Vintage guitars, banjos and mandolins are becoming more rare and valuable with each passing year. Many of these classics are fragile with age and cannot take the rigors of constant use.
Through the years, some of the world’s most sought-after instruments have come through our studio for restoration — pre-War Martin flat tops, Gibson Lloyd Loar F-5’s and recently, a super-rare 1902 harp guitar.
Here are some of the coolest:
1902 10-String Martin Harp Guitar
There were only two of this model made at the turn of the century. This beauty has four sub-bass strings and ten tuners on a single peg head — it’s a marvelous instrument, but required extensive rehabilitation to make playable for the collector who purchased it. The guitar was in very bad shape when it came to my shop and needed a total re-build.
The rod supporting the expanded headstock is turned ebony. The body is a standard OOO-12 fret with no variance except the bridge and headstock. I had a custom case built for it and it sounded good when finished. Right is a photo of this rare bird after months of meticulous work.
Jimmie Rodgers’ Gibson HG-24
I’ve worked on other historically important instruments, including Jimmie Rodgers‘ rare Gibson HG-24. Below is the back of the guitar, which the “Singing Brakeman” would flip up and show the audience at the end of his shows. Owned by the Roy Acuff Museum, the guitar was used onstage at the Grand Ole Opry by Clint Black during a recent CMT anniversary show.
Lester Flatt’s D-28
Marty Stuart has owned the guitar for years and has donated it to the Country Music Hall of Fame. He asked me to set it up for one more performance at the handing-over ceremony.
Vintage Restoration Services
If you have a vintage instrument (25 years old or more) that you would like to have restored, please contact us for a professional evaluation and estimate. Be prepared to ship the instrument to Nashville, Tennessee, packed by UPS or FedEx personnel, and fully insured. Note that not all instruments can be fully restored. Often the cost of restoration is greater than the resulting market value. But there are sweet instruments in many families that could use a little TLC to help them through their golden years.