Hi, new member on the forum of UG (keep in mind I'm dutch so if anyone has a problem with the way I'm explaining, please tell!)
Not sure if it goes here, but here goes:
A couple of weeks ago I purchased a (what I believed to be) old Venlonia Magic guitar, the seller told me it would be from about 1939 to 1950. Now I didn't buy it for the fact that it was a vintage guitar, but because I wanted a project: faulty electronics and routing, bogus neck, no saddle and I could go on.
I would say I'm making some progress, but that's not the real reason I'm here.
The curiousity for really knowing for sure I haven't been ripped off or if it's genuinely an old guitar I thought I'd ask you guys to find out if you know about or know someone that knows about these (type of) guitars.
What I know so far is:
It doesn't have a label on the inside of the guitar, which is generally the staple for knowing when a guitar was made and if it is authentic. However the owner of the company didn't specialize in guitars or mass production of these guitars until 1945, if it is infact an original.
When I bought the guitar it came with a really small torn sticker on the topleft side of the body missing the first few letters, the last three letters were: "gic" (since my suspicion for it being a "Magic"), since at first I didn't really care whether it was old or new I tore off the sticker and threw it away, I've been kicking myself since.
The fretboard length is only about 39 cm and the guitar is relatively small, regarding the fact that the builder (if it actually is Venlonia) only made mandolins and violins before switching to guitars, this would be one of the first guitars he built, because of the similarity in size.
The paint on the guitar is crackled and has little cuts and bruises on the side of the guitar, this might sound weird, but the guitar does smell old, especially the inside.
The old tone and volume pot(s) are from Italy, the outputjack is from the UK and the capacitor is German, if that doesn't sound WWII to you (joke). Fact is though that Venlo (the city) from which the brand originated is close to Germany, which would explain the capacitor but not the other bits. The parts are definitely worth considering to be old, if only for the fact that they were broken and worn out when I bought the guitar, and the small amounts of rust.
The vibrato system is really strange, the only tremolo that would come close is the Kaufmann Vibrola, which was patented in 1935.
If someone could help me by telling me how I can add pictures or redirect you to pictures of the guitar (keep in mind I have been restoring/demolishing parts of the guitar) please do! Also if someone knows if I've been ripped off just by reading this, please tell me. It's the not-knowing I can't stand.
Please post pictures. I've never heard of the guitar let alone the brand but you seem to have a good argument for it being actually old and legit. It wasn't that uncommon for guitars of that era to not have serial numbers or date stamps. As for the parts coming from varied countries, maybe they've been replaced over the years. Or maybe they were imported. That happens.
The wear you explain on the finish would be too much effort to fake if you're going to sell a guitar as a project anyway.
At this point I'd say you're a bit paranoid and that is whats keeping you from just going with it. Best bet is to take the instrument for what it is, original or not, and get excited for what it becomes. That way you're not let down in the unlikely event that it is fake.
Here's a few photo's of the vibrato, the tuners, single-coil pickup and overall shape of the guitar.
Sidenotes: I removed the fretboard and went on sanding the neck, still not finished yet. I want to put in a mandolin truss rod, because it's the only one that would fit (it's 34cm). Don't know if that's wise though. Other thing is I put in a new bridge and new electronics, aside from the single coil pickup. Which seems to be a P90-style single coil, yet it only is a 1-conductor (which I found out by trial and error), and above all working beautifully.
I'm still new to posting here, so the images might not have come through. Probably using the wrong URL or something.
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