7/11/2015

1890s Haynes-made Bruno Rosewood Parlor Guitar




This Boston-made guitar came in for a fret level/dress and setup but it had some work done in the past including a neck reset, new bridge, and a bit of finish touchup/overspray as well as a total refinish of the back. The previous repairman hadn't addressed the frets or the light warp in the neck, unfortunately, which made it rather unplayable as the setup was off and the frets either buzzed like mad in some places or the action was too high in others.

It now plays spot-on, and while it was designed for gut strings (the Haynes serial number at the headstock dates this to around 1895), it's been wearing steel for a while and dealing with it just fine. The neck didn't deflect at all under tension from a set of 50w-11 strings so I kept those on it rather than lowering the tension to 10s. The sound is, like other Bay State finds would suggest, gorgeous. This is easily on par in terms of quality-of-sound with Vega parlors and Martin 0s that I've played from the teens and 20s.



The top is extremely thin and ladder-braced.


Rosewood is used for the headstock veneer, fretboard (rare for the time), and also the repro bridge. The nut looks like ebony to me.


Haynes-made guitars tend to have these cool big pearl dots and a very mild radius to their boards. Combined with a softer v-neck feel, this makes an ideal fingerpicker (which is what it's best at).


Isn't that trim lovely? Like on Martins, the Haynes detailing is refined, simple, and done with a very crisp hand. It's elegant.


The replacement bridge gets the job done, though I did have to shave/reprofile the bone saddle and add some string ramps for good back-angle on the strings.




The owner told me that when he first got the guitar the finish was totally alligatored. I believe it, as there's a lot of the alligatoring left. The back has been refinished, however, which -- while not to my taste, per se -- does afford a beautiful view of that Brazilian grain!



This is a typical Haynes heel with that cool, narrow, "straight keel" sort of shape.


The guitar itself is extremely lightweight, like a Martin 0 from the teens, and feels great in the lap.







As an aside, I shot a picture of the frets before work... here's a straight-edge over the frets. See the gap between these middle frets and the bottom of the straight-edge? That's how much bow/warp there is to the neck. It's the low point of the "curve."


While it may not seem like much (it's only the thickness of this machinist's rule), that amount of relief, combined with frets not seated evenly, would mean that action would need to be 1/8" at the 12th fret to keep the frets from buzzing all over. Usually I set guitars up for 1/16" action from high E to low A (low A is usually slightly above) and then 3/32" for the low E. 1/8" would feel incredibly stiff compared to that.

It means a proper setup cannot be achieved at all until it's addressed, which is why I put emphasis on having frets leveled/dressed before doing any sort of setup work. Accuracy is important!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to pick her up tomorrow! I have one complaint though... The sounds that come out of it when when you play it are much nicer than the ones that come out when I play it!

Anonymous said...

Wow love the tone on this one. So warm.

Jake Wildwood said...

LOL :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Guitar Jake. Lovely warmth about it.
I would have to agree with the Owner (1st Post) The ones you do for me never sound as good as when you play them. I guess you just strike the odd lucky note here and there.
Thanks as always for your great work that you share with us.
All the best
Alex

charlie said...

Thanks Jake for referencing the Bay State dating page in your description of this guitar. I'm hoping the owner will contact me on the email address of that webpage, I was unaware that Haynes made guitars with the Bruno label and would love a few more details on the guitar...many thanks

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I'd be happy to give you any details I can for the Bay State registry. What information would you be looking for? Jake is far better versed in that kind of thing than I am. I will try to get all the details I can when I pick it up this afternoon.

charlie said...

Hi Anon, I'd be interested to know how it is branded and the serial number and if it has any other numbers or letters. I also see at the back of the headstock there seems to be a shadow of some writing. Can you email me at the Bay State Serial number webpage link Jake has in the description of your guitar?....Best Regards..Charlie

Jake Wildwood said...

Charlie: it was a 15xxx number as I recall.

charlie said...

Yep, thanks Jake, I'm going to compare this guitar to all the Bay State Styles I photos of and see if it's a Bay State Style branded as a Bruno or an entirely different animal made specifically for Bruno.