c.1935 Paramount Archtop Guitar with Adjustable Heel

What a peculiar guitar! This one has strange f-holes (unlike the broken holes of Kay, Harmony, or Martin for that matter), an adjustable heel (with full-body-length metal rod from neck block to end block), three-piece neck, rosewood fretboard, pearloid headstock veneer, and get this... wood (rosewood?) binding around the fretboard, top, and back.

In other words -- a strange bird!

Everything's original except for: new Kluson tuners (replacing a replacement set of 60s Japanese tuners), new bridge feet (strangely enough, the bridge topper and adjustment screws were still with it), and also a new strap button at the tailpiece (had none previously).

Aside from the new hardware, I also cleaned the guitar up, gave it a fret dress, repaired and cleated a crack at the top bass f-hole, and gave it a full setup. Plays real fast. The neck is very quick, too -- feels just as slim and easy on the hands as an old Gib.

This guitar's body is all laminate -- three-ply top, back, and sides, with press-arched top and back. It's "tone bar" braced. However -- that laminate is certainly no problem in the tone department. This thing has a big, extremely loud, punchy, and woody tone, that is super sustained.

I still haven't figured out what the woods are exactly, but if I had to guess I'd say the neck was either a birch or maple 3-piece with (rosewood? something?) center. I think the back and sides are birch laminate, but they look suspiciously similar to Lyon & Healy's monkeypod stash from the 20s.

Really cool "tanburst" pearloid headstock veneer. Despite the Paramount name, Lange never made this thing...

Good, fast neck with rosewood fretboard, nickel-silver frets, bound with rosewood binding (including side dots).

Here's part of the adjustable-heel device. This makes setup a breeze. You detune, loosen a bolt at the end block under the tailpiece, adjust these set screws at the heel, then tighten up the bolt at the end block again. Instant neck reset!

It's this weird device that makes me feel like this guitar was some sort of collaboration or sales gimmick from National, though Kay made use of similar technology for a bunch of their instruments in the same era. The wood binding and general style (and especially neck feel) of the guitar, however, don't "feel" Kay to me.

This simple neck adjuster system makes this a perfect road instrument.

Cute detail at the fretboard end.

These "self adjusting" feet were just the ticket in the tone department, and their wide bases held spread string load.

Original (elevated) tailpiece. Added a hunk of maple under the tailpiece base to keep the tailpiece from sagging into the top or pulling unnecessarily hard at the end block's edge.

Cool guitar, yessir. I love the wood binding... gives it a nice understated look.

Twice-replaced tuners. These repro Klusons are a little bit "off-era" but they work great. I've got them lined up following the contour of the headstock, just like the original tuners were mounted.

Tailpiece end. Note the square adjuster bolt for the rod that goes from the end block to the neck block. Adjusting it here tightens or loosens the neck to the neck block. I think that big long rod also


Anonymous said…
I have a paramount arch top guitar with blonde maple venir black binding around the body same exact headstock a pick guard w a painted gypsy. Same exact neck adjustment system ,don't have the original tailpiece. Do you have any more info about paramount guitars. GregH.
Anonymous said…
It also has the same segmented f holes. GregH.
Anonymous said…
I have a similar paramount with neck adjust system, the back of the neck is stamped B231 on back and has pearl inlay on front of neck. I found it in the trash, its plays well. I can not find any information anywhere.....have no clue of value...