c.2006 Fraulini Larson-style "Ermida" 000-size 12-fret Guitar

This is another customer's instrument in for repair. In this case it got a fret level/dress, setup, and bridge reglue (the bridge was almost off: my guess is bad storage by some previous owner as there were dryness issues with the fret-ends at the fretboard extension, too).

Immediately after restringing it and giving it a strum I said, "wow, this sounds just like a Larson." Well, duh. Mr. Todd Cambio (the excellent operator of his one-man Fraulini guitars) built this guitar as a copy of an old Stahl-brand Larson. It also plays just like one, too, by which I mean excellently. The Fraulinis I've handled have been the only modern instruments I've played that immediately recall vintage instruments. It has to do with his finishing style, hand-attention to details, and the way that handwork "feels."

They're totally different from anything I've handled that's otherwise new and aping old guitars. They're different in that they are the old-fashioned guitars!

Let's face it -- it's a lovely guitar. Spruce top, rosewood back, sides, and headstock veneer... mahogany neck with that intimate mellow-v Larson cut... radiused ebony board and ebony bridge, bone nut and saddle.

After emailing with Mr. Cambio I found out that this was a special order for Spruce Tree Music and was a copy of that shop owner's (Mr. Bremmer) own 1929 Larson-made Stahl which had more traditional all-spruce bracing rather than the laminate braces one finds in a number of Larsons.

I'd like to say at this point that a Larson-style guitar is totally not for everyone. I always consider the tone of them to be dry, refined, and elegant. They're enormously-great fingerpickers with clarity, sustain, note separation, and power. As a flatpicking instrument they can be shrill in many players' hands until you start figuring out how to pull that 30s cowboy-singer tone out of them (which is mostly accomplished by bass runs between the chords).

Even the nut style and his initial slotting style was super Larson-y.

I'm not sure whether Mr. Todd made this purfling but I know he hand-makes much of his purfling (which is a chore!). Either way, this guitar looks phenomenal. To me it feels like picking up a Larson that's brand-new from the store in the 20s/30s. The colors are fresh where I expect them to be muted browns and blacks... the finish is sweet and clean where I expect it to be worn, picked-apart, and faded... for someone like myself who sees mostly old versions of these things it's a bit of a Twilight Zone feel.

Ivoroid pins.

Hubba-hubba rosewood, huh?

Nice tuners! They're classy as all heck. Ebony buttons, too. After emailing with Mr. Todd himself, I found out that these are Larivee makes.

At the same time as the other work, I also installed a K&K pickup.

I love how he used the "strapping" style braces in the middle of the back, just like the old Larsons. Forgive the small amount of (mahogany?) dust that lingered from the pickup install.


zoharB said…
Beatiful! Thanks for posting!