1910s Bauer-made Size 2 Parlor Guitar

Update November 2020: the owner is significantly downsizing his collection and so this is now for sale. I've updated the photos, video clip, and information where needed. Back to the original info...

There's no branding on this guitar but I'm pretty sure it was made by the Bauer company in the early 1900s or 1910s. It has a number of nice features including a radiused, ebony fretboard and Brazilian rosewood back and sides. The overall build is very plain but upscale. There's no binding and the only decorative touches are the pearl dots in the board, the celluloid around the soundhole, and a single-ring rosette.

There weren't any apparent old repairs to the guitar, but the neck heel had split needing gluing and I had to go through and do the "usual stuff" to make it playable. While this probably would've been used with gut (modern day: nylon) strings at the time is was built, the owner wanted to use steel and the build is heavy enough that 46w-10 extra lights are fine on it. Update here: it's been happy with this gauge of steel for more than two years with no changes in setup/neck straightness/etc...

After repairs, it plays like a champ and has a clean, sweet, and open voice that suits fingerpicking very well. I find Bauers have a "sculpted" sound that's more-velvety than a lot of other period guitars and they have fantastic sustain and clarity. They're a bit Larson-like in that way.

Repairs included: a neck reset, fret level/dress, seam repairs, and fill/recut of the bridge pinholes and saddle slot.

Setup notes: action is spot-on fast at 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret. The neck is straight and string gauges are 46w, 36w, 26w, 18w, 13, 10 extra-lights.

Scale length: 24 3/16"

Nut width: 1 13/16"

String spacing at nut: 1 9/16"

String spacing at bridge: 2 3/8"

Body length: 17 3/4"

Lower bout width: 12 1/2"

Side depth at endpin: 3 7/8"

Top wood: solid spruce

Back & sides wood: solid Brazilian rosewood

Bracing type: ladder

Fretboard: ebony

Bridge: ebony

Neck feel: medium-big soft V-shape, ~10-12" radius board

Neck wood: mahogany

Weight: 2 lb 13 oz 

Condition notes: the heel has a repaired hairline crack (reinforced, too) and that's a non-issue except for aesthetics. It has no cracks otherwise save for a repaired, impossible-to-photo, tight 1" hairline at the bass-side waist. There are light scratches and scuffs all over the body as you'd expect for an old guy. Everything is original except for the pins and saddle.


Brad Smith said…
Very nice Jake. Are those extra light bronze strings on there? The Bauers i have seen have very fine, sculpted bracing, so that might be another clue.
Jake Wildwood said…
Yep, the bracing was really similar to one of yours. Only the back bracing was different -- slightly simplified. I think the owner's possibly rolling the dice with steel, but the it seemed OK after a couple days strung-up so we'll see.