owned, played or wished I had!
I'm just a poor sucker
that tries to find, restore, play old guitars and anytime I can get afford
to buy one and rescue it I will. I'm lucky my friend Ralph across town owns
a real guitar building and repair shop. He even helps me build replicas of
these older classics. I usually have to sell a guitar to afford another. So
I've archived many below I've either owned or played.
Circa 1960 Harmony Sovereign sold as a Silvertone. 16"
ladder braced with huge tone. The sunburst is very rare. I did a neck reset,
fret leveling, bone nut and saddle and sold it on Ebay after enjoying it for
quite a while. This was one bad ass blues guitar and built like a tank.
Sounded like Mance Lipscomb or Lightnin Hopkins type of big solid tone, fat
trebles and medium to light sustain. It's better to get these models without
a headstock overlay since the plastic they used was horrible and
1914-1918 Gibson L-1 Archtop Acoustic 13.5"
Below 1932-34 L-37 or L50 - Sam Chatmon Model archtop 14.75",
L-00 shape and size. I finally sold this one to someone on Ebay that lives
around the piedmont area. They loved it. I got abut 2300 for it but it was a
killer guitar. Amazing in drop D and cries like a baby on slide.
1930s Bacon and Day Senorita 16" Jumbo - Big Bill Broonzy
fame. I want one of these and a guy ARK guitars makes a replica. I'm waiting
to hear more about.
1930s Triolian Single Cone Resonator Guitar round neck
Epiphone Bluesmaster a Korean made Laminated back and sides
13" parlor sized blues guitar with a nice wide 1-7/8" nut and 2-3/8" saddle.
They originally cost 375.00 brand new in the 1990s but they are often sold
on Ebay now for a very insane 800-1000 but nobody ever seems to mention they
are laminated and not solid woods. Bottom line is you can't find one for the
price they are actually worth and for the money you'd spend you could buy a
much better guitar or even an authentic used Gibson L-00 from Bozeman. These
guitars sound good, especially with a capo but it's nothing to marvel over
tonally. Just a very fun and addictive guitar with a slightly boxy sound. A
little heavy in weight and slightly unbalanced. If they could still be
bought for 400+ I'd highly recommend one. Keb Mo made this model famous and
he plays the natural version. Below is the more rare Sunburst version.
2003 SCGC VS I owned and sold to Dennis in SF. Man this was
an amazing guitar but I jut owned so many that sounded the same I sold it.
He loves it and it seems to have found a long term home. Adam at SCGC did
this finish for me and has 11 bursted areas. Even the back of the peg head.
Short scale 24.9. German maple back, old sitka top.
1920s Stella 12 String with some custom restoration.
Always thought it looked cool and might build myself something like this.
Below: Circa 1999 Larrivee OM-03PA Pete Anderson makes a wonderful
blues guitar and Jean actually didn't like this guitar idea but it was
proposed by the employees and he let them go for it. The guitar has a satin
finish and a loud barky fundamental and woody tone. Some came with 1-11/16"
nut but a special run of them came with 1-3/4" nut later. This was one of
the only Larrivees to win awards around 1999. It's not really much different
than their regular OM but the 12 fret neck and something about these is
really special. For the same price range as an Epiphone Bluesmaster you get
about 5 times better quality guitar. These sell for around 12-1300 but well
About a 1929 era Gibson L-0 during some real transitional
periods at Gibson
Below My lovely Greven Prairie State 17" super jumbo guitar. My
number one gig guitar. John built me this and it's really a working man's
tool. Light as air but the thin huge body puts out amazing balanced bass and
it's perfect for standing and performing. Great for outdoor jams. The bass
is very noticeable in wide open spaces like that because everyone elses bass
vanishes in the open settings. I may have chosen mahogany and sitka if I had
to do over again but it has a great ability to sound like a nice archtop
blues guitar when I play lead solos. The maple is also very hard to split or
break when I bang the sides or back at a gig. It has taken some major falls
and whacks and held up amazingly well. Solid and proves light construction
is NOT always weak.
A Clarksdale Corrinna that Irondog now owns. I made lessons
with it and played it for about 2 years. A killer guitar I helped design and
we made about 20 of them. Maple-sitka L-00 12 fret slot head.
An authentic 1920s Leadbelly Jumbo 12 string baritone
guitar worth a house
Jean Larrivee's first sunbursts and slope dreads at NAMM. He
said he made these because of me. I guess I'd been worrying them about
slopes and sunbursts. He came up to me at NAMM and dragged me over to check
them out. I was not dissappointed either. Also see he was making mandolins
This is my all original 1930s Kalamazoo KG-14 which is a
ladder braced version of a Gibson L-00.
This is the 14" 1930s Kalamazoo KG-11 I bought and we
restored for blues performer pro Bill Sheffield and this is now his number
one stage guitar. See him on Wood songs playing this exact guitar live.
A very cool Kay archtop from the 30s
A pretty decent solid wood ladder braced 15" guitar made
by Harmony in the 50/60s.
Some of my herd a few years ago left to right and top
row first. Dell Arte Ledbelly 12 string, Circa 1930 Stella 12 string, 1920s
Stella Concert, National Style EN, Greven PS Jumbo, 1960s Harmony 12 string
with DeArmond sound hole pickup, 1930s Harmony Parlor (Tone King), Kay
Parlor, Collegiate Parlor, Harmony Grand Concert, Harmony Sovereign GC.
1920s Stella Gambler I own.12.5" wide standard scale,
birch and poplar
1920s Stella Decalcomania parlor
Washburn or Lyon Healy Parlor pre 1930
1928 Gibson L-1
1930s Gibson L-00
My favorite Circa 1930 Stella 12 String
Late 40s Early 50s Kay Jumbo. Lightnin Hopkins played one.
A Galiano made by OS Stella in the 1920s
Gibson Super 400 (Oh My God)
Clarksdale Crossroads I helped design. We made about a dozen
of them. One of the most killer guitars you'll ever find for blues. If you
ever see one on Ebay you might want to buy it or email me. I might want it.
I always wished I'd kept my prototype. The label and neck block stamp is the
only way to identify them as a Clarksdale. I now make all the guitars I sell
through another builder here in Georgia. If you want something even more
hardcore blues email me.
My Donmo Tricone Reso round neck relic'd
Some of my guitars around 2004
L to R: Larrivee P-09fm, Clarksdale Corrinna, Larrivee
OM-03PA, SCGC VS, Greven PS, Harmony 12 string, Univox Dread.
1930s Chicago made Regal parlor
Kay Indian Jumbo
1920s Gibson L-1 Ivory Edition
1929 Hog top L-1
Non cutaway version of the 1930s Kay Kraft
1930s Kay Archtop (killer slide guitar)
Next two photos of a 1930s Kay Kraft that I fully restored
from pieces. It turned out fantastic and sounded just as good. Best sounding
14 fretter I've had so far and making that shim took me longer than the time
and work you'd normally take for a Martin dovetail reset. I'd have to use
some kind of machine to make that shim often.
Cool NECK! It just screams of life's stories.
1940 L-00 SWEEEEET and looks like a Kalamazoo..
Another version of the Kalamazoo KG-14 with a different
headstock. Maybe late 30s?
Civil War era guitar string can. WOW! You know they had
steel strings back then also.
1930 Gibson L-00 sold for about 2K on Ebay but what
surprises me is it had a 2" nut and beefy neck and I believe made heavier to
be a lap slide guitar. I think that and the 12 fret design is what limited
it's value. I almost fainted and would love to own it.
1920s Jumbo Stella 12 string much like what Blind Willie
is photographed with. This was sold on Neil Harpe's site and just made me
ACHE when I listened to him playing it.
The very rare maple version of the 1930s Kay Kraft with
rosewood back and banjo tuners. These damn things sound amazing and truly
light, airy build but they have serious design flaws you have to watch out
for warping and other issues on the neck and the neck block rotating or
caving, top belly on upper bout, splits due to those issues and the neck
shim shrunken and needing a new one which is very hard to make. See my full
article on these in the gear section.
Oahu answer to a Nick Lucas. Maple body has a head and shape
that makes you think Kay or Stromberg may have made it. Neil sold this one
and played it in the recordings. I think they are over priced in the
collectable range of 4K but if you have unlimited money this is one cool ass
guitar. Screams of deco blues styling.
Tonk American 1920/30s. I think Tonk brothers worked for
Washburn, Lyon Healy or some association and this would be a killer score if
you can find one for a deal. Most likely very few made. We make a guitar
almost identical to this and used this color and burst as a template. See
www.luttrellguitars.com if you
want a replica made. Notice the bound sound hole and fretboard.
Cheap guitars made by Kay in the 1950/60s and sold in
catalogs. Bolt on neck and cheap but they sound fantastic for slide and cost
very little. Sometimes as little as 30.00 dollars for one. Can't afford a
dobro? Buy one of these on Ebay. Always ask if the neck is bowed. If it's
straight you can shim the neck to the right angle and have a nice poor man's
dobro. The tone will blow your mind if you want to sound like some old 78rpm
blues record but on a budget. Great way to learn slide before buying a
Maple Kalamazoo KG-14 called the Oriole Circa 1940
1930s Kay Kraft
Very cheap 1930s Harmony - 1st National Institute label
Left is my 1920s Stella Gambler and right is a near
replica Ralph and I dsigned and built in 2007
1920s OS Stella made parlor sold under the premier label of
"Victoria" and made with rosewood and spruce. One of the loudest parlors
I've ever played. Does not have any brace between the bridge plate and butt
Pre 1930 National we glued the head back on after David
broke it. These are friends at Cora Mae's birthday party in 2007.
This is the prototype of our black Gambler being built in
the shop near here in Sandy Springs, Ga. This is the black guitar shown
above with the playing cards on it.
My buddy Ross playing his National Delphi
Circa 1917 Gibson L-1-GY which was sold to the military and
the actual first production flattop but not sold to the public. The L-0 was
the next flattop to be made and sold to the public in 1926 with a maple back
and sides and then L-1 was also released in 1926 with a mahogany back and
1930 Gibson L-1
Early 1900s Gibson L-1
1920s OS Stella from the catalog
1959 Gibson J-45
1924 Gibson L-3
1959-60 era Gibson J-50
Notice the hated adjustable
bridge-saddle and what many consider the beginning of a poor era for Gibsons.
Very Deluxe 1920s Stella sold on Neil Harpe's site
Red 1930s Sunbursted Stella
Another Kay Kraft variant sold in the 1930s with slotted
head and flat top
1925 Stella 12 String owned by Paul Geremia and sold on
StellaGuitars.com by Neil Harpe for about 6K
1920 Regal 12 String from StellaGuitars.com
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