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Tag: German parlour

Sonora parlour

Sonora parlour guitar Made in Germany 1920-30'sSonora parlour guitar made in Germany 1920-30’s

I’ve recently managed to do some more work to the Sonora parlour. I decided to reset the neck to try to get rid of the banana neck and high action and it worked pretty well. I also redesigned the fretboard and added some wooden dot markers. Now the action is low and the guitar is easy to play.

Sonora parlour guitar Made in Germany 1920-30'sSonora parlour guitar Made in Germany 1920-30'sThe new Sonora parlour and here is what she looked like before

Sonora parlour guitar Made in Germany 1920-30'sMy initial plan was to steam the neck off by drilling two small holes under the 13th fret and that way get steam straight in to the dove tail. That didn’t work, I think it was too much old glue stuck in the joint and also the needle tip I used for my home built steamer was too thin. I decided to remove the whole fretboard instead, I used a spatula heated on a normal clothes iron which worked like a charm. Once the fretboard was off I could just steam the hell out of that joint and eventually the glue softened and then neck came off.

Sonora parlour guitar Made in Germany 1920-30'sNext I had to try to remove the hump on the fretboard where the neck and body meet. I removed all the frets, and kept them in the correct order to make it easier to reinstall them later. To get rid of the hump I had to remove almost 6 mm of the overhang and then sand the rest to get the fretboard straight. 

Sonora parlour guitar Made in Germany 1920-30'sI re-cut all the fret slots, reinstalled the frets and added four wooden dots in different grain directions as position markers. I gave the fretboard a coat of lacquer and then painted everything black except for the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th fret. I added a layer of lacquer on top and then sanded it smooth and polished out the frets again.

Guitars for sale

Martin SPD-16R Made in USA1999Martin SPD-16R, Made in USA 1999, 1500€ 1300€
Martin SPD-16R is a Special Edition Dreadnought from Martin guitars. Spruce top and Indian Rosewood back and sides with forward shifted scalloped X bracing. Performance taper, low oval mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard and bridge. Snowflake inlays, abalone rosette and a D-45 style back strip with gold Martin stamped machine heads. Produced in USA between 1996-2001. The guitar is in fantastic shape for being 18 years old with hardly any scratches and no fretware. The top has a hairline crack from the bridge down which has cracked the lacquer but not the wood. SPD-16R stands for Special edition, Dreadnought, 16-series in Rosewood. This guitar looks great and sounds amazing, you can read more about it here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Gibson J-45 ADJ 1965 Made in USAGibson J-45 adj, Made in USA 1965, 2300€ SOLD
An awesome looking Gibson J-45 ADJ, built in the Kalamazoo factory in 1965. It’s the classic round shouldered Gibson dreadnought, natural finish spruce top, mahogany back and sides, rosewood fretboard and bridge. All original except for the refinish which turned this J-45 in to a J-50. Apparently this was done in the early 1970’s when the slight separation in the tops mid seam was glued. The guitar looks really great, worn but still well preserved for being 50  years old. The sound is just amazing, it has that typical Gibson bass response that you can hear on the early records of James Taylor and Jackson Browne. I cut a new bone saddle for it but it comes with it’s original adjustable rosewood bridge. It has an endpin jack already installed so it’s ready to play live, just ad a pickup. A brand new flight case is included to protect the guitar. The action is low and there are no structural issues with this guitar, just the normal marks and scratches. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Gibson B-15 Made in USA 1969Gibson B-15, Made in USA 1969, 1200€ SOLD
This 1969 Gibson B-15 sounds and plays great and is pretty good shape for it’s age. There is a lot of scratches and wear to the top and sides but the are no cracks or structural issues. It’s all original and even comes with the Gibson made alligator chipboard case. The action is good and the frets has very little wear. The B-15 was an all solid model with a natural finished mahogany body, a mahogany stained spruce top and rosewood fretboard and bridge. Gibson referred to the B-series as student models at the time which is a bit misguiding considering what a student guitar sounds like today. These have great even tone and pretty amazing sustain for the size, a perfect little blues machine. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Harmony Monterey, Made in USA 1950's 784H1325Harmony Monterey H1325, Made in USA 1950’s, 550€ SOLD
Very cool looking US made archtop from the late 1950’s. Solid spruce top with birch back and sides, 16 1/2 in wide grand auditorium size, steel reinforced neck. This guitar is all original and even comes with the original case. There is a glued crack on the side but no other issues. It sounds great, loud and clear acoustically. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

K. Yairi YW-1000 Made in Japan 1973K. Yairi YW-1000, Made in Japan 1973, 1700€ SOLD
This is the top of the line, the fanciest guitar that K. Yairi built. Their Martin D-45 copies are legendary for their sound and build quality. This guitar has real Brazilian Rosewood back and sides and a beautifully aged solid spruce top. Real abalone inlays all around and the typical Martin volute where the head and neck meet. At the moment this guitar has Wilkinson WJ28NGD open gear machine heads in gold fitted but I still have the original K. Yairi machine heads. It’s all original except for the bridge which is a brand new hand cut and shaped replacement in ebony with a bone saddle and ebony bridge pins. The guitar is in great shape for being 43 years old but there are a couple of scratches to the top, one big one close to the bottom. The neck is straight, trussrod works and the action is low. The guitar sounds amazing, so deep and clear at the same time. These K. Yairi YW-1000 are extremely rare in Europe and without any doubt the closest you can get to a real 1970’s Martin D-45. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Morris W-50 1970's Made in JapanMorris W-50, Made in Japan 1970’s, 700€ SOLD
Nice Martin D-42 copy with real abalone hexagon inlays and the typical Martin volute where the head and neck meet. Solid spruce top with nice inlays all around and a beautiful 3-piece back with flamed maple and dark rosewood. The guitar is all original and in really good shape for being over 35 years old but with some scratches, one slightly larger on the top. The neck is straight, trussrod works and the action is low. The guitar sounds great, very clear and Martin like. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Morris W-50 1970's Made in JapanMorris W-50, Made in Japan 1970’s,650€ SOLD
Great looking Martin D-42 copy with snowflake inlays and the typical Martin volute where the head and neck meet. Solid spruce top with nice inlays all around and a beautiful 3-piece back with flamed maple and dark rosewood. The guitar is all original and in really good shape for being over 35 years old but with scratches and marks around the body. It has Wilkinson WJ28NGD open gear machine heads in gold installed now but the original will be included. The neck is straight, trussrod works and the action is low. The guitar sounds great, very clear and Martin like. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Morris W-40 1973Morris W-40, Made in Japan by Terada 1973, 500€ SOLD
A pretty early Morris and a very nice looking Martin D-45 copy, made by Terada in Japan, the factory that makes Gretsch and Orville. Solid spruce top with a really nice 3-piece back of Brazilian rosewood and maple. The inlays are real abalone hexagon inlays and I still have the original machine heads if chrome is preferred to gold. It has it’s fair share of scratches and has been played a lot over the past 42 years but it has no cracks or issues. The neck is straight, trussrod works and the action is low. The sound is just amazing, really deep bass but with good clarity and great projection. It has a endpin jack fitted and a strap button so it’s ready to be gigged with straight away, just fit a pickup. It’s still one of my favourites but now I have too many Morris guitars and have to get rid of some. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Morris WL-35 Made in Japan 1970'sMorris WL-35, Made in Japan 1970’s, 400€ SOLD
A really cool looking Johnny Cash Guild copy. It’s in great condition except for one flaw, the end pin has been pushed in at one point and cracked the lacquer. It’s not as bad as it sounds and it doesn’t really affect anything but I thought it would be worth mentioning. I’m pretty sure it’s mahogany back and sides, it has a really warm and nice sound and is a great playing guitar. It has a endpin jack fitted and a strap button so it’s ready to be gigged with straight away, just fit a pickup. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

K.Yairi TG-40 Made in Japan 1977K. Yairi TG-40, Made in Japan 1977, 700€ SOLD
A very rare and unique K. Yairi copy of the famous Guild D-40, which itself was introduced in the Sixties as a competitor to Gibson’s J-45. The Guild D-40 became famous as the Bluegrass guitar for their even response over all the strings and I have to say that this K. Yairi TG-40 sounds amazing. Solid spruce top, sides and back in solid mahogany, neck in Honduras mahogany, bridge and Fretboard in black ebony. The guitar is all original except for the pickguard, which was replaced with an official Guild pickguard, the old one was cracked. It has an end pin jack and strap button fitted and at the moment Wilkinson WJ-309 Art Deco machine heads in gold but I still have the original machine heads if chrome is preferred to gold. The top and back has a few scratches but no structural issues. It plays really well and has an amazing tone, very loud and clear with a great punch in the mid-range. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

K. Yairi YW-130 Made in Japan 1977K. Yairi YW-130, Made in Japan 1977, 550€ SOLD
This is a quite accurate Martin D-28 copy made in Japan by K. Yairi in 1977. It’s really light and beautiful sounding, very responsive and a joy to play. Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides with a smooth ebony fretboard. It has it’s fair share of scratches and a couple of dents to the top but no cracks or issues. The neck is straight, trussrod works and the action is low. The sound is great, very clear with great harmonics. It has a strap button fitted and at the moment Wilkinson open back machine heads in gold but I still have the original machine heads if chrome is preferred to gold. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

IMG_9283Levin Model 13 Ambassadör, Made in Sweden 1950, 600€ SOLD
This is a beautiful Levin Model 13 Ambassadör, hand built in Gothenburg Sweden in 1950. If you are not familiar with this classic Swedish brand Levin, click on the link to read more about it. It was restored a few years ago by GammelGura, a great luthier in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. With new bronze frets, a neck re-set, cracks glued and a new bridge was created to improve the intonation, the rest is all original. It even has the sticker on the back of the head from the guitar shop in Örnsköldsvik where the guitar was bought 65 years ago. It’s a fairly small ladder braced 12-fret guitar with a big sound because of the body width, 400 mm. All solid woods, as always with Levin. Spruce top, walnut back and sides, 4-ply bound top, single-bound back. Mahogany neck with non-adjustable T-shaped duraluminum truss rod. Single-bound rosewood fingerboard with 18 frets and pearloid dot inlay. Single-bound headstock, rosewood bridge, nickel plated individual tuners. Sunburst finish, very similar to the Gibson sunburst of the 1940-50’s, and 10 years warranty. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Levin Model 65 parlour guitar Made in Sweden 1942Levin Model 65, Made in Sweden in 1942, 550€ SOLD
A nice little parlour guitar from Levin, made during World War II in Gothenburg Sweden. It’s just 315 mm wide so it’s a perfect little ladder braced blues machine. All solid woods, spruce top, birch back and sides with walnut fretboard, brass machine heads and nickel plated tailpiece. The guitar is all original, I carved a new bridge for lowering the action but the original will be included in the sale. The neck is really fat and nice and feels great to play. A perfect parlour for blues picking. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Hagström Western 6 Made in Sweden 1978Hagström Western 6, Made in Sweden in 1978, 650€ SOLD
A very rare Hagström Western 6 Missouri made in 1978 by Bjärton in Bjärnum in the south of Sweden. Bjärton were the second largest guitar manufacturers in Sweden after Levin, and they produced all the acoustic instruments for Hagström. It’s both stunning to look at, a joy to play and it sounds great. It has the same head, fretboard and inlays as the legendary Hagström Suede electric guitars had in the 1970’s. Spruce top with X-bracing, mahogany back and sides. 4-ply bound top and bound back. Unbound ebony fingerboard, rosewood bridge, mahogany neck. Matte natural finish and 10 year warranty, which was only give to the top end models. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

Hagström B-60 Made in Sweden 1975Hagström B-60, Made in Sweden by Bjärton in 1975, 500€ SOLD
This great looking Gibson J-50 copy was made in 1975 by Bjärton in Bjärnum in the south of Sweden. Bjärton were the second largest guitar manufacturers in Sweden after Levin, and they produced all the acoustic instruments for Hagström. It’s made out of all solid woods and it’s a very nice sounding guitar, even though it has a bolt-on neck, I guess the solid woods and massive neck block is helping with the sound. Spruce top with X-bracing, mahogany back and sides with a nice mahogany bolt-on neck, unbound rosewood fingerboard, Single-bound top and back, rosewood pin bridge. Van Gent machine heads, just like Levin, natural finish and 10 year warranty, which was only give to the top end models. You can read more about the guitar here and listen to it in this Youtube clip.

German parlour

German parlour, unknown maker 1920-30'sMy wife’s little unknown German parlour, probably from the 1920-30’s

Back in May I found an old German parlour guitar of unknown make, well it later turned out to be a Sonora, but that opened up my eyes for these small beauties. It’s hard to compare them two since the first one had to be completely rebuilt and this parlour was playable when we got it, except for two small cracks in the top. I actually got my wife to fix up her own guitar, it was about time she was introduced to what I normally do when an old guitar arrives. First she had to polish the frets, oil up the fretboard, clean the whole guitar, oil the tuners, ad some fish glue to the small cracks and clamp her up and then when she was ready, restring her.

German parlour, unknown maker 1920-30'sGerman parlour, unknown maker 1920-30'sThe little unknown beauty. There are no makers mark or any further info on this guitar. We just both fell in love with the amazing flower inlays and couldn’t resist her.

German parlour, unknown maker 1920-30'sThere is a first time for everything, now my wife Araceli can take care or her own guitars

German parlour

Parlour guitar Made in Germany 1920-30'sBefore and after, Sonora parlour made in Germany

I recently restored a little German parlour that I unfortunately don’t know anything about. The only info the seller gave me was that it was made in Vogtland in perhaps the 1920-30’s. If this would have been a Japanese acoustic or a Levin I would have had a bit more of knowledge but I really don’t know anything about old German parlours. I just bought it to practice my guitar repairing skills and for that it was pretty good, I’ve learned a couple of new things. The idea was to give it to my wife but now we found another one for her so if anyone is interested in buying this then send me an email.

Parlour guitar Made in Germany 1920-30's

The action is a bit high so it’s ideal for slide playing but you can still play it like a normal guitar if you have light gauged strings on it. It sounds pretty awesome, really clear and loud for being so small. It’s made of all solid woods, spruce top, walnut back and sides and perhaps pine or some other light coloured wood in the neck, I’m not that great at guessing woods. One set of machine heads looks original and seems to be from 1920-30’s and the other is perhaps DDR made from the 1960’s, but both works fine. Overall a pretty nice sounding little guitar with a beautiful patina and the most awesome looking one piece walnut back.

Parlour guitar Made in Germany 1920-30'sI started with taking the back off so I could re-glue all the braces. It was pretty straight forward to open it, I used a heated spatula and a knife, it worked like charm, I removed all the braces in the same way. The head was broken and pretty much everything that could be lose was lose on it when it arrived. It has a small makers mark under the bridge but I can’t really figure out what  it says, if anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

Update: August 27, 2015: The brand is Sonora

Parlour guitar Made in Germany 1920-30'sI re-glued all the braces and the two cracks in the top with fish glue. Unfortunately the top had been cracked for so long so I couldn’t get it to close perfectly but at least now it’s solid with two cleats running along the cracks.

Parlour guitar Made in Germany 1920-30'sThe next step was to glue the head back on. This was a bit harder than the Spanish guitar I glued the head on the week before since the break this time was just under the nut and therefore a lot harder to clamp. I left it for 48 hours and it seems to have worked pretty well so I carved and sanded the back smooth and then painted it black again. I glued the back on and closed the guitar with tape and clamps and this was pretty tricky too, as I’m sure everyone that has ever closed a guitar would know. The sides tend to move outwards so you have to push them in place sideways at the same time as you clamp the top down to the body. A bit fiddly but it worked fine in the end.

Parlour guitar Made in Germany 1920-30'sNow I just had to make the guitar playable. These old parlours are known for having banana necks since they lack any form of reinforcement in the neck. On top of that they tend to have a hump where the fretboard meets the body. First I heated and steamed the neck under pressure which worked quite well for straighten it out a bit. Then I took out the last 5 frets, sanded down the fretboard, put the frets back and lowered them as much as I could. I painted the fretboard brown and sanded over it to match the rest. After that it was just to level, crown and polish the rest of the frets.