1920s Oscar Schmidt-made Size 5 Tenor Guitar

Alas, I have no video for this guitar. Sorry!

While this thing looks a lot like same-period Harmony tenor guitars, it was definitely built by Oscar Schmidt in New Jersey. It's solid birch throughout the body and has a poplar neck and ebonized maple or pearwood fretboard. Judging by the trim, it probably dates to the late '20s or early '30s, but the short scale length and small body suggest it's an earlier build while the decal and some of its looks suggest later. It's almost identical to some of the lower-end Stella-brand tenor guitars I've seen from the time.

I worked on this for a long-time customer and he'd had it given to him in a terrible state. Many seams on the body were wide-open, all the top bracing was loose or damaged, the bridge had been replaced by a crude, handmade one, and it was nice and filthy.

I corrected all of that and now that it's buttoned-up, it has a woody, pleasant, sustained voice that works very well for standard CGDA tuning. It has a decent chime and good volume for its size, but it's not going to win any projection prizes.

Repairs included neck-bolt reinforcement (internally), three new braces installed on the top (to replace damaged originals -- I cut the new ones from 120+ year-old spruce), a new ebony bridge, newbone nut and saddle, replacement bridge pins and endpin, seam repairs, side dots install, a fret level/dress, new tuners install, and a setup.

It plays perfectly and now has a drop-in saddle slot for easy setup adjustments in the future.

18:1 Grover Sta-Tite tuners are a little overkill for a box of this caliber, but they sure do work well. The headstock shape recalls Stella-brand tenor banjos of the time.

At leas the face dots in the multi-hairline-cracked fretboard are pearl.

I love all of the scratched-in signatures or remembrances -- whatever they are.

The new bridge is a nicer version of the crude, handmade bridge that had been installed on here before. This new one is ebony and has a bone saddle and vintage pins.

The heel shape and finishing style are dead giveaways (at a glance) that this is an Oscar Schmidt product.

I left the nice hole on the back for giggles' sake. It poses no structural risk.

A parts-bin '30s celluloid endpin rounds-out the look.