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  #1  
Old 02-02-2020, 09:36 PM
TRose TRose is offline
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Default Interesting ornate vintage parlor guitar

My cousin inherited this guitar from her grandmother. Her great grandfather purchased it at the St. Louis Worldís Fair in 1904. It was made by Franz Schwarzer, an Austrian immigrant, who lived in Washington, Missouri. He is best known for his zithers but also made guitars.
I havenít had a chance to inspect it in person or play it. Iím not sure how itís braced but I assume it is built for gut strings. With its small body I suspect the tone would be similar to a romantic era instrument.

Needless to say Iím interested in playing it. Iíll report back when that happens. IMG_8727.jpgIMG_8728.jpgIMG_8729.jpgIMG_8730.jpgIMG_8731.jpgIMG_8732.jpgIMG_8733.jpgIMG_8734.jpg

Last edited by TRose; 02-02-2020 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:42 PM
Ncbandit Ncbandit is offline
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Wow!! That is amazing. Let us know how it sounds if you get a chance.
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:59 PM
Russ C Russ C is offline
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I really like that. The age and history of it somehow makes all that inlay seem like beauty and craftsmanship rather than that grubby little word "bling".
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:14 PM
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TomB'sox TomB'sox is offline
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That is incredible.
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:30 PM
gmel555 gmel555 is offline
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Wow, beautiful, unique inlay and the condition looks amazing! I'd probably have a tech give it quick structural check first and then string that baby up and see how she sounds!

The body's wood appearance on the outside doesn't match the interior wood visible through the sound hole. Inside looks like straight grain spruce (?). I'm just guessing but it looks like the exterior of the body is either burled walnut veneer, or is that an applied finish made to simulate burled wood? Regardless it's very cool!
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:38 PM
why2 why2 is offline
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Wow. That's a work of art.
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:44 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Schwarzer zithers were the Martin guitars of zithers in their day: very high quality. Washington, Missouri, in the center of the state, is in Gasconade County, which is sort of the epicenter of 19th Century German settlement in the state. I donít know if Herr Schwarzer was a Rhinelander himself, but most Germans who settled in the Missouri River Valley were from the Rhineland. Many of them were political refugees after the failed revolutions of 1847 and 1848, pro-democracy exiles who were no longer safe in the aftermath and the retribution that took place in the increasingly militarized and totalitarian Germanic kingdoms and principalities.

Even to this day, many Gasconade County residents are bilingual: you can be talking to them and they speak English with the same slight Missouri twang that I have, then theyíll briefly speak to each other in German, then come back to the conversation in English.

It was pretty startling the first time I encountered that!

Anyway, Schwarzer zithers continue to be highly regarded and sought after by musicians who play zither, and the exquisite workmanship evident in this gorgeous guitar should show you why.

It definitely should be strung with gut or nylon strings only.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 02-03-2020, 02:51 AM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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Gorgeous! That's remarkable. Can't wait to hear more about it.
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Old 02-03-2020, 05:25 AM
Parlorman Parlorman is offline
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That’s lovely!
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Old 02-03-2020, 06:23 AM
hat hat is offline
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I am amazed at the workmanship and quality of that era! I've recently acquired several pocket watches from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the detail and quality of the movements just amazes me. Two are over 100 years old, and still run and keep good time.
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Old 02-03-2020, 07:12 AM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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There were many fine and ornate German parlour guitars made in this era. I wonder what happened that this industry died out? This may be the finest that has come to my attention.
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Old 11-02-2020, 07:34 AM
PowerTube PowerTube is offline
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Sorry to bump an older thread, but I couldn't help myself.

This guitar looks AMAZING! It's almost reminiscent of the shape of a Stradivarius and the inlays are world class.
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Old 11-02-2020, 08:21 AM
nickv6 nickv6 is offline
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So, T Rose, you promised to report back.....what happened?
Nick
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Old 11-02-2020, 08:26 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Good info on the maker here:
https://www.zither.us/schwarzer.zither.king
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Old 11-02-2020, 08:40 AM
ship of fools ship of fools is offline
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You just have to appreciate the skill from craftsman of that time era. It almost is a lost art I can't think of any luthiers that do that kind of marquer work these days. It is why I feel in love with old Washburns.
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