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Old 08-18-2019, 07:33 AM
mrjop1975 mrjop1975 is offline
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Location: Urbana, IL USA
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Default Orpheum guitars?

I had gotten a used 4 string Orpheum acoustic archtop tenor guitar from Bucks Country Music that they said was from the 30's. Great sound and fantastic shape - if it was from the 30's, then this thing was hardly ever used at all. My question is does anyone know anything about Orpheum guitars? I'll post a picture later if I can but you could still go there site to see it.
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James O. Phillips
Urbana IL USA

6 strings -
Art & Lutherie AMI Wild Cherry Parlor
Epiphone Masterbilt Olympic archtop
Kala parlor guitar
Martin spruce top dreadnought junior

4 string tenors -

GS Monroe handmade reclaimed cypress tenor
Orpheum archtop tenor
2 Kala tenor guitars - 1 rosewood back and sides, 1 with Pau Ferro back and sides

plus a couple mountain dulcimers
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:37 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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Orpheum had a couple of iterations. The first was as a banjo brand, quite highly regarded, owned by Rettberg and Lange, with a factory in New York City. Same company also made Paramount, and probably others. It closed around the start of WWII. They started distributing other types of instruments in the later 1930's, including guitars, archtop guitars, mandolins, etc. The second go-round was as a importer/distributor of mostly low end instruments, in the 1950's and well into the 1960's.

If you have an Orpheum tenor guitar from the 1930's, then in might have been made by any of the significant manufacturers of the period, Regal, Kay, Harmony. It's not likely it was made by the Rettberg and Lange factory. I have a Paramount mandolin that was distributed by them, and made by Kay. That's why I spent some time digging history on them, a few years ago. The look of yours suggests Harmony to me, the F-holes and the tailpiece and the headstock shape. It also might be a Kay, or course. I have a 1960's Kay made Silvertone with a similar headstock and the same binding.
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Brian Evans
1935 Dobro model 25 resonator
1943 Paramount (made by Kay) mandolin
1946 Epiphone Zephyr electric archtop
1957 Hofner Senator archtop
1962 Gibson Melody Maker electric
1963 National Dynamic lap steel
1996 Landola jumbo
1998 Godin Artisan TC electric
1998 Epiphone SG electric
2010 GoldTone PBR-CA resonator
2015 Evans electric archtop
2016 Evans archtop

Last edited by MC5C; 08-18-2019 at 10:47 AM.
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