1850-60’s James Ashborn, Style 1 Guitar
Circa 1860 parlor guitar style 1 built by well known luthier, James Ashborn of Wolcottville, CT, for William hall & son music store. Brazilian rosewood back and sides; Adirondack top; maple binding.
This guitar is crack free save for a couple of minor finish cracks on back, and is 100% original, including all original finish, and down to original nut, original bridge (and saddle) that has never been off the guitar, and original bridge pins.
From a just-published article in Vintage Guitar magazine:
“Ashborn's design for the guitar was quite innovative for the early 19th century. Instead of making guitars fashioned after the typical parlor-style guitars, he made them in the Spanish style, by taking interior bracing cues from the Spanish while retaining the body of the English guitars. This included a fan brace pattern rather than the more common ladder pattern Ashborn guitars have a very complex dovetail V joint for attaching the head to the neck. The headstock was cut in roughly five steps, using some kind of tracing router, as suggested by the chatter marks on the inside ears of the pegbox. In addition to the complex head design, Ashborn made his own tuning machines in-house. They're made of brass, very much like contemporary machines, with worm gears, cog gears, and rollers.
… Ashborn's shop was extremely advanced for its time, having a great deal of know-how and technology. Ashborn understood the need to have the technology as well as the skill, but more importantly he discovered a new way of making high-quality instruments that were affordable. He was able to create a factory environment where workers did what they were good at and, with practice, became very fast and consistent. With a new level of consistency in mass production, he created the path followed by other companies such as Martin, Gibson, and Taylor. Using designs ahead of his time, he was able to bring the sound and change to people who otherwise never would have been able to acquire an instrument of this quality.”
This beautiful all-original and crack-free Ashborn guitar is one of the best-preserved examples in existence.