6/07/2015

1910s Lyon & Healy "Lakeside" 0-Size Guitar




This is a lovely "little" guitar. I hesitate to call something like this a "parlor" as it's really a concert, or "0" size at 13 1/4" across the lower bout. It's a customer's instrument in for repair and my work was a (shallow) neck reset, new bridge, fret level/dress, and full setup. It plays spot-on and, amazingly, has a good amount of bass and mids for this size and bracing -- that being L&H's standard ladder type.

This guitar is "almost a Washburn" in that it's built to almost the same specs, shape, size, and feel of a 1900s-1910s era Washburn but it uses slightly "inferior" (not in my opinion) wood for the back and sides. Interestingly, the purfling on Lakesides from this time seems to generally be a bit fancier than their more "elegant" upscale brethren. I also think the sound on this particular guitar is a lot better. It's not as "stiff" and has a more substantial airy bottom-end to the sound. I don't like to flatpick most guitars like this, but this one handles it just fine because of that extra lift.




Everything save the bridge, bridge pins, and saddle appears to be original. This has an ebony nut and backwards-rotating tuners. I gave them a good lube and they're working just fine, but do have a bit of backlash when down-tuning sometimes.

That's rosewood headstock veneer.


The v-shaped neck is mahogany with an ivoroid-bound, radiused ebony fretboard. The dots are pearl and the frets are that vintage, small stock. It's almost exactly like the feel of a period Washburn neck. The neck itself has remained dead straight even though it came in with the remnants of what feel like 11s or 12s for strings. I've got 46w-10s on it to keep it in good health... and it doesn't need any more than that to drive the top.

The nut width is 1 3/4" and the scale is 24 3/4" which is "just about perfect" for me.


I adore the multicolored purfling on this guy. Check that out!







I modified a parts-bin repro bridge of mine (ebony) for this guitar. It looks great on it, though it's just a touch narrower than the old one. The old bridge had split (as a result of a botched bolted repair job) but I like the look of the low-profile saddles that L&H (and the Larsons, for that matter) used on their bridges so I tried to give it that effect on this new bridge. The pins came with the guitar and are newer plastic ones.


The benefit of a modern-style bridge, however, is that when action sinks in winter a shim can be popped right under the saddle to get the action back up.





Here's the original for reference. I've seen this same bridge a couple dozen times, now, and they all have a saddle that just barely pushes over the top of the bridge.



The back and sides are a riot of gorgeous quartersawn oak with a "red oak" finish. Just lovely!

I think oak, as a tonewood, should be regarded more highly. A lot of the oak-backed guitars I've handled and fixed up have had a great sound. I think it tends towards a little bit more bass with a pinch of that maple clarity and "ka-chunk" compression added in.








Yep, the sides, too!





There's an old repair to the side over here. It's good to go.


Nice burn-stamp in the soundhole, too.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow!
That's a Beauty Jake.
Love that Oak and she sounds great too.
Thanks for sharing

Art 'Dreco said...

The oak gives this guitar something special in both tone and appearance. It says a lot about the level of craftsmanship in the early 20th century.