/Featured

Featured instruments from Vintage American Guitar.

  • The 5-21 Martins, with their Brazilian Rosewood back and sides and Adirondack spruce tops, are known for putting out an astounding amount of sound. This tenor guitar, style 5-21T, does that in spades. Measuring 11-3/8" across, with its X braced top and light build, the instrument has an amazing amount of tone. Though Martin offered size 5 models ranging from style 15 through the elaborately ornamented style 45, the only ones made in any significant quantity prior to World War II were the style 17, 18, and 21 in six-string guitars and styles 17, 18, and 21 tenors, as well as some style 15 post-war size 5 tenors. Features of this instrument:
    • Recent neck set, and leveling of original bar frets, action is very good
    • Original Grover tuning machines, working well
    • Nut width of 1 1/4"
    • Scale length: 22.5"
    • 1 3/8" string spacing at the saddle
    • Had an added tailpiece at once point (3 tiny screw holes near end pin
    • No top cracks
    • One repaired 11" crack on the bottom lower bout side
    • One 6" repaired crack on the upper bout back  under the herring bone center inlay,
    • One 4” repaired crack on the lower bout back towards the bottom
    • A small hole at the center of the rear headstock– probably at some point for a nail to hang the instrument on a wall
    • Neck has a comfortable V shape, leaning toward a U profile
    Price: $1595.
  • Players know Larson brothers guitars for the astounding tone, and that wonderful, indescribable Larson “shimmer” (glassy but round penetrating mids and trebles) and sustain. We’ve had a variety of smaller body Larsons, but none like this Maurer, Larson brothers. Not like this big, dreadnaught scale, 16 inch lower bout instrument. And not with this much bass tone and clarity and volume on top of the classic Larson treble shimmer and overall sustain. Any 14 fret Larson brothers guitar is rare– and this one more so. The Larson brothers, August and Carl, did not of course make instruments with a “Larson” label or markings (except for a few custom guitars–very few including some that they signed/dated on the underside of the top and/or guitars that carried no “branding” of any of the companies below, i.e no branding at all). All of their instruments were branded and marketed under the companies Stahl, Maurer, Prairie State, Euphonon, Dyer, Bruno, and a few more. Larson traits include “built under tension” design (and with the resulting more "radiused" top; the “ebony under the binding” on the neck; some have fret inlay at the 10th fret (as opposed to the 9th fret like most other makers); some have laminated top braces (spruce-rosewood-spruce); the classic Larson bridge that is tall at the saddle slot and slopes down sharply toward the back (and with the square wings). But few single Larson guitars have all of the above features. This instrument does have them all save the earlier style 5-7-10 fret inlays. This guitar, like all the later Larson large bodied guitars (mainly branded Euphonon by the late 30’s) has 5-7-9 fret inlays. The fret inlays here exactly match all the large bodied Larson Euphonons of the 1930’s. This Larson brothers guitar is branded Maurer, but it’s one of the very rare instruments that, while a Maurer/Larson brothers, has all the traits of the 16 inch Euphonon. This guitar was made as a Maurer when the Larsons were just starting to switch the production of the large size guitars to the Euphonon branding exclusively. So it’s a late Maurer/early Euphonon style large bodied Larson brothers guitar. Very rare. This instrument has:
    • Maurer Stamp on inside back strip
    • The unique Larson brothers spruce/rosewood/spruce laminated top braces inside – X bracing
    • Unique Larson brothers "ebony beneath the binding" on the neck
    • Red spruce top
    • Mahogany back and sides
    • 1 ¾ inch nut width
    • 25 ½ inch scale length
    • 16 inch lower bout width
    • Original ebony bridge
    • Original bridge plate
    • Original tuners
    • Original frets
    • Original finish, with a good deal of wear to the finish on top
    • Repaired end pin area cracks
    It is in a modern hard shell case. Price: 14950.
  • This is not your father’s J-55. And it’s not a $20K guitar. It is a wonderful player. This is an original 1939 Gibson Jumbo 55, also called the “J-55”, serial # EA5652. It is the rare, stair step headstock model, only made for a brief window in the late 30’s. It delivers the trademark, large body, prewar, long scale Gibson tone, like no other. It plays beautifully, with original bridge, frets, braces. This guitar has of course the original, Mustache bridge, and more rare– the stair step headstock. Original bridge plate. Original binding including on fretboard. Original pearl logo on the headstock (with original finish). The pickguard is a nitro cellulose reproduction meticulously crafted in our shop. It has the long scale, 25 ½ inches, that makes this model so great. And a little-known original feature of this rare model is that it has a 1 11/16 nut width, that combined with the low action makes it effortless to play, and with tone that cannot be equaled in any postwar Gibson. The intonation is spot-on, and the intonation and fretting/action are great even at the high fret positions. It was refinished in a deep Gibsonesque red, decades ago– and that makes this guitar the most affordable true 1939, stairstep headstock J-55 you will ever find. (Top thickness is fine, there was no thinning in the past). The tone is superb. And the action is superb– low and fast without sacrificing tone or volume at all. The guitar is set up beautifully, ready to play. And amazingly, the guitar comes in its original hard shell case (very valuable in itself). This instrument, with a few issues and alterations in addition to the refin (a few cracks– but note the top is completely crack-free; shims from a neck set; some glue residue inside, plugged holes from a couple of volume/tone controls in past), is priced to play, not as a collector’s guitar. $6450, in its original case.
  • Another instrument from Enos Hernandez of Mexico, one of the best luthiers to ever live in work in Mexico, circa 1970’s. This one is a flamenco Blanca, with the classic cypress back and sides. Like the other Enos Hernandez we have, this one also has a cedar top. The instrument is super light weight, as a Flamenco Blanca should be, and it’s bright and percussive and raspy as a good Blanca should be. Scale length: 660mm Available January 2018 Price: $2950
  • More rare than a Panormo guitar, this original, wonderfully preserved and sonorous guitar is from the London-based J. Guiot, circa 1846– and it’s a cousin if not a sibling of a Panormo, in style, appointments, and provenance. The headstock and neck volute of this instrument, as well as the bridge, exactly match that of two known Guiot guitars of the period (see links below). It’s possible that this guitar was made in the workshop of Panormo by Guiot while he worked there, and it is in fact Panormo in style, exactly– but likely it’s one of the very rare-on-the-market Guiot guitars made after Guiot established an independent workshop in the 1840’s. Either way, we guarantee it as a Guiot, and the value of Guiots– being very rare– are in line with Panormos. This guitar is in remarkable original condition, with none of the kinds of damage, major repairs, or structural issues found on nearly all surviving instruments of the period. And even more importantly, it plays wonderfully as well. We simply adjusted the nut a bit, and leveled the original frets, and it plays like it was recently made– but with a sound that only an 1840’s, London-made Spanish style guitar can produce. The intonation is great. Action is fine– not too high. Listen to the sound/video clip of this guitar being played, by clicking here. (Note: the video is labeled “Panormo” because the instrument was thought to be a Panormo when the recording was made. The guitar being played on the video is indeed this instrument). The guitar has a couple of repaired back cracks, and one well repaired top crack– amazingly little for a guitar this age. The features of this instrument: All original finish Spruce top Brazilian Rosewood back and sides Original Baker Tuners Original pin bridge, that has never been off the guitar Original frets Fan braced, 5 fan braces Scale length: 25 inches (63.5 cm) Lower bout: 11 3/8 inch (29.3 cm) Upper bout: 8 ¾ inches String spacing at bridge: 2 ½ inches Nut: 47 cm String spacing at nut: 1 ¾ inches Depth of sides (bottom): 4 inches (10cm) Depth of sides (top): 3 ½ Body length: 17 ¾ J. Guiot and A. Guiot were some of the luthiers who left France between 1830 and 1850, to work in London– and like Panormo, the Guiots made guitars in the Spanish style. Panormo had adopted a more Spanish style of guitar building in large part due to the urging of Fernando Sor– and that style that would soon overtake the French style, and eventually dominate in the new world as well (i.e. CF Martin’s adoption of the Spanish style of guitar making circa 1844 onward). The well known American composer and performer Madame Sydney Pratten was an ardent proponent of– and player of– the Guiot guitars in the mid-19th century. Reference: two Guiot instruments with the exact headstock and neck volute, and bridge (and also fret markers on 5, 7, and 9 position on the 1846 instrument): • Terz guitar, made by Guiot, Panormo model, London, made 1846– click here to view • J. Guiot, Panormo school guitar, made 1844 – click here to view. The instrument is in a modern hard shell case. Price: $6950.
  • Another original, new, beautiful Custom Tele from master luthier Tony Nobles, based in Wimberly Texas. (Tony has crafted custom guitars for artists ranging in style from Joe Walsh to Alejandro Escovedo.) This guitar was custom made to our specs. And it’s one of one– the only one made with these features. Body: Figured Walnut top over adler Custom high end Musikraft quilted maple neck Width at the Nut: 1-11/16" Width at the Heel: 2-3/16 (55.56mm) Number of Frets: 21 Fret Type: Medium 6105 Finger Board Radius: 10" Body: natural, nitro lacquer finish Back of neck: natural, no finish Front of headstock: natural, nitro lacquer finish Bridge: Hannes by Schaller Non-Tremolo Bridge, #GTH RU-BLACK RUTHENIUM Tuners: Sperzel Trimlok Locking Guitar Tuners 6-in-line Trim-Lok Black Pickups: Harmonic Design "Vintage Plus" bridge and neck pickups Price: $2950.
  • Tony Nobles "Coney Island Custom" Tele Guitar Master luthier Tony Nobles, based in Wimberly, Texas, needs little introduction. He’s been crafting custom guitars for years, quietly, without much hype, for artists ranging in style from Joe Walsh to Alejandro Escovedo. This guitar is fun, unique (it’s one of one), and draws on the DNA of some interesting sources. Starting with: the fretboard is made from rosewood salvaged from the actual Coney Island Boardwalk when they rebuilt it a few years ago. So it's a piece of history. Cut to chase on this unique guitar:
    • Top: bookmatched Maple; Natural Maple top binding
    • Nitrocelulose lacquer finish
    • Musikraft neck, maple, with rosewood fretboard made from salvaged wood from the actual Coney Island Boardwalk (when they tore down the old boardwalk for reconstruction, and the wood was preserved by architects/preservationists)
    • 25.5" Scale
    • Width at the Nut: 1-11/16"
    • Width at the Heel: 2-3/16 (55.56mm)
    • Number of Frets: 21
    • Fret Type: Medium 6105
    • Finger Board Radius: 10"
    • Back of neck: natural, no finish
    • Front of headstock, blue to match body
    • Bridge: Schaller, imported from Germany, chrome
    • Tuners: Sperzel Trimlok Locking Guitar Tuners 6-in-line Trim-Lok SATIN CHROME
    • Volume and tone knobs: brushed satin chrome
    • Pickups: Harmonic Design "54 special" for the bridge pickup; and Harmonic Design "MiniStrat" for the neck pickup
    Price: $3250.
  • Read the full description below. If you're interested in this guitar, please call 512.922.8596 or contact us here.
  • Read the full description below. If you're interested in this guitar, please call 512.922.8596 or contact us here.
  • Another masterpiece from Charlottesville, Virginia-based Rockbridge Guitars. The slope shouldered dreadnought is faithful to the great Gibson J-35 of the late 1930’s, plus more: old-growth Brazilian Rosewood, with remarkable landscaping. Big big tone, volume, projection. Great sustain, ringing trebles, and yes most importantly string separation. Ebony fretboard. In a custom Cedar Creek case. Read the full description below. If you're interested in this guitar, please call 512.922.8596 or contact us here.
  • This guitar is a masterfully crafted interpretation of the fabled Roy Smeck, a slope-shouldered Gibson acoustic from the 1930s, which pairs a 12-fret neck with a standard, slope shouldered body, in Brazilian rosewood. From Charlottesville, Virginia-based Rockbridge -- one of the country’s most intriguing and masterful boutique luthiers. In a custom Cedar Creek case. Read the full description below. If you're interested in this guitar, please call 512.922.8596 or contact us here.  
  • Tom Blackshear is a living legend in the classical and flamenco guitar worlds. He’s been building from his shop in Texas for decades, with an international client base and international prestige, and his older guitars especially are hard to find and in great demand. This guitar was built in 1987, and was based on Jeffrey Elliott’s “1943 Hauser” plan. The tone is robust, and clear, with bright brazilian trebles, and the kind of nice string separation and clarity that an old German spruce top gives. The instrument:
    • Tom Blackshear classical guitar, serial # 184, built in 1987; signed on label by the builder; also signed in pencil, on underside of top
    • model: based on Jeffrey Elliott’s “1943 Hauser” plan
    • Brazilian Rosewood back and sides
    • German spruce top
    • Brazilian Rosewood bridge
    • Ebony fretboard
    • Scale length: 660
    In spring 2015, in consultation with Tom Blackshear who inspected the instrument in person at his shop and advised on details, the guitar was sent to New York-based master luthier David LaPlante, one of the top finish experts in the country. LaPlante did a French polish refresh on the top, back and sides. There had been a flamenco style clear tap plate installed by a previous owner, and that tap plate was removed, then LaPlante did the French polish refresh and the some addressing of minor tap-plate edge-shadows and various nicks. (note, neck, headstock were not touched and retain their original French polish). The result is a beautiful, thin, French polish that shows off the German spruce top and the Brazilian back and sides. Amazingly, this guitar is paired with its original sound hole cut-out from the builder from 1987! What a nice touch. See the attached photo showing the original cutout, with Blackshear’s original handwritten notes from the 1987 build right on the wood. Price: $5950. In a hard shell case.