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 May 12th 2018: note today from Bob Hartman to us about this instrument. Bob is the preeminent authority and historian on Larson guitars: “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.