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c.1940 Stromberg Model G-1

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Serial number: #518, Hanover St. label

Body size at lower bout: 17 3/8" Body depth: 3 3/8" Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut width: 1 11/16" Neck depth: .89/1.06, 1st/10th frets

Finish: Nitrocellulose lacquer

Materials: Arched spruce top; arched maple back and sides; solid maple neck with 3-ply centerstripe; mother of pearl fingerboard inlay; triple bound body, bound fingerboard, headstock and heel cap; ornate engraved headplate.

Hardware: Original nickel hardware includes segmented trapeze tailpiece and top-adjusting compensated ebony bridge. Vintage correct hardware includes bound bakelite pickguard, nickel Waverly Sta-Tite style 18:1 open back butterbean tuners.

Notes: Founded in 1906, Charles Stromberg & Son produced a wide variety of instruments including banjos, drums and harps. By 1927 they are said to have made their first archtop guitars, predating both Epiphone and D'Angelico by a number of years. Producing perhaps fewer than 340 examples until closing in 1955, Charles and his son Elmer created a line of orchestra guitars renowned for their power, punch and projection. Working from a small shop at 40 Hanover St. in Boston's theatre district, the pair produced hand-built guitars to order for some of the greatest players of the Big Band era, including Freddy Green of the Count Basie band, Irving Ashby with Nat Cole, and Nashville jazz legend Hank Garland. The only serious rival to John D'Angelico, Stromberg created the legendary Master 400 model, the largest archtop ever produced, a guitar that remains one of the most highly prized (and priced) acoustic archtops ever built.

Like D'Angelico, Stromberg produced a varied line of instruments, including this rare model, the G-1. With a full-depth 17" noncutaway body, the G-1 boasted a handmade nickel trapeze tailpiece, Grover Sta-Tite tuners, and Stromberg's signature headplate, with ornate script engraving illuminated with gold leaf. This instrument was once owned by guitarist Jimmy Stella of Newtown, MA, said to have been a popular performer in area clubs and vaudeville. A transitional model, the guitar is fitted with Stromberg's unique top-adjusting bridge, and is an early example with one-piece f-holes. The soundboard is supported with a pair of parallel braces, and the back has a single longitudinal center brace, another unique Stromberg feature. Finally, the diamond fingerboard inlay is so similar to that of the Epiphone Triumph we suspect it may have been obtained from the same pearl supplier.

This gleaming instrument has been well maintained, with no apparent cracks, and is remarkably free of pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, showing a few scattered nicks in the finish. The color and pattern of the sunburst finish are characteristic of the maker, and appear to have been oversprayed at some point, with some finish checking on the back suggesting work of some age. The guitar is fitted with Stromberg's own classic trapeze tailpiece, which we understand was crafted in-house by Elmer himself. Interestingly, the instrument is supplied with a hardshell case which appears original, and is affixed with a dealer badge from Parker Music of Houston, TX, suggesting this guitar may have traveled well afield.

The label stipulates Stromberg's pride in craftsmanship, with a touch of Scandinavian caution: "This guitar is guaranteed for a lifetime to the original purchaser, if used properly." As might be expected, the guitar has a massive, powerful voice, with exceptional bark and projection. A rare opportunity to own a piece of history, and an excellent working guitar, at a price within reason. One only: call now.

Setup: Bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation set; string slots at nut and bridge inspected and recut as necessary; bridgewheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished; intonation strobe tuned. This instrument is strung with medium gauge bronze strings (.013-.056). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 5/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.
























































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