1960s Robert Klingensmith 00-Size Flattop Guitar

The story on this 00-size box is that Robert Klingensmith out of Pennsylvania built this in the '60s for a fellow who gave it as a gift to his girlfriend, Lexie -- hence the headstock. Just recently, it was sent "home" to the son of Robert who lives right here in Rochester, VT with his family. His son (the grandson of the builder) will now be using it while coming-up in the play-for-folks world of small events and shows in the area. How about that? I love a happy ending!

While it'd clearly seen some play, it hadn't been used in decades and came into the shop in very rough shape. There were tons of cracks that were all jagged, some half-glued, and hideous. The neck block had caved into the body and distorted the top a fair amount. There were loose braces. It had all the "usual stuff."

Work included: a neck reset and reinforcement to the upper bout, fret level/dress, lots of crack cleating and filling, new compensated bone saddle, new bridge pins, side dots, lots of setup-side adjustments, and general sprucing-up. It now plays with a straight neck, bang-on 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action, and it's strung with 50w-11 gauges. These are the heaviest I suggest on it considering the unreinforced neck.

It's a very cool guitar and has a Guild look to it while sporting Gibson-like details and a shrunken-Hummingbird body outline. The top is solid spruce and x-braced while the back and sides are solid, birdseye maple. The pearloid pickguard with its screw-on mount reminds me of Kays, though.

I love the folksy "Lexie" inlay and the rosewood veneer at the headstock. The tuners look like German-made units and have neat, pearloid buttons. The nut is bone.

The board is rosewood and flat. The heart-shaped pearl inlay is, again, charming as heck. The frets are medium-large and the back of the neck has a slim-to-medium C-shaped cut to it. I think the nut might've been about 1 5/8" in width.

Over the body, the fretboard drops-off pretty steeply and also shrinks in size side-to-side. Ah, homemade guitars!

The relic'd strap button at the heel is non-original, but I knew this was going to be used standing-up so I added it.

The tortoise binding against the bright maple looks wonderful.

As a final note, the builder is the cousin of "hillbilly" guitar-picker Rex Klingensmith who can be heard on these old 45s below:


daverepair said…
Love it! It's challenging enough to build guitars, even these days, with all the resources available: in the '60's, info and supplies were not easy to come by, for the novice builder. And it's rewarding to bring these one-offs back to playing condition. Nice work, Jake.
Phillips said…
I love me a good guitar story. Nice work Jake.
rod herron said…
Thank you so much for bringing the "Lexi Guitar" back to life! I am the fellow who asked my cousin Bob Klingensmith to make a guitar for my girlfriend Lexi. The year was 1968 and we were both sophomores in college. I had the opportunity to see Bob carefully training the wood to curve. I remember a flat board with holes in it with pegs thus by wetting the wood and adjusting the pegs Bob was forming the sides. Now this was years ago! It was just just meant to be. I saw Sam playing in a video. Then I said it's going to my 3rd cousin Sam,
then it went Jake Wildwood a very talented craftsman. WOW SHE SOUNDS GREAT! PS--- by the way the guitar worked,we have been married 49 wonderful years!