1960s United-made Electrified Tailpiece Parlor Guitar

I've worked on probably a dozen of this same, basic, birch-plywood, parlor guitar. These were made by United in New Jersey and come in all sorts of brands and trim styles -- click here for one, here for another, here for yet anotherhere for one more, and here for a cowboy tenor variant.

My general feeling about them is that they have comfortable (bigger) necks, decent (for a cheapy) fretwire, and are tough as nails. They always need a neck reset (whether by a big screw into the heel for expediency or knocking-off with a mallet and regluing/shimming-up -- easy peasy as the glue's always junk), but once it's in the pocket at a decent angle, you have a guitar that definitely dishes-out nicely for you post-repairs.

A customer of mine told me to "do whatever with this, and add a [soundhole] pickup." Yessir, yessir!

I gave this a neck reset (it'd been botch-ily reglued), fret level/dress, side dots, and some brace repairs before setup work. After that I cut the top to fit a Strat-sized lipstick pickup (black) in the neck position and wired it up with a volume control at the painted "pickguard" in the grab-it-with-your-pinky position. Swells!

The acoustic tone is bitey, snappy, direct, loud, and fun -- even with the 50w-11 nickel strings on it. These will easily hang with other guitars in a jam.

Electrified, it's deliciously-'60s. The lipstick pickups sound a lot like lo-fi old "plugged-in-DeArmond-acoustic" pickup sound when they're played clean and used in this manner on a hollowbody guitar. That gives them a semi-acoustic vibe because they're so balanced-sounding and chimey. Add a bit of drive or light breakup, though, and they sound perfect for fingerpicking in a country-blues manner or flatpicking for old-school garage rock.

So, yes -- I like the end result. This is a guitar I'd definitely haul out for shows.

The original bridge is shimmed-up and compensated properly for 4-wound, 2-plain. The tailpiece has, of course, been grounded. My wiring harness is also fully-shielded.