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Mauer, Larson vs. Martin

27 Sep 00 - 03:09 PM (#306740)
Subject: Maurer, Larson vs. Martin
From: MK

I'd be very interested in any information the "guitar nerds" here can shed on differences and similiarities in terms of construction, bracing, materials used, playability and tone in comparing models issued by Maurer, the Larson Brothers and Martin in and around the period from 1915 to 1930.

I have occasionally noticed that vintage Maurers and Larson models from this time period sell for about the same as Martins. How do they sound and play, compared to Martins, and are they considered worthwhile investments, as opposed to purchasing comparable Martin models from the same period?

27 Sep 00 - 06:31 PM (#306885)
Subject: RE: Mauer, Larson vs. Martin
From: GUEST,Terry Allan Hall

They're all very good, if properly cared for.

27 Sep 00 - 07:04 PM (#306906)
Subject: RE: Mauer, Larson vs. Martin
From: bigchuck

Maurers were made by the Larsen brothers, as were Stahls, Prairie States, and probably a few other labels. The general consensus seems to be that they were at least as high quality as anything made by Martin and are certainly good investments. I think they also tended to be more creative in some ways than Martin was. They made a lot of different style and sizes and did some outrageously ornamented instruments. Also made some interesting mandolins. They are scarce, however.

27 Sep 00 - 07:43 PM (#306937)
Subject: RE: Mauer, Larson vs. Martin
From: gillymor

Euphonons also. Have you tried The Woodshed at Stefan Grossman's site. I believe he owns some of these instruments .


27 Sep 00 - 09:16 PM (#307003)
Subject: RE: Mauer, Larson vs. Martin
From: MK

Thanks for the comments.

I know a little about the Larson Brothers. I know they were Swedish luthiers (Karl and August) who came to America in the latter part of the 19th century, and competed with CF Martin, and I think they set up shop in Chicago.

I have seen some examples of their guitars but never actually held one in my hands or played one. Martin seemed to have gotten away from flashy ornamentation after the 1850s and only did such on very special custom orders.

The Larson Brothers were more experimental and creative with some of their designs. Unlike Martin who until the late 1920s were still building guitars designed for gut strings with pyramid bridges, the Larson Brothers pre-empted Martin in being the first American luthiers to build a wide range of 12 fret guitars fully reinforced for use with steel strings. They built under their own name, the Maurer name, and others that Bigchuck mentioned.

I have visited Grossman's site many times and have discussed Prairie State guitars with Stefan privately and he owns several and considers them among the finest fingerpicking instruments ever made as he does early 1930s Martin OMs. He also likes Franklins. Anyway thanks for the comments. They're appreciated.