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Old 05-02-2019, 08:47 PM
Laurael Laurael is offline
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Default Need help identifying an old family guitar.

Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum and would like to ask for some help.

I recently got this family heirloom guitar out of my Grandmother's basement. It was my Grandfather's guitar, but i dont know if he even played.

The headstock was broken when sometime in the late '60s or early 70s when my mom was very young.

I would like to see this guitar repaired, either do it myself or have a luthier do it, but i have no idea what the original headstock may have looked like.

It is stamped in the sound hole with Hayden.

The only information i can find regarding Hayden was it's a Gibson made guitar that was given another maker's name and sold through the distributor L.D. Heater out of Portland, OR in 1936. But that might not even be the history of this guitar.

Can anyone help shed some light on the situation? Or recommend a good place to continue looking.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:06 PM
Willie_D Willie_D is online now
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You could always design your own headstock and use your grandpa's name as the logo.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:14 PM
drive-south drive-south is offline
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It's a parlour sized guitar, typical guitar from around 1900.
It appears to have Brazillian rosewood back & sides and a spruce top. This guitar would almost certainly have a slotted headstock in a paddle shape like Martin and many other makers used. The bridge is known as a pyramid bridge due to the carved wings.

I can't tell who made it but I highly doubt it was Gibson. More than likely made by Oscar Schmidt, Lyon & Healy, Washburn or a small shop. I'd send some photos to one of the vintage repair aces like Frank Ford @Gryphon Strings in Palo Alto, or one of the big guys in Nashville like Gruhns, Carter Vintage, etc. It's a very cool guitar and the Brazillian rosewood is now very scarce.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:29 PM
Dreadfulnaught Dreadfulnaught is offline
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Thought I had seen it all but Iíve never seen a Hayden guitar. It looks kind of Bay Stateish but the truncated pyramid bridge was used by the Larsen Brothers (in fairness, others used it also). Iíd look for other brand names with a similar stamp in an oval. May have been made by the same people. Iíve seen that before, and Iíll try to remember where.....
I would feel comfortable saying that it was a slothead, and a lot were squared off like Martin.
This is great, like exploring King Tutís Tomb without getting dirty.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:30 PM
Willie_D Willie_D is online now
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Check this out https://reverb.com/item/289942-circa...ilian-rosewood
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:04 PM
Laurael Laurael is offline
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Thanks all for the responses. Thanks Willie for the great idea about using grandpa's name on the headstock! I'm definitely going to incorporate that.

When i said it was made by Gibson, i was pretty ambiguous, i didn't meanmade by Gibson himself, but i read in a book that during the depression the Gibson Company were making lower end guitars and selling them to other distributors with different names and Hayden was one of the names used for a very short time for some of these low end guitars.

Here is a link to a preview of the book i read this in.

https://books.google.com/books?id=uq...Heater&f=false

However, this could be a completely wrong rabbit hole I'm following.
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:20 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Laurael, it doesn't have any of the usual stylistic tip-offs that would indicate that it was made by Gibson. But it's definitely a decent quality guitar, and would definitely be worth repairing. I'm pretty certain that Hayden was a music distributorship, and those companies often had a number of different vendors making guitars for them.

The back and sides are almost certainly Brazilian rosewood.

Given the body style of the guitar, it's possible that it was originally intended to be strung with gut strings, not steel - gut strings were tied in a knot at the end and inserted into the bridge, where a pin was pressed in on top of them to hold them in place. So while I think this guitar was probably intended for steel strings, it'll depend on how it's braced underneath the top to that to be made clear either way.

Be sure to take the guitar to someone with extensive experience with vintage guitars so they can verify that one way or the other. If it's braced for gut and you string it with steel the added tension can rip the guitar apart, so it's imperative that you find that out before you restring it.

First, of course, you need to get the guitar put back together and fully functional! Since they're not in the photographs I assume that the missing pieces of the headstock have long since disappeared. If they're tucked in the case pocket, be sure to show them to the person you give the job of restoring the guitar to. In a best of all worlds' scenario the original pieces can be reglued and the guitar restored simply and quickly.

But if those pieces no longer exist, they'll obviously need to be replaced. As will the tuning gears.

So what you're looking at is a major restoration. It might turn out that the entire neck will need to be replaced, but hopefully that won't be necessary.

It's not going to be cheap to return this guitar to its original playing condition, and you need to understand that going in. Depending on what needs to be done, I can see where this will cost you somewhere between $750 and $1500. You might get away with spending less, and I hope you do, but I would rather you be shocked right now by these numbers in my post than totally flabbergasted when you talk to someone with the skill set needed to do the work.

Because it'll be a lot of work.

I hope that made sense, and I hope that I haven't extinguished your enthusiasm for the project. Because it's really worth doing.

Hope this helps.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:37 PM
Laurael Laurael is offline
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Thanks Wade! I'm not too concerned about the cost. It's worth it to be able to play grandpa's guitar one day.

It's an interesting point you make about being braced for gut strings. It was strung with steel strings when it broke, at least the stings i found with it in the case are steel.

Here are some photos of the inside. Starts at the neck and 360 from there.

As for the tuning pegs, i have the originals (i think) and a replacement set i found in the case as well.

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Old 05-03-2019, 04:51 AM
Eldergreene Eldergreene is offline
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It appears in the first pic to have a 10th rather than 9th fretboard marker dot, which would suggest Schmidt-built maybe? & also a radiused fretboard, if that narrows down the number of possible makers? Sweet guitar!
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:25 AM
Parlorman Parlorman is offline
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There are some Larson like features on the guitar - the bridge, the 10th fret position marker, the heel shape - position and cap. I canít make out other details from the photos, but some telltale features would be binding and purfling design, edge contours and back center strip.

Iím not aware of any Larsons sold under the Hayden name but that doesnít mean it didnít happen. Their records were regrettably discarded by a relative.

Tony Klassen might be worth reaching out to. Heís done a lot of work on vintage Larsons and may have some insights.

https://www.arkneweraguitars.com/
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Old 05-03-2019, 07:04 AM
DaveKell DaveKell is offline
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I wish I could come across a beautiful old guitar for free like that. Currently my custom Yairi , directly commissioned from Kazuo Yairi by a wealthy friend in 1982 who willed it to me when he was dying of cancer, is being restored by a well known repair guy in Missouri. The guitar was horribly crushed in a bad car wreck last year. This luthier, who worked 22 years in Martins repair shop, said he will have it singing again in 4 or 5 months. A few others advised me it was beyond hope, but not this guy. Iím sure your headstock repair would be a walk in the park for him. If you want his contact info message me. I saw pics of a few Martins that were in dozens of pieces he restored, mostly with barely discernible scars. Itís going to be a happy day when my Yairi super abalone comes home a survivor. I wonít even care about visible scars as I have a few prominent ones myself from the wreck. Now, Iím awaiting a substantial settlement. The at fault driver had the misfortune of the accident being witnessed by a state trooper. His insurance company accepted liability from the outset and the guy had substantial personal injury coverage fortunately.
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:44 AM
drive-south drive-south is offline
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It looks like the guitar was ladder braced, unlike Martin's X brace pattern.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:01 AM
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ragincajun ragincajun is offline
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Can someone explain to an ignorant person like me as to why the sides seem to have a joint of 2 differing shades of wood? I donít think Iíve ever seen that before.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:31 AM
merlin666 merlin666 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragincajun View Post
Can someone explain to an ignorant person like me as to why the sides seem to have a joint of 2 differing shades of wood? I donít think Iíve ever seen that before.
Yes the sides are quite striking particularly from the inside with a dark line that separates the two shades. I assume that could be some brazilian figuring.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:33 AM
Inyo Inyo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurael View Post

It is stamped in the sound hole with Hayden.

The only information i can find regarding Hayden was it's a Gibson made guitar that was given another maker's name and sold through the distributor L.D. Heater out of Portland, OR in 1936. But that might not even be the history of this guitar.
Yes. That's the basic history. But L.D. Heater also ran shop out of Seattle in 1936:

From the volume "The Other Brands of Gibson" by Paul Fox, Chapter 18:



Examples of folks talking about Hayden guitars from various other guitar forums:

"I've been searching for anything on the Hayden brand. All I know is what is listed in Gruhns - & it ain't much. It's clearly the same guitar as the Cromwell G-2, Captial J-1, Kalamazoo KG-14, and several other L-00-based "house branded" guitars Gibson made. Hayden is listed as 1936 only. I will have to try & dig up more info. Thanks a lot."

"I had a Gibson built Hayden archtop (16") once upon a time. The FON was 899B-17. The Gibson ledger (Oct. 2, 1936) shows it was from a batch of 12 G-4's that went to L. D. Heater Music Co. in Portland, OR. Zizala supplied me with that information."

"Also added a section on the Gibson-made "Hayden" and "Reznick Radio" two really obscure brands made for distributor/retailers L.D. Heater Music (Hayden) and Reznick's Music."

And, a description of a Gibson/Hayden instrument for sale over at https://thea.com/Acoustic-1936-Gibson/:

"Rare Vintage Hayden Gibson G-5 Archtop Acoustic Guitar 1936

"This is a very rare archtop acoustic Guitar made by Gibson for the L.D. Heater music store of Seattle in 1936 and branded' Hayden' Internal Gibson batch number' 704 B 12' Paul Fox. Author of' Other Brands of Gibson' remarks that this guitar is similar to the Cromwell G-5 but much rarer and only 16 are known to exist. In all original condition including its hard case. Curly flame Maple back, Mother of pearl inlaid fingerboard, original Grover tuners. Total length is 40 1/4 and the body is 20 1/2 x 16 1/4 ins. String length of low'e' is 25 ins. The varnish is in good order with some crazing in places and a few scratches/ dings. It is a little dirty and would greatly benefit from a light clean. There are no breaks, cracks, old repairs or other issues. The neck is straight. The strap button/ peg is missing from the end of the tailpiece. It will need new strings. The hard case is velvet lined and the outside is very distressed, but still quite serviceable."
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