9/13/2015

1910s Unmarked Super-00 12-Fret Flattop Guitar




This spruce-over-mahogany gem is a customer's guitar that's been long in-the-works. I actually "finished it off" last week but was letting the top deflect (or not deflect) before final setup. Thankfully enough I actually didn't have to adjust it at all because it stayed-put.

I'm not at all sure who made this instrument but parts of it remind me of those nice-grade Oscar Schmidt-related Galiano models and parts of it remind me of Louis Sutz builds. Either way, it's a finely-made instrument with lightly-cut ladder bracing and a slightly-domed top. I'm sure it was built for gut/nylon strings to begin with but after years and years of steel it seems unharmed by them, so I've got it strung with 46w-10s (extra light) and it's happy with them.



Work included a neck reset, fret level/dress, bridge plate cap install, recut of the saddle slot to allow for a compensated (larger) new bone saddle, and some cleating of old crack repairs where I could. It plays perfectly and with a good straight neck.

The sound is glorious and flits somewhere between a really good Oscar Schmidt product (the best Sovereigns and whatnot) and a Larson Brothers creation. Sustain is rich and defined and fingerpicking is simply a delight. It's rare that I enjoy guitars like this that much.



The board is a flattish, mild-radius rosewood.



Rather than fill and recut the saddle slot, I simply widened it and used a bigger bone saddle to get accurate intonation (via adjusting the top of the saddle to an angled shape). The bridge pins are replacement rosewood ones as the mix of older/newer pins that came with this was pretty worn.


The body is 14 3/4" across the lower bout so this feels and sounds more like a 000-size 12-fret body more than a 00-size 12-fret. Hence -- "super-00" size!


The mahogany is quality stuff.





Here you can see the brutally-repaired side cracks that go all the way around the side of the instrument. Rather than popping all of them and laboriously cleating it all up, I simply cleated it where I could to, hopefully, keep it going as stable as it is now.



We went for StewMac Golden Age repro tuners on this'n.




I must remember to pop a rosewood button in there...

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