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Can you identify this guitar?

GUEST,irishajo 02 Mar 03 - 11:19 AM
reggie miles 02 Mar 03 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Phil Cooper 02 Mar 03 - 12:00 PM
outfidel 02 Mar 03 - 12:09 PM
Rick Fielding 02 Mar 03 - 12:12 PM
Neighmond 02 Mar 03 - 12:22 PM
DonMeixner 02 Mar 03 - 12:58 PM
Charley Noble 02 Mar 03 - 02:28 PM
CraigS 02 Mar 03 - 03:57 PM
irishajo 02 Mar 03 - 07:22 PM
SINSULL 02 Mar 03 - 07:36 PM
Banjer 02 Mar 03 - 07:56 PM
Mooh 02 Mar 03 - 10:18 PM
Metchosin 03 Mar 03 - 01:40 AM
Metchosin 03 Mar 03 - 01:48 AM
open mike 03 Mar 03 - 02:03 AM
GUEST,noddy 03 Mar 03 - 04:45 AM
GUEST,Geordie 03 Mar 03 - 12:29 PM
Songster Bob 03 Mar 03 - 12:48 PM
Merritt 03 Mar 03 - 04:34 PM
CraigS 03 Mar 03 - 06:35 PM
mooman 03 Mar 03 - 06:57 PM
GUEST,Jimmy Stewart 07 Mar 03 - 10:53 AM
Rick Fielding 07 Mar 03 - 11:18 AM
Steve-o 07 Mar 03 - 11:34 AM
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Subject: Can you identify this guitar?
From: GUEST,irishajo
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 11:19 AM

I have an old picture of my grandpa playing a guitar, which I have put here. Grandma estimates the picture was taken around 1941.

Anyone have a clue what kind of guitar that might be? I'm mostly asking out of curiosity. Thinking it might be a Gibson but not sure.


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: reggie miles
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 12:00 PM

It looks like it could be a Harmony or Silvertone or any number of other f-hole guitars of the day which all looked pretty much alike. Unfortunately the beginner, intermediate and even advanced models of many of these instruments might have only subtle differences which would make them difficult to identify via your photo. The guitar pictured does not seem to have any fancy features like special inlay on the neck or binding around the fingerboard, or an especially exotic tail piece or pick guard, or even a headstock inlay that had any sort of unusual or identifying mark. There doesn't even seem to be any kind of distinctive finish either. It's hard to tell by the picture but it looks like the guitar is painted or finished in a dark color. Finishing an instrument with a painted finish or dark finish usually meant that the instrument was not of great quality but compared to today's standards any instrument from that period, even bottom of the line examples, is a find and a treasure. The tail piece is the only real identifying give away. If you could get a clear shot of the headstock shape that could tell you if it was a Gibson. They have a distinctive cut. Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: GUEST,Phil Cooper
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 12:00 PM

It sure looks Gibson like. But I'm not sure....


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: outfidel
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 12:09 PM

Cool picture!

You should post your question & a link to the photo over at the 13th Fret Forum. There a lot of vintage guitar experts over there, including luthiers and dealers, who might be able to name the make & model.


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 12:12 PM

What a FABULOUS picture! Looks like he's really enjoying himself.

I have to (sort of) go along with Reggie. The peg head MAY flare just a tiny bit for it to be a Gibson (I'm talking about two mm. too much...no more)

On the other hand it sure LOOKS like that famous picture of BB King where he mis-spells his own name on his Gibson, while advertising his radio show. Can anyone post it?

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: Neighmond
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 12:22 PM

looks like my Grandad's Gibson, I am holding it right here-do you still have the guitar?


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 12:58 PM

Looks like my old Harmony Patrician. But my first guess is an Epiphone arch top. Which may explain the Gibson guesses.

Don


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 02:28 PM

Reminds me of an old arch top f-hole that my family used to have, and which discouraged me from playing guitar for years. I assumed they all had those heavy steel strings and, boy, did my fingers hurt!

Fortunately, I discovered 5-string banjos.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: CraigS
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 03:57 PM

The tailpiece appears to have a slant from bass to treble, and a thin top bar. After some deliberation,I don't think this is a Martin, Gibson, Kalamazoo, or Bacon. The headstock does not look wide enough for a Kay or a Harmony, which in any case one would expect a little obvious white celluloid on, as one would with an Epiphone. The body looks about 16" wide. My best wild guess is that it's a Stella.


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: irishajo
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 07:22 PM

Wow, lots of guesses. Unfortunately the guitar is not still around. My grandma says it was either sold or 'wore out' eventually. It may have been bought out of a Sears catalog, but Grandpa was a coal miner at that point and had two kids so I can't imagine much money was spent on it.

Like I said I was just curious.   I guess it will probably remain a mystery. On the upside I got some interesting stories from my grandma today while trying to get more info about it.


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: SINSULL
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 07:36 PM

Looks like my Dad's Epiphone.


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: Banjer
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 07:56 PM

I was going to guess, based on the shape of the tailpiece, that it may be an Epiphone. It looks similar to some I've seen in books. But since Grandma says it may have been purchased from a Sears catalog I would say probably an early Kay. Didn't Kay make guitars for the Sears folk, or was it Montgomery Wards?


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: Mooh
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 10:18 PM

The tailpiece, headstock, and general body shape are very similar and maybe identical to an old Harmony archtop of mine (which has since been reworked to change the tailpiece and headstock). My guess is that my Harmony is late fifties or early sixties, and quite typical of guitars of that and previous times. Many brand names share components not to mention manufacturers, so it could be one of several different brands I suppose.

The picture is wonderful! What a moment in time!

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 01:40 AM

Stong bet here too that it's a Kay. Particularly because of the shape of the perimeter of the body, the characteristic arching and the shape of the transition from nut to headplate (long sweep). Its not a guanteed assessment but, 85% confident. We have a roundhole prewar hanging behind me for reference, which has birdseye maple inside the soundbox. Kay was nuts.


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 01:48 AM

should also mention that ours is a real oddball, it also has an adjustable tilt neck, the heel of which rests in a curved end block and is secured internally by a wing nut. To adjust you reach in the soundhole, loosen the wing nut, alter the neck angle to suit and retighten the wing nut. If it sounded any worse it would be a Dobro (ducking *BG*) but my husband loves it's ecentricity. American industrial art at its best!


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: open mike
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 02:03 AM

that picture is a treasure!
I think Silver Tones were often sold thru
Sears and Roebuck catalog...
i still remember sore fingers
from my first one of these...
Thsoe Stella guitars are among
my early musical (painful) memories
as well...then i went to nylon strings.
now back to steel....but medium gauge,
not the chain link fence gauge or early
years...


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: GUEST,noddy
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 04:45 AM

easy ....no.


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: GUEST,Geordie
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 12:29 PM

It sure looks like an old Epiphone. I had a great uncle who had one and this looks very like it. Great guitars.


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 12:48 PM

Hmmm... Not sure about this, but I don't think it's an Epiphone (and, by the way, the Epiphone archtops were not very Gibson-like till Gibson bought 'em, in the early 50s, and after the purchase, they made relatively few archtops). The peghead shape flares out too much (Epi headstocks curved inward a bit, with a rounded top with centered OR off-center "dips").

Though it's hard to see the end, I'd say it's either a Kay (simple point on the top of the flared headstock) or a Gibson (that "book outline" dip in the center) or even a Kalamazoo, Gibson's bargain line before they bought Epiphone (in which case the peghead is squared across with no dip or hump). I don't think it's a Harmony, or a National, though neither is impossible. If it was a National, it may have been partly Gibson-made anyway.

In any case, it looks like a nice one, and it's too bad it went its way over the years. I have a few nice archtops, including two Epiphones from 1944 (though I'm going to sell one of them -- ironically, the one that's the most original, with only the pickguard having been changed out since it was built) and they're extremely nice instruments. Epi was one of the biggest competitors for Gibson, and even forced Gibson to downplay their "Only a Gibson Is Good Enough" slogan by countering with "When 'Good Enough' Isn't Good Enough." If it weren't for family problems and the death of the founder, Epiphone might have continued as a separate company into the 70s, though the change from the archtop jazz model to the solid-body electric might have affected them. It's hard to say.

Some of the nicest guitars going are Kalamazoo-made Epiphones -- Gibson factory-made but lower-priced at the time, and still a bargain, since "collectors" prize Gibson higher than Epiphone; players, on the other hand, know a good one when they hear it.

Anyway, nice guitar.

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: Merritt
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 04:34 PM

I don't know squat about archtop guitars, but asked Dale Kelldorf, who runs Affordable Archtops in Texas, to take a look. His analysis resonates with others' above.

>>I tried blowing up the headstock to see if there was a name but, no luck. Since Harmony and Kay made about 95% of the archtops during the 30's and 40's it's a good bet it's one or the other. Judging from the shape of the guitar, "f" holes, pickgaurd and tailpiece my money is on Harmony. Since it looks to have real binding and a decent tailpiece I would guess either a Cremona or Patrician model.

- Dale
dskel@lcc.net
http://www.geocities.com/texas_archtops/

- Merritt


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: CraigS
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 06:35 PM

I have problems with the monitor I'm using - the red gun control is dodgy. I need to clarify a couple of things. I see the headstock as squared off, like a Martin. The f-holes on a Martin have characteristic squared ends, so it's not a Martin. Anyone who'd like to help with the head shape, please describe it to me.
I've got to disagree with Songster Bob - I've seen Kalamazoo archtops with single point headstocks, very like a Kay headstock. On the other hand, the guitar is very like two Kalamazoos that I've seen, except that these were both small (around 14") and this one looks bigger. The problem I have is that in GB cheap US guitars are rare, so I've only got thirty years of looking at photographs for reference, and a few odd guitars left behind by the GIs.


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: mooman
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 06:57 PM

Beautiful picture.

To me it looks rather like one of the Harmony Monterey models.

Best regards,

moo


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: GUEST,Jimmy Stewart
Date: 07 Mar 03 - 10:53 AM

Tough to tell, but it sure looks like a Silvertone, produced by Sears during the 40's.


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 07 Mar 03 - 11:18 AM

I LUVVVVVV this thread! And I LUVVVVV you folks (well, you know what I mean!)

We all actually CARE about this!

I'm puttin my vote in for the "made by Kay". I've owned several, and for the life of me they never seemed to follow EXACT guide lines as far as shape goes.

You've had a few Kays Bob haven't you?

Rick


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Subject: RE: Can you identify this guitar?
From: Steve-o
Date: 07 Mar 03 - 11:34 AM

I have two Kay archtops from this era, and they both have this kind of tailpiece, so I'm going with Kay. These were sold by the gazillions through catalogs, as we know, and they were built like Mack trucks, so they lasted through all sorts of abuse and neglect. BTW, on one of mine, I hand-sanded all the finish off and then rubbed it with gun oil- it look spectacular, and even sound pretty good.


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