1900 Joseph Bohmann "Paris Exposition" Size 2 Parlor Guitar

This is an awfully pretty guitar. Like the other Bohmanns I've worked on, it sports very-lightweight quadruple x-bracing on the lower bout and a comfortable, almost modern-feeling neck profile with a steeply-radiused fretboard. These guitars were definitely ahead of their time and Bohmann's own self-advertising from the time suggest it, too.

Apparently, this guitar was made for the Paris Expo of 1900 and it would've been a good box to show off. It has solid spruce over solid Brazilian rosewood back/sides, a mahogany neck, and rosewood for the fretboard and bridge. The back has a lot of arch to it which gives this a punchier tone than it otherwise might have (like on many smaller Larson guitars). The trim is excellent, too, and features binding all over, wooden furniture-style purflings, and a pearl-bedecked rosette, fretboard, and headstock.

Work was rather simple as it came in excellent shape -- no cracks, a good neck angle, and an essentially-straight neck. I gave it a fret level/dress, lightly-shaved the top of the bridge near the saddle area, adjusted the saddle, added bridge pins, cleaned it up, and set it up. It doesn't get much easier than that for a 117-year-old guitar. Most instruments from this time would need a lot more.

It's pretty and dignified, no? Size-wise it's a clone of a Martin "size 2" and has a 12 1/4" lower bout and 3 7/8" depth at its deepest point (in the middle of the body).

This has a wide, 1 7/8" nut width coupled to a shallow, round C/V neck shape. The strings are Thomastik/John Pearse hybrids -- classical basses and rope-core-steel trebles. The tension is the same as a classical set, however, and intonates in the same manner. This has a 24 11/16" scale.

Yes, the "ferrules" are pearl, too.

I love the abalone rosette. Imagine how much those wood rings would've popped when this was new! They would've been bright orange, red, green, and yellow.

The rosewood bridge is well-executed and even has an original drop-in saddle and saddle-slot.

Rosewood, rosewood, rosewood!


Unknown said…
that is one positively beautiful looking and sounding instrument
Brad Smith said…
Bohmann did exhibit in the 1900 Paris Expo with a variety of stringed instruments. excellent work Jake as always to respect the original condition.