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Author Topic: Help ID an intriguing very old parlor guitar  (Read 1255 times)
L07 Shooting Star
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« on: September 10, 2011, 02:45:58 AM »

The main purpose of this thread is to find out if someone can identify this guitar and provide any info or history, etc.  I'm going to start another thread following the repair process once I start working on it.
The drummer of our band gave this to me as a project to see if I could repair it and make it play again.  It appears to be a very old parlor-sized guitar.  The only id marks I've found so far are the remnants of an old round label or plaque on the headstock and the numbers 16576 stamped in blue ink on the neck block.  What makes me think it is very old is the case!  Haven't seen one like it.  It's paper board covered in canvas with leather reinforecments and "hardware".  It opens on the upper bout end and you slide the guitar in headstock first.  The "lid" is held closed with leather straps.  It's been repaired several times including bits of hay wire!

The guitar is all solid wood.  The top is spruce.  The back and sides appear to be rosewood, but may have been stained as it is slightly more purply-red than any rosewood I've seen.  The body has aged white binding of a material I can't determine.  The rosette and purflings are inlaid and not just painted or stuck on.  The end pin is ebony with a pearly dot.  It has several cracks in it, the most severe are one on the back all along the treble side of the inlaid back strip and one on the side near the heel cap.  (More on the damage and repair to follow in a separate project thread).

Measurements:
Guitar length - 36 3/4",   Body length - 18 1/8",   Scale length - 24 3/16" (18 frets total)
Upper bout - 9 1/16",   Waist - 7 1/4",   Lower bout - 12 11/16"  Body depth at end block - 4"
Fingerboard width at nut - 1 13/16", at body joint - 2 7/32",
Neck thickness at 1st fret - 1", at 10th fret - 1 11/64"

The top bracing pattern is unfamiliar to me.  There are 3 rather heavy-looking braces, but with the usual tapered ends.  Two of them are transverse braces, one roughly under where the bridge sits, and the other in the upper bout 3/4" from the edge of the soundhole or approximately under the last fret.  The other top brace is like half of an X-brace system.  It goes from the soundhole on the bass side to the lower bout on the treble side.  As far as I can tell so far, those are the only 3 top braces but I haven't had a good look inside.  The back has 4 transverse braces.  3 look like regular braces.  But the one that crosses the back between the waist and the middle of the lower bout is flat and wide (yet still tapered).

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sigurdd44
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« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2011, 02:53:11 AM »

Cool old box!
Those parlors with the trapeze tail pieces make KILLER bottle neck slide guitars.
Send some pics to this guy:
http://vintageparlorguitars.com/

Also register at UMGF.com and go to the vintage board. They know stuff too.

MeK
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2011, 02:54:45 AM »

More pics............

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Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2011, 02:56:42 AM »

Cool old box!
Those parlors with the trapeze tail pieces make KILLER bottle neck slide guitars.
Send some pics to this guy:
http://vintageparlorguitars.com/

Also register at UMGF.com and go to the vintage board. They know stuff too.

MeK
Hey thanks, I'll definately go there and see what I can find out.  In the process of posting more replies/pics so stay tuned.

Kurt in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2011, 03:03:16 AM »

There is a metal tailpiece to secure the strings, and the bridge is a "floating" type of rosewood or ebony with a thin brass saddle that barely protrudes from it's slot.  The bridge has deep string slots cut behind the saddle presumably to set the string spacing?

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Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2011, 03:08:16 AM »

The slot-head neck appears to be one piece mahogany, but it's hard to tell for sure.  It has been "sunbursted", then really worn down to a nice patina from obviously lots of play time.  I has a very pronounced V profile.  The tuners appear original, but who knows with a guitar this old?

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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2011, 03:12:15 AM »

The neck joins the body at the 12th fret.  The fingerboard is rosewood with pearly dots.  The frets are quite skinny.  The neck joint is quite loose at the heel.  At some point, someone has tried to stabilize or strengthen the neck joint with a neat homemade oaken "stabilizer cap" and a metal pin or screw(see pictures).

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Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2011, 03:22:05 AM »

Side and butt end views.

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Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2011, 03:30:36 AM »

Check out this case.  Where you see newer leather is where I've already done some "fixing".  I at least didn't want the guitar to slide out of there or be dropped next time I picked it up!

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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2011, 03:32:52 AM »

So, any ideas on what this is or where it came from?

Kurt

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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2011, 03:47:28 AM »

Chicago made and is either a Larson Brothers or a Maurer.The decal could be for the name of a store that it may have been produce for.This suggestion is based on description and I say this as I have a Maurer on my bench now and just did a repair on a Larson brothers that had decal from a store on the headstock.Back in the early 1900's many stores and teachers had guitars made for them to sell to there local market and students.Check inside for any numbers either in pencil or a stamp of some sort,these numbers will tell you the manufacturer.
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2011, 04:36:59 AM »

Chicago made and is either a Larson Brothers or a Maurer.The decal could be for the name of a store that it may have been produce for.This suggestion is based on description and I say this as I have a Maurer on my bench now and just did a repair on a Larson brothers that had decal from a store on the headstock.Back in the early 1900's many stores and teachers had guitars made for them to sell to there local market and students.Check inside for any numbers either in pencil or a stamp of some sort,these numbers will tell you the manufacturer.
Thanks Rob, I'll check that out.  There is a number stamped with ink on the neck block.  The number is 16576.  I haven't looked inside yet with a mirror and light to see what else I can find.

So you believe this guitar is quite old then?

Kurt
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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2011, 02:50:36 PM »

With the tailpiece and bridge I'd say 20's or 30's.If I'm not mistaken the first 3 digits will be the manufactorer.Gruhn had a book a long time ago that listed some of these numbers with the builders,but as always I could be wrong.The Larson I had had that same bridge tailpiece setup.Definitely Chicago made.
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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2011, 04:04:21 PM »

Possably a Ditson? Or Lyon & Healy
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« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2011, 05:44:18 PM »

Very well could be hopefully part of the number will be the manufactorer code.
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« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2011, 06:01:45 PM »

wolf parlor?
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« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2011, 08:54:04 PM »

Possably a Ditson? Or Lyon & Healy

Thanks for that link.  Sure looks like the one I have.  Too bad dimensions weren't given.  My tuners match the description he gives for what the originals would have been like.  So maybe this thing is made of Cherry wood then.  Makes sense judging by the color of it.  Lot's more digging to do till I nail it down.  I'm thinking I best be a little more careful in handling it and in considering to what extent I want to be "restoring" it.  I definately want to make it play well and sound like it should at the very least.
Thanks again
wolf parlor?

Exuse my ignorance, but I don't know what the term "wolf parlor" means.

Kurt
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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
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« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2011, 09:27:47 PM »

Thanks for that link.  Sure looks like the one I have.  Kurt

On page 46 of  "Acoustic Guitars the Illustrated Encyclopedia" there's a picture of a Ditson model 261 c1906, that guitar looks very similar but the bridge and tailpiece are slightly different. It does have what looks like a round label of some sort on the peghead.

Here's a similar type case.    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-40s-Military-Parlor-GUITAR-CASE-AIR-FORCE-WWII-/260848978643?pt=Guitar&hash=item3cbbcf8ad3
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