2/04/2017

1920s Oscar Schmidt-made Stella Decalcomania Tailpiece Parlor Guitar





A friend of mine has been asking me to get this instrument ready for a while, now. It's a consignor's old Oscar Schmidt-made Stella and I've worked on this same model several times before. These are 0-sized (13" lower bout) parlors, all-solid-birch in the body, with poplar necks, and stained-maple fretboards. They're not fancy materials-wise, but they look incredible as a stage instrument. Also, when they've been gone-through, they're punchy as all get-out and project like a gypsy-jazz or archtop guitar with a warm-bottomed bark to their tone due to that tailpiece setup. You can easily imagine while old blues-hounds played and favored these Oscar Schmidt products -- they're loud, gutsy, fill a room, and weren't expensive to procure (in their day).

There was old work done to the instrument before I got my hands on it by way of many old seam repairs and reglued braces, so my work included a neck reset (it had been "reset" in the past but at a bad angle), fret level/dress, new bone nut, new rosewood bridge, and general setup stuff. It plays on-the-dot at 1/16" DGBE and 3/32" EA and is strung with a set of 54w-12 lights.


The maroon-orange sunburst, slightly-alligatored patina, and worn-through-the-decals playwear gives this thing a great look. The only cracks are also on the back and shorter.


The nut is 1 7/8" wide and the neck profile is a C/V hybrid of medium size. 


The original brass frets survive and have enough meat left to last a while after the fret level/dress.



Many Oscar Schmidt decals have a foil-like underlayer that gives them a more attractive, sparkling look that catches the eye. This guitar also has actual celluloid binding at the soundhole and top edge.



My new rosewood bridge is simple in looks to match the no-frills build of the guitar.












Interestingly, the endpin was painted red at some point.

2 comments:

Robert Gardner said...

Great looking little guitar. I love the worn-through decals. Sounds pretty interesting too.

Rick Redington said...

It's amazing!