Restoring Grampa’s Guitar

a blog with pictures

Today, I met my Grampa’s guitar for the first time. I hadn’t even known that he played. Dad didn’t talk about him much, he died when my Dad was only 15 from the effects of being a soldier at Paschendale in the War to End All Wars. So, I never knew that Dad grew up with a father who played guitar. How could he not have told me? He gave me my first guitar when I was 14 and I have been in love with the instrument ever since. Actually, since even before I got one. Anyway, when my Grampa, Johann Peter Anderson, died, his guitar was given to his cousin, who left it in a barn for 50 years until his son Robbie Smith found it and had some repairs done so he could play it. Robbie is in his 80’s now and he decided the guitar should go to one of Peter’s direct descendants, which is how it ended up in the hands of my cousin Ward. I am borrowing it so I can make a sort of replica, a new Robert Anderson guitar model. As a gift to Ward, I’m going to do some repairs so it plays in tune.

What Is This Guitar?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I’ve done some internet investigation and I think it was made in the 1920's by the Oscar Schmidt Co., probably in their New Jersey Factory. There are copies online of advertisements that appeared in Popular Mechanics magazines at the time that offered these guitars if you signed up for lessons with the First Hawaiian Conservatory of Music. I haven't seen any that say "OMEGA" though. It is likely a "Stella" with a new headstock decal, which is paper and applied over the finish.


I've taken some photos and measurements and it appears the scale length should be 24.75 inches, so the string length should be around 24.875 inches. It’s not. More like 24.5 inches. Something is out of place. The bridge and the fingerboard look as if they have been removed and replaced in a previous repair. There are rather obvious chisel marks all around the bridge.


The fingerboard looks like it has been replaced almost .25 inches too close to the bridge. Incidentally, the nut is fastened to the end with a nail, which has split the fingerboard.


Guess I’ll take them both off!