#1
This slightly odd nylon string was found in the process of clearing a recently deceased person's house, and judging by the primary school English work in the case (containing some absolutely horrific/glorious puns) I think it's a fair bet that it was last played by a kid. The only branding on it is "Dreima" on the bridge/tailpiece assembly, which a quick google search reveals was a German company in the 1930s or so who made parts for other companies. So, my best guess is a no-name student model, if an old one, but nonetheless a classical with a metal bridge/tailpiece combination and the narrow shape, weird fretboard (solved that mystery) etc. is enough to make me curious about the instrument's provenance. Impressively, it still plays pretty well and the intonation's more or less spot-on. If anyone has any idea about either the make or just the general style of guitar all info is welcome.




EDIT: As always, I did more googling after I posted this and found a little bit more. No doubt obvious to those who know far more than me is that it's a parlour guitar, and there seem to be a few around from various manufacturers - both steel and nylon strung - with the same bridge construction. They seem to be vaguely dated between the 1920s and 1940s. I still don't expect this to be worth anything but if anyone has any suggestions of its origin I'm curious.
Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Dec 6, 2014,
#3
Quote by Tony Done
Dunno, but I would say it was designed for steel strings, judging by the tuner posts.

What about them makes you think steel-string? It looks like a classical headstock to me. I'm also reasonably sure there's no truss rod (inasmuch as there don't seem to be any Allen wrench-shaped holes either end and the guitar is very light.)
#4
Quote by K33nbl4d3
What about them makes you think steel-string? It looks like a classical headstock to me. I'm also reasonably sure there's no truss rod (inasmuch as there don't seem to be any Allen wrench-shaped holes either end and the guitar is very light.)



Steel string guitars also come with slotted headstocks, but those designed for nylon strings typically have wide plastic or bone rollers rather than narrow metal ones. However, around the 1920s, Martin were making transitional designs that were intended to use either steel or gut (no nylon in those days). I had one, a 1925 0-21. It didn't have a truss rod and it sounded very good with light steel strings, poor with nylon. Another thing to consider is neck width, if it is 2" I would say it is intended for nylon/gut strings, 1 7/8" or less, more likely steel or transitional. Then there is the tailpiece, nylon/gut guitars might be expected to have a fixed bridge unless very early. The fact that it doesn't have a truss rod means that caution would be needed with steel strings, but 10s or 11s should be safe enough at standard tuning, and might sound a lot better than nylon.
#5
Quote by K33nbl4d3
What about them makes you think steel-string? It looks like a classical headstock to me. I'm also reasonably sure there's no truss rod (inasmuch as there don't seem to be any Allen wrench-shaped holes either end and the guitar is very light.)
I had a steel string guitar from Woolworth's 5 & 10, (circa 1964), with the same type of classical headstock and tuning keys. I think what Tony means is the small diameter steel posts on the tuners, as opposed to the normally larger nylon barrels currently in use.

I'm far from a guitar historian, but the use of a truss rod, and certainly its adjust-ability, had not really been completely standardized during the time period you're describing.

The "dual action" truss rods of today are certainly a more recent innovation.

The term "parlor guitar", defines principally the body size, with less regard given the hardware appointments. (Modern "parlor guitars", can certainly easily be found with the same type pin bridges as their bigger brothers and sisters).

I often send people here: http://www.jedistar.com/ for historical searches. Even if you don't find exactly what you're looking for, some parts of the site are an entertaining read nonetheless.
#6
Much appreciated, both.

The neck is 1 7/8" at the nut, so when I'm at the guitar shop tomorrow I'll see what the folks there think about steel strings for it. Last time I got a free guitar it was a Guild but hey, the more the merrier as far as I'm concerned
#7
You might want to hedge your bets, and dial back the gauge of the steel strings you install. My guess would be "acoustic extra light" (.010 to .047), or "custom light", (.011 to .052) at the most. A small bodied guitar doesn't require the boost of energy to the soundboard that a dread or jumbo needs to get it moving. You lose about 30 lbs of tension, going from "acoustic light to acoustic extra light. ((165 > 135 lbs).