1890s Bay State Style H Parlor Guitar

This is the cleanest old Bay State I've worked-on yet -- no cracks, beautiful finish, and all-original save the pins and strings. For a guitar this old, that's incredibly rare. For one that was strung with steel (no, don't do it!) for decades, at least, it's even more rare. These were built for gut (modern: nylon, nylgut, flurocarbon, classical) strings when they were made and usually steel bellies-up the top quite a bit and warps the bridgeplate when left on for long periods. None of that here, thankfully...

Also: did you check out that Brazilian rosewood on the back and sides? Makes a fella swoon!

A local buddy dropped this off for repair -- and/or consignment -- and I let it flounder for a while, assuming it'd need more than it did. In the end it just needed a neck reset and a glorified setup. On any guitar this old, I usually expect the need to reglue a bunch of braces, seams, and deal with other mischief when going through them, so I set them aside for times my brain can handle the process. It was nice to get off "light."

As far as tone and handling? It's a Bay State -- made in Boston by Haynes. These were well-thought-of when they were made and they're still excellent guitars. I put them in the same league as the same-era Washburn instruments of the time -- at first they appear a little "stiff" in construction, but I think that's mostly because the bodies are so compact and so even very light bracing yields a stiffer box (hot tip: there's more flex with wider soundboards). Once you play them, you realize that the rigidity of the design is what keeps them sounding clean, responsive, and full with gut or nylon strings (as they were intended). There's a lot of focus in these old guys that's just not there in something like a contemporary Spanish-style classical guitar with their deep, boomy bass. I tend to think of them as far more suitable to folk-style fingerpicking because of that.

While most Bay States have a serial number and style number stamped into the top of the headstock, this one doesn't, so I can't place the date any closer than the decade, unfortunately.

Repairs included: neck reset, fret level/dress, replacement pins (ebony), setup.
Made by: Haynes
Model: Bay State Style H
Made in: Boston, MA, USA

Top wood: solid spruce
Back & sides wood: solid Brazilian rosewood
Bracing type: ladder
Bridge: rosewood pyramid-style
Fretboard: rosewood
Neck wood: mahogany or possibly Spanish cedar
Tone: clean, warm, focused, responsive

Action height at 12th fret: 3/32" overall (fast, low for classical)
String gauges: D'Addario Pro-Arte medium-tension nylon
Neck shape: medium-big hard V
Board radius: ~10"
Truss rod: none
Neck relief: straight
Fret style: small and very low

Scale length: 24 5/8"
Nut width: 1 7/8"
String spacing at nut: 1 11/16"
String spacing at bridge: 2 5/16"
Body length: 18 1/4"
Body width: 12"
Body depth: 3 3/4"
Weight: 2 lb 12 oz

Condition notes: it's clean throughout with minor finish weather-checking here and there and, of course, old UV-yellowing as you might expect. The top would've been finished the orange color at the factory, however. There are no cracks and it's all-original except for the bridge pins and endpin. There's a tiny patched pair of holes at the rear of the heel and near the endpin -- nothing obvious. The frets are quite low and small -- something they were when original but a little exacerbated through a level/dress and wear. I don't have an issue playing it but some players may prefer to have it refretted if they're not into low wire.

It comes with: an old chip case (non-original).


Rob Gardner said…
Beautiful little guitar, very compact and elegant design. And that is some serious rosewood, yum, yum.
Unknown said…
Yep. Ideal aged spruce color, and a fantastic bold but understated rosette to boot.
Unknown said…
Is this old girl for sale?