2/17/2015

1920s Oscar Schmidt-made FHCM Parlor Guitar




This 0-size parlor is a customer's instrument in for repair. It's all-birch all over (save a poplar neck) and, like other FHCMs (First Hawaiian Conservatory of Music brand) I've spruced up for regular "Spanish" style playing, it has a nice warm, old-time tone which is peculiar to OS builds. I don't know of any other ladder-braced guitar that gets that thick, warm midrange that these guys do and that's part of the reason they're so popular vs. other makes from around the same time.

Other features that make these more palatable are (generally) sturdier necks and bodies and 25" scale lengths with a more rounded neck profile than often hard-v-shaped competition.


This guitar already had a funky-but-effective neck reset and some sloppy crack repairs but I've fixed those old repairs, a few seams, cleaned up the neck joint, added a new repro-style rosewood bridge (with compensated bone saddle), leveled/dressed the frets, lubed the tuners, and set it all up.

Oh -- and a new pickguard, too, to hide some unsightly screwholes from a previous guard that had been on it at some point. I styled it on variations I've seen on other old OS builds... which mostly have the stuff in weird cream pearloid. The faux-tortoise isn't perfect but does look pretty snazzy in person.

A hint for making your own custom pickguards: I trace the outline I want with clear plastic and Sharpie, cut that out, and then transfer over to the pickguard sheet. Easy-peasy, though usually a bit of fitting is required to make it match exactly.


Amazingly, I could reuse the silly old wood nut.


I added side dots for modern convenience. The frets dressed up well, too.



If the finish looks a bit weird it's because someone topcated it at some point. It has that funky blues parlor aesthetic, though. The new bone saddle is my own and the pins are actually vintage wood ones from my parts bin. I managed to find a same-style set in there!



The back has a bunch of hairlines... all of which had been repaired with cleats but had opened up over time. I quickly filled them and color-matched to a certain extent.




So much buckle rash!


These are the colors I totally associate with 20s Oscar Schmidts -- "red velvet" with cream binding. Love it.



What's nice about this guitar is that it was a straightforward repair since the neck was quite straight and it had been reset at a decent back-angle.

No comments: