9/27/2014

c.1935 Oahu Parlor Guitar Conversion


This is a customer's guitar I finished up on Friday and it began life as a raised-strings Hawaiian lap guitar complete with a cast-aluminum bolted-on bridge with a straight saddle. It came to me like that... except that the neck had been hacked off at the body (ugh) and a bolt-ish type of system was half-installed.

I was worried about that joint but after much frustration I managed to make do with disposing of the funky old bolt attempt and installed my own variation in its place. After that came the new bridge, a fret level/dress, pins, new saddle, cleaning, and a setup. Voila! A perfectly-playing, happy-sounding old bluesy 12-fret. I like.



What appear to be "cracks" are weird streaking in the finish. There are a few old crack repairs (lower bout treble side top and some on the back) that are stable but not pretty, however.

I'm not entirely sure who made this guitar. The neck and heel shape and style remind me of Regal builds but I honestly think this may have been made by Oscar Schmidt right before the company went bankrupt. It has OS-style serialization in the soundhole (mid-brace stamp), the bracing is not like any of the other Chicago makers I'm familiar with, and the body shape is definitely not quite the same as a Regal, Kay, or Harmony (the former two being the ones I most associate with Oahu).

Interesting, huh?

In addition, the neck wood is that greenish chewy poplar I associate with OS builds. It was slightly obnoxious to try and install a proper bolted-neck approach to this instrument in that wood (since it compresses so easily) but "we gots its done."


All-original up here... though I did do some parts-bin fishing to replace two of the shafts on the tuners that were mucked-up with the wrong set-screws installed.




The body is all solid birch with faux binding but the new bridge is rosewood-ish (some Asian-sourced equivalent) with a new bone saddle. The plastic pins are from my parts bin.





I had to do some fitting of the heel to remove the curved sanding job done before.






Amazingly... an original endpin.

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