1920s Lyra (Harmony) Rubber Bridge Parlor Guitar

Acoustic clip above...

Electric clip above...

This 1920s-era, Bruno-sold, Lyra-branded guitar is yet another name-change variant of the typical 1910s-1930s Harmony-made "parlor" guitar design. It's just a little smaller than a Martin 0-size instrument at 13" on the lower bout and sporting a 24 1/8" scale length. These come in all sorts of flavors -- with and without tailpieces, fancy-as-heck in spruce over rosewood or cheap-as-heck in birch (as here) throughout. Most, like this one, are ladder-braced and underbuilt for the pin-bridge loads they usually carry and so, as you might expect, they wind-up ravaged by time.

This particular guitar suffered a lot over its life and was eventually neglected. It sat neglected here for the last few years, that's for sure. I had to do all the "usual" work to get it back in playing shape -- a neck reset, fret level/dress, crack and seam repairs, bracing repairs, re-repairs of botched old work, you name it -- but now it's playing on-the-dot and stable. It shows a little warp to the top around the soundhole and some prior life-scars, but that's par for the course with these old boxes.

Did I mention the checker binding? ...or the metallic-reflective decals on the lower bout? Yes, it's cool.

It was originally a pin-bridge guitar but that was long-gone when it arrived here. Because I knew I was doing it up "rubber bridge" fashion, I just tailpieced it (with a '30s tailpiece) instead. I fished an old ebony tailpiece-style bridge from my parts-bins and fit it with the "truck tire saddle" material I use for these monstrosities.

Other work included fitting the Strat-style pickup and a wiring harness with an old bakelite knob for the volume pot at the shoulder, fitting a new nut, and adding some StewMac "Golden Age" repro tuners at the headstock.

It has "that sound" -- the round, tubby, slightly-springing rubber bridge thing. It dampens and fattens the sound and removes most of the sustain, too. I'm using pretty light gauges -- 50w, 36w, 26w, 20w, 15, 11 in nickel-wound -- and that's just about as much tension as these old '20s Harmony boxes like, anyhow, for standard tuning.