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Chris Loeffler

Help IDing a vintage parlor guitar

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I got a guitar in a trade but I haven’t been able to ID so far. The original owner stated it was a 1917 Washburn. Well I don’t see how that could be the case given the markings, there is no badge in the sound hole nor any serial number or ID stamps on the instrument to even indicate which brand it is. It looks like The bridge was re-mounted at some point, in the lacquer is lovely but spider and definitely showing age. The guitar itself sounds beautiful. It lacks some of the refinement that a modern design in the higher and guitar would have, but it has a richness that is probably only possible for an instrument is been played for decades. It’s not going to help me retire my Taylor 814, but it’s a nice extra text you to have, and I’d love to have more backstory!

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Fretboard Jounal #31 had an article by Peter C. Howorth about the early history of Washburn and Lyon and Healy instruments - there will be contact information in the magazine. Also, as you probably know, instrument building at that time was very convoluted - many different companies came and went, several made instruments under other names. Washburn of course was one of the premier builders, a far cry from the brand today.

 

https://www.fretboardjournal.com/fea...-whats-inside/

 

How about some more pics?

Edited by Freeman Keller

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That's a very cool looking old guitar Chris - congratulations! That thing is dripping with vibe!

 

Some possibilities: Lyon & Healy, Regal, Washburn, C. Bruno, Stella... as Freeman said, there was a bunch of different brands and builders back then, and often they were sold as OEMs - but most of those would have a label or stamp of some sort. Any sign of a label that once was, but that came off or was removed? Nothing stamped into the back of the headstock?

 

You might want to contact vintage parlor guitars and see if they can help you ID it.

 

http://vintageparlorguitars.com/

 

 

George Gruhn might also be able to ID it for you.

 

http://guitars.com/

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Nice guitar Chris -looks a little bit like my Montgomery ward guitar ( a company simalar to sears - made by washburn ) but mine doesnt have a star at the top but a banner . have heard of a company named Steward ( a banjo company -maybe guitars as well ) that uses a star on the head -maybe maybe not . Their were so many guitar companies back in the early 1900 -that its hard to keep up on them . The face of yours seems to have been refinished -looks a little bit on the thick side ? that hurts its tone

 

A word of good advice -those old ladder backs cannot handle todays steel strings- you need low tension - and id keep the tension off the neck when your not playing it . I own 3 nice old parlours ,2 are Washburns .

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