Oscar Schmidt 'Hawaiian' Guitar c 1932 | $700 | (vbg #2004) The Hawaiian music craze in America had wide-ranging ripple effects in the first part of the 20th century, and this Schmidt-made guitar is a direct result of that craze. Schmidt marketed guitars made from koa, often with Hawaiian themed labels, created the First Hawaiian Conservatory of Music to sell Hawaiian music and guitars, ...and who hasn't found an old nut-raiser in the accessories box of an old guitar case?
By the mid to late twenties, many makers were offering stenciled guitars with painted Hawaiian motifs. This example was part of the Schmidt line up likely into the early 30's based on the number of Hawaiian music instruction books published in '32 found in the case. These Hawaiian stenciled Schmidt guitars are a little tricky to date since we've not seen them in any known catalog offerings or ads.
We've seen this scene in three different color schemes: yellow/brown, blue/white and black/white, which we think is the snappiest of the three. Overall, very cool guitars, and actually a bit rare, too. The body, ladder braced, is made from slab-sawn birch, and painted in the black and white scheme, with white-painted binding. The neck is poplar, and also painted black. The fingerboard does not appear to be the typical ebonized maple; it's very ebony-like and very black and features four white position markers. UAC (United Artist Conservatory) is embossed in silver on the head stock, which was another 'brand' offered by the venerable Schmidt factory to network its guitars nation wide. This tail piece set up features the typical 'floating' bridge seen on many OS guitars. The fret wire saddle will be replaced with bone to allow micro adjustment of the action. A white pick guard is secured to the top by three screws.
The body measures â€‹13 5/6" across the lower bout (concert size) and scale length is a hair under 25" (short scale). The neck measures 1 13/16" across at the nut and string spacing is 2 1/8" across at the saddle. Action is set at 5 & 6/64".
This guitar is 100% original with no prior repairs to report. We recently reset the neck, and while loosening the fingerboard extension, the bulk of the fingerboard popped off, so we removed it and inlaid a carbon fiber rod in the neck to keep it straight and rigid. Consequently, the action is slinky-smooth and the guitar plays easily. The paint is in excellent condition, with only a few nicks and dings. The tuners were disassembled, cleaned and lubed, and function well with only a hint of oxidation. There is some sag in the top from the bridge down pressure, not uncommon for this set up.
And the tone is a real pleasant surprise .. it has the brash ladder-braced mid-range tone you want, but with a bit of boxiness and reverb, almost like it's being played through an small amp with a broken speaker cone .. really fun guitar for fingerpicking rag time and old time music, and would hold up well comping chords in a small combo.
Comes with a soft case.
Check out the sound clip.
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