1890s Haynes-made Bay State Style Z Parlor Guitar

These little "size 1" and "size 2" parlor guitars from the late 1800s are always fun when they're finished-up. The #7004 serial number on the headstock suggests that this was made in the early 1890s and the bone-buttoned tuners certainly corroborate that. The "Model Z" was one of the more common Bay State models at the time and I've worked on a number of them over the years.

A lot of people try to string these up with steel and are unsatisfied with the tone (which, with steel, tends to be nasal and boxy and too dry). However, if you restore these and string them up as they should be (with gut, nylon, or fluorocarbon and the like), you're granted a sweet, clean, and warm tone that begs to be fingerpicked and gently strummed. These guitars, afterall, were built with gut in mind, and that's how they sound (and feel) best.

This particular guitar is a basic spruce-over-Brazilian-rosewood job and has no binding or any decorative touches save the pretty pyramid-style bridge and simple lined rosette. It has ladder bracing (though lightly-cut) and handles beautifully after repairs. It had a bit of a neglected life and there's the evidence of some sloppier old work done to it, but now it's back to health and in good order.

One nice bonus on this guitar's design is that it has a radiused fretboard which gives it a more modern, comfortable feel to the neck. It's also quite rare for anything modern with nylon/gut strings to have a radius on the board, so this is interesting in itself.

Repairs included: a neck reset, bolt-reinforcement of the tenon neck joint, reglue of a hairline crack in the heel, bridge reglue, fret level/dress, side dots install, cleats for a number of previously-filled hairline cracks on the top, realigning the nut slots, cleaning, and setup.

Setup notes: the neck is straight, action is 3/32" overall at the 12th fret, and strings are D'Addario Pro-Arte classical strings in light tension. Medium tension might serve better, however, if one were to restring it later-on.

Scale length: 24 5/8"
Nut width: 1 7/8"
String spacing at nut: 1 5/8"
String spacing at bridge: 2 5/16"
Body length: 17 1/4"
Lower bout width: 11"
Waist width: 6 3/8"
Upper bout width: 8 1/8"
Side depth at endpin: 3 3/4"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: solid Brazilian rosewood
Neck wood: Spanish cedar or mahogany
Bracing type: ladder, light
Fretboard: rosewood
Bridge: rosewood pyramid, original fret saddle
Neck feel: medium hard V-shape, ~10" board radius, frets are low/slim

Condition notes: there are 5 or 6 longer (3-4") hairline cracks on the top that have been cleated and/or filled as necessary. There are also a couple short hairlines that were previously repaired on the top near the fretboard extension. The back and sides are crack-free. There's a bit of blem to the treble side of the bridge where there is a filled small hole -- it's not obvious -- and a bit of blem to the finish around the edges of the bridge from where it was (incorrectly) reglued in the past. The heel has a repaired, tight, hairline crack to it and one tiny dot of fill on its back edge. I've added a bolt (internally) to the heel/neck joint as these have shallow tenon joints and I like to have extra reinforcement. The bridge pins and endpin are ebony replacements.

It comes with: a presumably-original wood coffin case in OK condition. It needs linings but considering the state of most of these, it's in great shape for its age.


Reese said…
How close is this one to "CLEO," Jake?
Jake Wildwood said…
Pretty similar! The RW makes it a bit darker, though.
will said…
Hi Jake. How much for this beauty and how much would you charge to convert to left handed?
Reese said…
You know: that's exactly what my ears told me, A-B-ing both sound clips: "Very similar; this one is a little darker" — which makes sense, given the dif materials. I'm empirically learning something! But its voice is just lovely, too.
jon szalay said…
I am working on the same model z bay state , really love this guitar , the history , the delicate build , I too am resetting the neck and currently have the back off , I am considering using a fastener on the neck as you state you did install a bolt , is that a lag screw you used ? The heel is so small I want to do the right thing , thank you