4/08/2018

1910s Harmony-made Fancy Tailpiece Parlor Guitar







I've worked on this same general guitar type over and over through the years, but this one is among the fanciest I've seen with this design. The body shape and internal build style suggest Harmony as the maker, though I can't be entirely certain. They did make many nicer-grade flattops with similar appointments, though. If there was another maker that could've built this at the time, I'd think it would be Lyon & Healy who were also out of Chicago.

In any case, these tailpiece, small-body (this is roughly "size 2") guitars of better quality tend to sound something between a guitar and a banjo in the way they project and play and they're ferociously loud for their size. For a blues player or hard-driving fingerpicker, they're pretty ideal. You can sort-of think of them as a "woody resonator" in tonal vibe.

There was a lot of old work done to the guitar including a neck reset, crack repairs, and overspray on the body and back of the neck. My own repairs included a fret level/dress, making a new compensated rosewood bridge, and cleating some of the old crack repairs. It's strung with 46w-10 steel as it's the heaviest I'd go on this guitar and all it really needs to punch like crazy.

Specs are: 24 1/4" scale, 1 13/16" nut width, 1 5/8" string spacing at the nut, 2 1/16" spacing at the bridge, 12 5/8" lower bout, 9 1/8" upper bout, and 3 3/4" depth at the endblock. Action is 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret. The neck has very light relief but it also has a slim-to-medium, V-shaped profile on the back which makes it a quick player.


The top is solid spruce and the back and sides are solid mahogany. There's some nice, light figure to the mahogany and there's tons of fancy purfling all over the guitar.


There's binding on all edges and the headstock binding is also "on the back" of the headstock as a backstrap, too. The original nut is ebony.


How about that pearl and abalone?




All of this purfling would've been a riot of color when it was made.






Crisp, right? That looks so classy.

The neck is mahogany, too.







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