Featured

Featured instruments from Vintage American Guitar.

  • It’s beyond rare to find a guitar from the early Martin – Coupa - Schmidt – Maul – Schatz era in this state of preservation. And one this large. This rare model Schmidt & Maul guitar – by the original C.F. Martin's most famous colleagues and contemporaries– is signed and dated, October 18th, 1852, and is in its original coffin case. And best of all– it plays wonderfully, with low action. A unique piece of American guitar history– not for hanging on the wall but to play. The instrument is signed on the underside of the top: Louis Schmidt Tompkinsville  Staten Island New York   388 Broadway October 18th  1852 U.S. This higher end, Spanish neck/heel (not ice-cream cone) Schmidt & Maul is bigger than all the Schmidt & Maul, Schmidt, or George Maul guitars that have come up for sale in the past decades (and not many of any kind have come up for sale). It’s a bit larger than a size 2 Martin, with a width at lower bout of 12 3/16 inches.(Every other Schmidt & Maul that has come to market has been a smaller guitar.) The guitar is braced inside (all original) with an early X-bracing variation similar to the 1953 Schmidt & Maul featured on p. 213 of the book “Inventing the American Guitar– The Pre-Civil War Innovations of C.F. Martin and His Contemporaries” edited by Robert Shaw and Peter Szego. (Hal Leonard Books, 2013). Like the 1853 guitar illustrated in that book, this guitar has bracing on top and back that is very close to the guitar that CF Martin and Schatz made for Madame de Goni. With all original finish, original ebony bridge, and original Jerome tuners– it’s in remarkable condition. To get the best of both worlds– historically authenticity and playability– the guitar has just had a recent neck set, original bridge reglue, and other minor work including new saddle, by one of the country’s top luthiers and authorities for early Martin and early American guitars– Steve Kovacik. All work was done by Steve to historically correct preservation standards after extensive examination and consultation. (Note, in the photo: the picture of the signature inside the guitar: the two cleats are not later repairs– rather they are two center seam-stabilizing cleats put in by the original luthiers in 1852.) Amazingly, this guitar plays in tune up and down the fretboard. Thank the original luthiers at 388 Broadway for that– they had the foresight to add slight compensation (not angled saddle compensation but cheating the saddle back a bit) to the bridge/saddle. Not even CF Martin did that in those years). And thanks to Steve Kovacik for setting this instrument up with low action not ballpark “19th century” action. The Adirondack top is crack-free. Crack-free sides. There are two almost imperceptible cracks on the back– you have to look hard to see them, both addressed by Steve Kovacik.
    • “Schmidt & Maul New York” stamps on neck block, and center strip inside guitar
    • X-braced, all original braces inside
    • Spanish foot construction
    • Radiused Ebony fretboard
    • All historically correct bar fret replacement by Steve Kovacik (not too high, and not too thick– correct size bar frets were used, properly finished)
    • Original bridge plate, in fine condition
    • Original Jerome tuners and buttons
    • Original nut, and saddle, in case. New nut and saddle by Steve Kovacik
    • Rosette: shares a feature with early Martins– a variant of the "tooth" rosette– a three ring rosette with green "tooth" inner ring, and small "rope" outer rings
    • Marquetry Purfling around top, + Maple binding
    • Back purfling (backstrip): see Martin Guitars: A Technical Reference, p. 13: this is a “Pre-1867 style 34” Martin style purfling
    • Maple binding, back
    • Solid Adirondack top
    • Solid brazilian rosewood back and sides
    • Cedar, Spanish style neck and heel
    • Width at lower bout: 12 3/16 inches
    • Body length: 18 ¼ inches
    • Nut width: 1 15/16 inches
    • String spacing at bridge: 2 5/16
    • Scale length: 24 ½ inches (But there is a slight compensation: 12th fret to the saddle– Schmidt and Maul added a touch of compensation !
    • Original scooped-back ebony bridge
    • 100% original finish. No overspray, touch-up, etc. anywhere…wonderful finish
    This instrument sounds and plays differently than the early Martins we’ve had. It’s stronger in the trebles and mids, not the bass strings. With this instrument, it means a guitar that responds to a more delicate touch– you barely have to pick or strum, to get wonderful tone. After careful experimentation for the best tone, we’ve put German Thomastik-Infeld Classic S, Precision KF110 strings on the guitar (totally within the tension levels appropriate for a 19th century guitar of this stature). The result is a guitar that responds to a very light touch, and really delivers– a nuanced, bright and glassy, brazilian tone– in the higher frets especially. Unlike 19th century Martins, it’s a joy to play especially in frets 5-14, with very low action that lets you explore the octaves and harmonics in places you’d typically not go to in such an early guitar. And with endless brazilian sustain. The guitar is in its original hand-made wood coffin case, that still has its original fabric lining, and all hardware, all in great condition. Price: $9850.
  • 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. (Update:) Bob Hartman (Robert Carl Hartman, author of "The Larsons' Creations") has told us, about this instrument. Bob is the acknowledged, preeminent authority and historian on Larson guitars. According to Bob, “There was a store in Milwaukee, WI. that sold Larsons until about 1940. I spoke with the owner back in the 1980s and he said he had never heard of the Euphonon brand. All his large body guitars were branded Maurer. I have since dubbed these guitars, 'Milwaukee Euphonons'.” Milwaukee Euphonon it is. 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.
  • Rare set of Seidel Tuners. Seidel tuners, made in Germany in the 19th century, were CF Martin’s tuner of choice for his high-end guitars. You can see these tuners on some rare 1860 – 1880’s Martins– but they are very rare to encounter not married to a guitar. German silver backplates; floral pattern decorations, hand-engraved, The original buttons are of genuine bone. Good working order. Price: $1295.
  • A beautiful example of one of the rarest prewar Martin ukuleles. This is a prewar Martin C-1. (All Concert Model ukuleles from Martin– with the exception of few special orders– were style 1). Officially called the Concert model ukulele, it’s larger than the many soprano size ukes. It’s very rare to find a prewar C-1 on the market– and much rarer still to find a pre-1933. This instrument was made between 1925 and 1933– because of the Martin stamp on the back of the headstock and the lack of the (post-1933) Martin decal on the front of the headstock. This is currently the only Martin C-1 from the late 1920’s on the market. And the tone and playability are perfect. Louder, and more bell like tone than a Martin Style 1 soprano uke. Martin concert ukuleles are the same body size as taropatch (1918-1932) but with four strings only. While the taropatch had been offered with four strings since its introduction, the new concert model was different in that it had a narrower neck and a standard soprano-size bridge. It was added to the standard catalog that year and by 1927 it was outselling all taropatch models combined. Concerts ukuleles are tuned the same as the sopranos but because of the larger body have a deeper and richer sound, and a slightly longer, easier to play scale length of 14 3/4". The Concert Ukulele from Martin–while rare to find a prewar example– is considered the ideal size for players– larger than the tiny soprano but not too big like the Martin Tenor uke. This one has a rich, beautiful tone, and it’s almost unplayed condition. The action is perfect. There is one small crack on top–but it’s essentially “cleated” by the orignal bridde plate and does not need addressing, and a smaller finish crack that does not go through to the inside). The braces and all else inside: pristine. And it even comes in its original canvas case. Like most Martin ukes, the mahogany bridge had some wear on the string slots. So we created a new, replacement, 100% historically correct replacement bridge. Original patent tuners Original ebony nut Brazilian rosewood fretboard Style 1: all mahogany, with brazilian binding on top Total length: 23 ¼ inches Body length: 11 inches Body width upper bout: 5 ¾ inches Body width lower bout: 7 5/8 inches Scale length: 14 ¾ inches   Price: with original case. $2150.
  • Very rare, early Jerome guitar tuners, made in France. Rare kidney buttons, as seen on higher end Martin guitars from the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860's. Plates, shafts and buttons only. No posts or worm gears (there is one post and one worm gear). Price: $595.
  • Many players consider the best Martin D-28’s from the 70’s great guitars– and the best value around if you want a vintage D-28 on a budget. The best ones deliver great tone– a darker, richer voice than 50's or 60’s D-28’s. The non-adjustable truss rod, and great Indian rosewood Martin used in those years, and the nice bear claw sitka on top on this example, all make for a lovely instrument. A few nicks and dings, but in remarkable original condition. This instrument delivers. It’s all original, and it’s 100% crack-free (not even the common “pickguard crack”). The original pickguard is not lifting as you often see on these Martins. Original bridge that's never been off the guitar, pins, everything. It has the typical slight finish crazing on top, visible from an angle– it’s common on this vintage. The neck has never been set. Frets in fine shape. Original Grovers. With a low-ish saddle, it plays fine. And in tune everywhere. At some point in the future the new owner may want to do a neck set, but we prefer to keep it all original (and the action is fine as is). In it’s original Martin case from the factory in great condition. Price: $2350.
  • This is a great original set, of the famed Handel tuners from the early 20th century. Silver wire and pearl inset. In good condition. One button has a slight chip. Good working order. Price: $495.
  • This was one of the best amps ever made by the legendary Gerald Weber. All-tube circuitry, designed and made in the USA, by Weber. It not only has power to spare (50 watts), but its unique circuitry has two channels, clean and lead, with different preamp circuit. These channels can be blended through patching the second input of one channel into the first input of the other, for purposes of blending the two channels together and further tone shaping with the interactive tone circuit. The bottom line: Tons of power if you need it, but the ability to get all the creamy, lush lead tones with the lead channel and/or blending. You just have to hear it. Original, handmade hardwood cabinet. 2 x 12: one 12 inch Kendrick brown frame and one 12 inch Kendrick black frame speaker. Kendrick's double spring reverb with three controls. Great condition. Recently serviced by one of the best amp techs in Texas. Price: $1495. No shipping. Local pickup only in Austin.
  • Early 1970s, but in remarkably original condition. And this instrument is from the first, early production– so it has the maple 3-ply rim. This should not be compared to later production Whyte Eagles– this is a very rare early one with unique features, and great tone. This banjo design is based on: • neck/head/inlays: based on the high end Fairbanks Whyte Ladye of the early 20th century– one of the most beautiful designs in banjo history • the pot assembly is modeled closely on the Gibson TB3, archtop of the 1930's. In fact it's a remarkable recreation of that design (and sound) – a more faithful recreation that many Gibson post-war versions. Bluegrass banjo players seek out the 70’s Alvarez Whyte Eagles, known for their tone and craftsmanship. It was a pretty short window of only about five years, when these banjos were made with this kind of craftsmanship. They blow away most any banjo made and marketed (from any country) in the 60s, 70s and 80s– and they show no logos on headstock– just beautiful mother of pearl. It’s the No. 4310 “Whyte Eagle”. Based on late 1920’s Vega Griffin (Tubaphone #9) style inlays, with engraved, carved heel. Sunburst finish maple banjo, Gibson-style 2 piece flange, full height 20 hole archtop tone ring, dual coordinator rods, flamed maple resonator, maple neck, chrome finish. Neck is butterfly with ebony strip on back of neck, down the center. It’s extremely rare to find a Whyte Eagle from this very early period (serial number 1672), when they first came out and the company bent over backwards to produce an instrument with zero compromise, from the inlays to the maple rim. The early features that are not on the later 70's Whyte Eagles, are– in addition to the 3-ply maple rim (not the 10-ply rim of almost all other Whyte Eagles)– the smaller star on the front of headstock (later models had a larger star), no “Alvarez” logo just the eagle inlay, and a darker sunburst on the resonator and also on the back of the neck. Flamed maple resonator (sunburst back, with a touch of milkiness to the original finish) Maple butterfly neck Hand-carved heel Mother of pearl inlays Original tuners Grover bridge 1 3/16 nut Scale: 26 ¼ inches 20 hole archtop tone ring 11 inch head With original hard shell case. Price $1850.
  • 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.
  • Full size, Charles Fetique violin (French, early 20th century – circa 1930), with original label inside. This is a rich, sonorous instrument. A deep, round tone, that – like all good violins – does not make you work overly hard to attain. This violin would be a great student violin upgrade – for that aspiring violinist who is ready to graduate to, and enjoy, a better instrument than what's typically available in the $3-4K range, at a very attractive price. And, the buyer will have the confidence of both a Letter of Expertise, and a professional appraisal: • Certificate: Jean-Jacques Rampal, Paris, 2014. (This is the letter of expertise, on this violin, from one of the top experts on French Violins, in Paris, France). And: • Written, professional appraisal of the violin, done from personal inspection, from one of the top violin shops/experts in Texas (Jay R. Rury Violins, Dallas), with a valuation of $3,500.00 Both the above documents will be included with the sale. The violin is in excellent condition. There are no sound post, or bass bar cracks. It was professionally set up to play, by Blackerby Violin in Austin. In a modern Tonerelli case. Price: $2650.
  • Even more rare, early Jerome’s, made in France. Circa 1840 -1850. Unusual design. Missing one post/worm gear. Damage to one worm gear bracket. Price: $795.