9/19/2014

c.1925 Oscar Schmidt-made FHC Parlor Guitar




This 0-sized 12-fret guitar is a customer's that was in for work including a neck reset, bridge reglue, fret level/dress, new bone nut and saddle, and setup/cleaning. It also got some new ebony pins all around. She plays great and has that husky, darkish old-time sound I find typical with old Oscar Schmidts with a very defined, thick mid-presence that the blues guys really like.

Heavier ladder bracing combined with solid birch construction throughout the body definitely contributes to that sound while the longer (for the time) 25" scale helps drive that sturdier build. What's funny about these guitars marketed under the First Hawaiian Conservatory brand is that they were not at all built to be regular (Spanish-play) guitars so they often need a bunch of fudging to get them playing well. This one (thankfully) was never overstrung so the substantial neck has no warp and the top is perfectly flat, too, with no cracks.


The finish is just like on our family's little sharing-uke (it's an OS, too) -- a sort of deep red/brown with cream trim that's yellowed with age. The finish (like most OS products) has an enormous amount of weatherchecking and some alligatoring.


The original tuners got a few replacement screws... and the headstock has a new bone nut (the original wood ones are always too mealy to use for standard stringing).


The weird board coloration is due to this having had those position stickers plastered all over it when it was built. I didn't remove them but someone else did. The brass frets have been leveled and dressed.


Top edge and soundhole are bound.


The bridge (stained maple) was far too cool not to reuse. It has a hairline crack along the pins but seems quite stable after regluing it. I enlarged the saddle slot and installed a compensated bone saddle so, yes, this plays in quite good tune after setup. Those are new ebony pins.



Despite all the finish muck there aren't any cracks (yippee).







This violin endpin was in my parts bin and worked just fine for the OS aesthetic which usually would have a giant endpin installed.


Soundhole label.

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