A lot of us grew up with music in our families. Guitars being played by family members especially on holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving when all would gather and sing songs passed down from generations past with aunts, uncles, fathers and grandfathers joining in chorus. Old Martin guitars, Gibson, Ovation, and many other instruments would be pulled from a guitar case new and old to regale us with these songs. It was common to see Maybell, Silvertone, and Harmony Guitars as these were the more affordable guitars to own and readily available from the Sears catalog.
These old guitars, no matter what the brand may be, have a very special place for us in our hearts as they preserve the great memories of days past. As our loved ones leave this world for another, often these great treasures are left behind in a closet, under a bed, or in the care of grandchildren. Some of them are in great condition and others are in need of attention: cracks have formed or neck angles have dove into the abyss, leaving these guitars with extremely high uncomfortable action with the end result being that we don’t want to play them.
The Maybell parlor guitar pictured in this post is one of these special guitars that is priceless to the family. It came to us with all of the back bracing completely popped off and the neck block came loose, causing the top to crack on each side of the fretboard (thus causing the sound hole to cave in). We were able to re-install all of the back bracing and repair the loose neck block. The back was then reinstalled after fixing some more racing that we found to be loose on the top. After this a neck reset was performed to get the playability of this guitar dialed in.
Once all the repair work was completed, the customer arrived to claim Grandpa’s old 1930’s Maybell Parlor guitar and was very pleased. It was important to us to retain as much of the patina as possible in this old guitar so we left the dark build up on the top. It just figures that the owner of this guitar would show up in a cool old New Yorker!
Here are some pics of the restoration process: