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Neal wil appreciate this.

We were away from the house last weekend and when we returned there was a message on my machine.   "Hi Freeman, you probably don't remember me but I met you 40 or so years ago when we were in a professional society.   I'm retired, do a little wood working and built a couple of guitars.   A mutual friend thought I should show them to you...."
 
I actually remembered his name, gave a call and invited him to stop by.  He arrived with three cases, a very nice classical guitar that he had built, a very nice baritone ukulele, and a funky old clapboard case with some stickers on it.   I admired the classical and uke, then he said "have you ever heard of Stella guitars?"   "oh my god yes, I said, I love the old Stellas and have built a copy of one of their 12 strings".   I opened the case and inside was a sweet little parlor guitar with the faint "Stella" logo.
 
He said "I'm cleaning out a bunch of stuff and would you like it?".  I said "of course, what do you want for it?".    He said "(our friend) suggested that you might set up my classical so it is a little easier to play, if you would do that the Stella is yours".
 
So, I am in the process of doing a setup on his classical guitar.
 
Here is MY new old guitar
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Ladder braced, of course, unknown wood but the top and back are each one piece.  Mother of toilet seat fret board, some cool engraving.    Interesting gold sparkle rosette and purfling.     Remarkably good shape, it needs a reset eventually but a little setup right now and its very playable.
 
Seemed appropriate that the first thing I played on it was the wonderful Jay Unger theme from the Civil War series, Ashokan Fairwell.   Then a little Betty and Dupree, Freight Train, some MJH.    My kind of guitar.

 

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1 minute ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

Wow! About how old do you think it is Freeman? 

I'm guessing 1920 to 30.   It was not one of their cheaper models - the pearloid fretboard and gold rosette tell me it was somewhat up market.   I've got some research to do.    Sure fun to play

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Congrats!!! Love the bakelite fretboard! I have seen one or two like that over the years, great score for the cost of a set-up! That is definitely one of their 'upper tier' models with gold purfling and 'carved in' logo on the headstock, just below the Sovereign line. Definitely Schmidt era, not Harmony.:thu:

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That. Is. Beautiful.  Pyramid bridge, probably birch(?) classic player.  Neil Harpe wrote a nice book about Stella, got one years ago, gotta find it, but if you’re interested, 

http://www.stellaguitars.com/

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Hey...Stella.  Classic Gambler, 1930-32 .
...sorry for the “take me to Havana, or I’ll blow up the plane”. ;)

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Got a reply back from Neil Harpe (he was helpful when I built my long scale 12 string a few years back).   He says it is a 1932 Oscar Schmidt model #5066-G, sold new for twenty bucks (notice that you can get a dozen of them for $90).   When you think about a $20 guitar at the height of the Depression that would be a pretty high end instrument.

 

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Mine is in remarkably good condition for a 90 year old instrument.   It needs a neck reset (which I can do but will put off for a while) and the bridge plate is pretty chewed up, action is a mile high but its a killer slide guitar.  

 

 

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20 hours ago, Neal said:

Hey...Stella.  Classic Gambler, 1930-32 .
...sorry for the “take me to Havana, or I’ll blow up the plane”. ;)

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interestng..I thought the Gamblers had more cards on them?

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2 hours ago, daddymack said:

interestng..I thought the Gamblers had more cards on them?

I got to fix a crap shooter's uke once a long time ago

 

IMG_1063.thumb.JPG.6f0ef08c57f8eb6de2100774dec15892.JPG

 

 

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I was perusing some of the old parlor and OO size vintage stuff this past weekend because of this thread. There were some soundbites of some of them and I gotta say I'm not a fan if tone is part of their appreciation. I get the romance with vintage - I'm a softy for old rag wing biplanes - but, like any other guitar, if it doesn't suit my ear it's still just someone's cast off junk.

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Tone certainly is subjective.  Glad you’re not the gatekeeper of good guitars! 😁

Those old guitars really shine when played by folks that know their way around the fretboard.  It certainly is an un-refined sound compared to the modern guitar building techniques.  That’s what makes them desirable.  That’s what makes some small builders recreating them behind in orders.  That’s why folks like Freeman devote hours and hours into recreating them.   Junk?  You are definitely entitled to an opinion!   Presenting opinions is a fine line, eh?  Sometimes it can come off as belittling another’s. (Which I know is not your intention)

 

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Thanks Neal

I'll tell two little anedotes.   Both concern a all mahogany 00 sized guitar that I built a few  years ago.   Shortly after I built it I took it to the Steel String Listening session at the Guild of American Lutherie conference.   That kind of a cool concept - builders submit a guitar, they are tuned by the same helper, then the same player plays the same little ditty on each one.   The builder stands up and talks about his/her guitar - materials, bracing, finish, building theory....    The guitar before mine was a beautiful modern fingerstyle guitar - it has about every buzz word in modern lutherie.   It had a sound port and offset sound hole and double topped lattice braced with fan frets and a floating fretboard.   Build from some mystery wood and carrying a price tag close to a new car.   Mine was played next and I stood up, introduced myself and said "my guitar is the antithesis of the one you just heard.   It is my tribute to the wonderful cheap guitars of the Depression era that I grew up listening to.   It is simple mahogany, simple bracing and simple appointments.   It would have sold for fifteen buck in 1930...."   

I sat down and the woman next to me whispered "I liked yours better"

Second story.   I took that same guitar to a jam following a house concert a couple of weeks ago.   I got passed around, one guy was raving about how good it sounds (he normally plays a big blingy expensive Taylor dread).   He asked if I would sell it, I said no.   He asked if I would build one for him, I said maybe.

This guy is an encyclopedia of knowledge about folk and root music - for years he has hosted a folk music show on our local public radio.   Oh, and he is blind.

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everybody stay calm here

a parlor sounds different than a dread than a jumbo than an ovation etc.

for dylan or neil young like strumming a dread sounds perfect, whereas a parlor does not much shine here.

for finger picking, slide and robert johnson like blues a parlor is the thing to go. it sounds just right, its much more comfy to play in sitting position
yes you could play it on a dread or a jumbo but it does not sound the same.

others love the sound of an ovation, but playing tha blues on it sucks, whereas it has a lot of other great applications..

to everyone its personal taste and preferrence. i like my dread and my parlor and i tend to play some things with the one and others with the other.
thats also the reason i bought a dread again (my first one would need a refretting but is not worth it) after a got a parlor guitar

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You guys know Beck?  I think he summed up his thoughts on an old guitar he bought for 60 bucks years ago, Silvertone, pretty well.  It’s electric, but the sentiment is certainly valid in this case.

It’s a cheap guitar from the Sears catalog, basically made out of particle board. It’s not considered remotely in the pantheon of great instruments; it’s sort of looked down upon by real musicians. I think I bought it for about $60. Now I have dozens of incredible, classic guitars, but I keep going back to this one that’s supposedly not so good. It barely stays in tune. But it just has this sort of rickety sound — beautifully hellacious, but also a little broken and tender. I’ve recorded so many of my albums with it. I’ve been playing it my entire career.”

https://www.silvertoneworld.net/electric/1448/1448.html#

AE614858-E747-4FF7-9651-4DC01C515DE4.png
now THAT is a craptastic guitar, yet...

if you still have free articles left from The NY Times, here’s the link to the article

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/22/arts/music/beck-favorites.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Music

Edited by Neal
Pic.

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Very nice petite guitar, FK! I love it!
 

I hope you’re doing fine! 
 

(I should have time to lurk around more for the upcoming weeks as I just have had surgeries yesterday. I can’t play guitar because of my belly for now, but I can read!) 😉

Edited by Misha
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12 hours ago, Misha said:

Very nice petite guitar, FK! I love it!

I hope you’re doing fine! 

(I should have time to lurk around more for the upcoming weeks as I just have had surgeries yesterday. I can’t play guitar because of my belly for now, but I can read!) 😉

Hello, Misha, good to see you after such a long absence. Hope you recover quickly.

Bonne chance!

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18 hours ago, Misha said:

. . . (I should have time to lurk around more for the upcoming weeks as I just have had surgeries yesterday. I can’t play guitar because of my belly for now, but I can read!) 😉

Sorry to hear about your surgery but I'm glad to "see" you again. Take care and post when you can.

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Hi Garthman and DeepEnd!

I just had my gallbladder plus another (benign but misplaced) mass retrieved. I have a few stitches but I already feel relieved compared to the pain I had! I can hardly believe it! 

I'll be around and gladly read  your topics, listen to clips and enjoy your posts!! 🙂

Edited by Misha

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