1920s Stromberg-Voisinet Hawaiian-Decal Parlor Guitar

I've worked on scores of these old Stromberg-Voisinet (renamed Kay from 1930) Hawaiian-fantasy parlors and this is just about as typical as they get. It's complete with a pearloid-veneered fretboard, three-point pyramid bridge, all-mahogany body, and outrageously-cool tropical decals.

Compared to a lot of the other budget makes at the time (Regal, Harmony), these were a bit bulkier in the bracing along the lines of an Oscar Schmidt "Stella" build. This means they take heavier gauges more comfortably and hold-up to modern playing styles a bit better. You can thump them with a flatpick if you like and achieve decent results, though they're still perhaps best fingerpicked.

I worked on this for a customer and he may or may not sell it, but wanted the work done anyhow. It got a neck reset, refret and level/dress (the only way to satisfactorily take care of warp in a pearloid-veneer board without removing the veneer), crack and brace repairs, some big seam repairs, and a saddle fill/recut to a compensated angle and a new bone saddle, too. It's all-original save for the saddle and newer plastic pins. Currently I've got a set of 54w, 40w, 30w, 22w, 16, 12 strings on it and, despite a little bellying behind the bridge, it's settled-in just fine -- action is spot-on at 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret.

This guitar is roughly "0-size" with a 13 1/4" lower bout, 3 3/4" depth, and a shorter 24 1/2" scale length. It's got a couple of repaired cracks on the lower-bout top and one at the pickguard, but is otherwise crack-free.

The body is all solid mahogany but the neck is poplar. The fretboard is maple under the celluloid and the bridge is rosewood.

The "Gumby-shaped" headstock with its half-slotted design is a neat touch. The nut is bone and 1 3/4" width. This has a flat-profile fretboard and a big, hard-V neck shape.

The "Elvis P 1963" signature is intriguing but looks totally bogus to me.

My new saddle slot is drop-in so it's easy to adjust action height.

These guitars have a "satin" finish that's very thin and scratches easily.

1 comment:

Nicholas Ratnieks said...

Elvis P. He would be Rosco P Coltrane's brother, I'm sure.