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  #1  
Old 10-17-2019, 08:36 PM
jeaniesing jeaniesing is offline
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Question Looking for a low budget guitar that can pass for 1800's

One of the many hats I wear is playing a character in our local Victorian- Christmas street festival - two theaters of "A Christmas Carol" running all day, about 200 vendors, and dozens of street actors/singers/players. For me it's 3 street shows of corralling children on a wobbly stage and posing for about 1000 picture (I wish I were exaggerating). Anyway.... I'd love to take a harmony instrument out on the street with me - but weather varies, so no buying of restored baroque guitars for me!

I'm looking for something that might pass as older (dark wood), play like a guitar (pref. 6 strings), and not cost an arm or leg (public school teacher, here!). Any lute shapes with guitar tunings out there? Narrow bodied parlor guitars? I'll give up and stain my son's 3/4 classical a darker color if I have to - but its standard shape doesn't give it much interest.

I've seen a few cuatro guitars that look interesting. With a 2" nut and short fretboard they might do the trick. Does anyone have experience playing one?
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:53 PM
Bax Burgess Bax Burgess is offline
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The headstock markings could be darkened.

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/guit...CABEgKTcfD_BwE

Cuatro intonation, with the straight across saddle (non-angled), isn't very good for some strings by the 12th fret.

Last edited by Bax Burgess; 10-18-2019 at 06:09 AM.
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:18 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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These are about as period-accurate as you're likely to get in a 21st-century guitar - I've seen some Civil War re-enactors using them as a field-friendly alternative to an irreplaceable, genuine 19th-century parlor; maybe a little more expensive than you'd prefer ($499 and $699 street respectively) but they do come with a period-style "coffin" hard-shell case, if you're in it for the long haul IME they're far better-made than either the Ibanez or (especially) the mass-market Latin-American instruments - and if you're handy and you want to up the authenticity factor, one re-enactor reversed/re-installed the tuners on his R314 with the worm gear below the tuner shaft, as they did 150 years ago:


https://www.washburn.com/product/r314/





https://www.washburn.com/product/r320sw/

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Old 10-17-2019, 11:13 PM
gr81dorn gr81dorn is offline
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Look at some stuff from Doff, a Russian company. They are very inexpensive and have some super old style instruments that would fit your gig pretty well.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:23 AM
maxtheaxe maxtheaxe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
These are about as period-accurate as you're likely to get in a 21st-century guitar - I've seen some Civil War re-enactors using them as a field-friendly alternative to an irreplaceable, genuine 19th-century parlor; maybe a little more expensive than you'd prefer ($499 and $699 street respectively) but they do come with a period-style "coffin" hard-shell case, if you're in it for the long haul IME they're far better-made than either the Ibanez or (especially) the mass-market Latin-American instruments - and if you're handy and you want to up the authenticity factor, one re-enactor reversed/re-installed the tuners on his R314 with the worm gear below the tuner shaft, as they did 150 years ago:


https://www.washburn.com/product/r314/





https://www.washburn.com/product/r320sw/

Yeah! Beat me to it. A friend of mine got one of these...I think it was a re-pack or scratch & dent or something because he only paid about $300 bucks for his. Really surprisingly nice and playable little guitar with boatloads of vintage mojo...and do I remember correctly that these are all-solid top, back & sides? Sure sounded like it.

His is a darker stain than the guitar in the pics. I just checked around and these are sadly discontinued, but there are a few used ones out there.
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  #6  
Old 10-18-2019, 05:35 AM
AndrewG AndrewG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxtheaxe View Post
Yeah! Beat me to it. A friend of mine got one of these...I think it was a re-pack or scratch & dent or something because he only paid about $300 bucks for his. Really surprisingly nice and playable little guitar with boatloads of vintage mojo...and do I remember correctly that these are all-solid top, back & sides? Sure sounded like it.

His is a darker stain than the guitar in the pics. I just checked around and these are sadly discontinued, but there are a few used ones out there.
I always like the look of those but I was put off by the very pronounced hard 'V' neck profile.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:10 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewG View Post
...I was put off by the very pronounced hard 'V' neck profile.
That's also 100% period-correct, BTW - my ca. 1875 Bay State parlor has an almost-identical neck profile, only difference being a slight softening after 140+ years of honest wear...
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:25 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
These are about as period-accurate as you're likely to get in a 21st-century guitar - I've seen some Civil War re-enactors using them as a field-friendly alternative to an irreplaceable, genuine 19th-century parlor; maybe a little more expensive than you'd prefer ($499 and $699 street respectively) but they do come with a period-style "coffin" hard-shell case, if you're in it for the long haul IME they're far better-made than either the Ibanez or (especially) the mass-market Latin-American instruments - and if you're handy and you want to up the authenticity factor, one re-enactor reversed/re-installed the tuners on his R314 with the worm gear below the tuner shaft, as they did 150 years ago:


https://www.washburn.com/product/r314/





https://www.washburn.com/product/r320sw/

another - me too. I've had two of these and they are quite nice.

The first one was the 125h anniversary model which was fine, and the last one was the one with the tree of life fretboard which had the hard V profile which was, indeed, very uncomfortable - I shaved it down myself and it worked, but i decided I didn't need it and sold it on.

Get one if you can - they are really quite fun.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:34 AM
roylor4 roylor4 is offline
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Not six strings, but the Seagull Merlin has that old-timey vibe and is cheap and easy to play.
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  #10  
Old 10-18-2019, 08:45 AM
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Bob Womack Bob Womack is offline
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Call Martin and ask for their vintage parts department:



Bob
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Old 10-18-2019, 08:51 AM
lowrider lowrider is offline
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That movie looks pretty bad, but I can't imagine why they needed the original guitar when they had 8 copies.
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:46 AM
Parlorman Parlorman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowrider View Post
That movie looks pretty bad, but I can't imagine why they needed the original guitar when they had 8 copies.
One story has it that Quentin Tarantino wanted Jennifer Jason Leigh's shock to be genuine so he didn't swap the guitar or tell her it was a real take.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:56 PM
jricc jricc is offline
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While not 1800s, this might be able to pass. $199
https://www.guitarcenter.com/Recordi...stic-Guitar.gc

or this one you could remove the pickup
https://www.guitarcenter.com/Recordi...tric-Guitar.gc
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Old 10-18-2019, 03:21 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeaniesing View Post
One of the many hats I wear is playing a character in our local Victorian- Christmas street festival - two theaters of "A Christmas Carol" running all day, about 200 vendors, and dozens of street actors/singers/players. For me it's 3 street shows of corralling children on a wobbly stage and posing for about 1000 picture (I wish I were exaggerating). Anyway.... I'd love to take a harmony instrument out on the street with me - but weather varies, so no buying of restored baroque guitars for me!

I'm looking for something that might pass as older (dark wood), play like a guitar (pref. 6 strings), and not cost an arm or leg (public school teacher, here!). Any lute shapes with guitar tunings out there? Narrow bodied parlor guitars? I'll give up and stain my son's 3/4 classical a darker color if I have to - but its standard shape doesn't give it much interest.

I've seen a few cuatro guitars that look interesting. With a 2" nut and short fretboard they might do the trick. Does anyone have experience playing one?
Ibenez PN-1 small / narrow body parlor in mahogany, $150 bucks.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...ral-high-gloss
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Old 10-18-2019, 06:24 PM
GroovyException GroovyException is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeaniesing View Post
Any lute shapes with guitar tunings out there?
Well, there's this but you'd have to ship it over from Sweden:



http://www.halkans.com/products/inst...coustic_steel/
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