...


...and here's my new rosewood bridge that fit over the footprint of a large, later-addition classical "tie block" style bridge that had fractured. I originally wanted to use a fret saddle but I went with bone in the end to match the nut. The bridge pins are old wooden ones, slightly mismatched, from my parts bin. They look right for the age of the guitar, though.


I love seeing the odd grain that's often included in the maple from guitars of this time.




The neck block was actually slightly split and the seams were all coming undone when this came in. During the neck reset I fixed all that mess and now it's good, sturdy, and ready to go for the next 100 (I hope).




Bone buttons and cute "grape cluster" motifs on the brass plates...


...and the original endpin.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi, glad I found this. I have just bought a guitar almost identical to this one. Slightly different machines, only 17 frets with a gap at the end of the fret board and a HUGE strap button. Apart from that very very similiar