For years I’ve been fixing and restoring old instruments, both as a hobby and as a way to afford vintage guitars, mandolins and banjos. As a a matter of fact, I used about 16 of these instruments on my CD The Last Day of Winter. Now I love bringing old instruments back to life, but I’ve reached the point where I have way too many to keep them all!
Orphan Instruments is my solution to that problem. My plan is to offer restored, vintage instruments for sale directly to folks at very reasonable prices. Like an old man once told me when I commented on the very affordable prices in his antique store, “There’s the sell it price and the keep it price. I want to sell ’em and move on to the next thing.” Well that’s my philosophy too.
My goal is to price things well below market price and in such a way that everyday people can afford them. I’ll get my investment back out, make a little money and be able to move on to another project. I have a significant backlog of vintage instruments, primarily turn of the Century parlor guitars and Mandolins (and a couple banjo's). I there is something special you are looking for, email me and I'll see what I have in storage and move it to the front of the line.
All instruments I offer will be fully repaired, restored and set up for playing. Most will receive much more time and attention than they might normally receive but each will be a unique piece of musical history. Best of all, they’ll be priced to sell within a working musician's budget!
Email me at email@example.com if you are interested in any of them. I'm happy to take pay pal.
Instruments Currently For Sale:
Washburn 1897 Style New Model 212, 1897-1906
Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, Adirondack Spruce top, ebony nut and fingerboard, herringbone trim, original tuners, original frets, CAD generated replacement bridge in ebony, french polish over original finish. A fabulous guitar with a cannon like projection, big sound but brilliant highs. A great finger style guitar and perfect for old time playing. Ladder braced. This model has a steel bar in the neck and I did NOT have to do a neck re-set. Prices are all over the place on these when you see them. I saw between 1500 and 2400 on the internet when I was restoring this. My price, $1,200.00.
P Benson Parlor Guitar
Benson was a builder in Minneapolis who built between the 1880s and the 1930s. I'd estimate this guitar is from sometime in the teens. Mahogany back and sides, Spruce top (probably Adirondack), original tuners, ebony fretboard, original frets. The decals and Roy Rogers cut out clearly aren't original, but they add heavily to the vintage vibe so I left them on. Finish cleaned, but all original. A fine player with a clear, rich, mahogany sound. Ladder braced. This one was a big hit at the FARM conference! $600.00
Kay Super Concert Acoustic Guitar 1961-65
This vintage Kay Super Auditorium guitar is battle worn and solid as the day is long. It has a stamp of L 1085 inside the sound hole and should date between 1961 and 1965 based on the metal head plate logo. It has a solid spruce top, and laminated Maple back and sides with a tobacco sunburst finish, a bound Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard, checkerboard binding and a poplar neck. It is roughly comparable size wise and tone wise to a 000 or OM guitar.
When I got this guitar, it was a terrible shape cosmetically, but structurally solid as the proverbial brick **** house. The lacquer was severely checked, the fret’s had loosened, the bridge was coming off, the fingerboard had multiple small chips at the frets and the neck was pulling out. At first I thought that the nickel frets had been replaced, but careful examination showed that they were original and that the damage to the frets, fretboard and lacquer appeared to be from being exposed to severe changes is temperature and humidity this guitar has been through. That being said the guitar was solid… not a loose brace to be found, quite rare in guitars of this era.
Work done: neck re-set, frets re-seated and superglued in, leveled, crowned and polished, new bridge, bone saddle and bone nut, finish hand rubbed out with micro mesh, but left with all the vintage wear intact. The original tuners had been replaced with mini Schaller style knock off’s that work very well. The original wrap around bridge was split and I have replaced it with a new old stock Kay bridge of the same style and era and added a new bone saddle and nut. I replaced a plastic strap button with a bone one. This guitar has a truss rod.
The guitar has been set up to Martin factory specs; Low E string .024” @ first fret and 3/32 @ 12th fret, High E string .016” at 1st fret, 3/32 @ 12th fret. Neck width 1 3/4 “ at nut, neck has a C profile. It plays well and in tune all the way up the neck. Sound wise, full range tone with the sparkle and clarity on the high end you'd expect from a concert size guitar.
The neck is comparable to a Gibson neck from the 50’s. I played it back to back with my $5,000.00 Collings OM and the tone and playability isn’t as refined, but it’s close. No case, $450.00
Supertone "Tulip Head" Mandolin
This is a supertone (Sear's house brand before Silvertone) probably built by Regal, possibly in the 30's. Mahogany back and sides, original tuners and bridge, Walnut fingerboard, original frets. The instrument was completely rebuilt, neck re-set, braces glued. An easy player with bright but rich mahogany tone. A sweet instrument with the original cardboard case.
Washington Style 24 Bano Uke
This banjo uke is a Washington, made for the Jenkins Music Co. of Kansas City, quite probably by Slingerland. Most likely from the 1920s or 30s era. Maple tone ring, Mahogany neck, possible pear wood fingerboard, un-ebonized.
Work done: Full neck and post re-set, new skin head, original frets and tuners . This is in excellent working and playing condition. An oustanding player, no case. SOLD
Washburn 2422 Model Double Point Mandolin
Serial #23843, Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, Spruce top, ebony fingerboard dating from between 1909-1915. Bridge, tuners, frets and binding (which I removed and re-used on the back) are original. I just love the shape of these mandolins and I have another in the cue to repair. This is an excellent player with a bright, but full tone resonating from the Brazilian Rosewood. Non original case. SOLD But I actually have a second one in line to restore if your looking for one.
NEW Late 60's Kay Model 391 Archtop Guitar made for Sear's and Roebuck $375.00
Kay was still making decent guitars in the 60’s and this one was made for the Sears and Roebuck Company. The “Atomic” logo on the headstock is actually the S R logo Sear’s used in the 60s. They were starting to cut corners, though, and this one lacked the usual support around the F holes. The top was seriously warped as a result. It has a solid maple top, maple laminate body, poplar neck, original tuners in good shape, rosewood fingerboard, brass frets, original nut, steel re-enforced neck, non original bridge and pick guard.
The poplar neck came off easily but had damage to the edge of the dove tail joint. Poplar is a semi-hard wood and damage to this part of the heel is a very common issue. There was enough damage that I chiseled back about 1/4 “ of the edge, then epoxied on a maple replacement "wing" which I trimmed and shaped to match the original profile. This worked so well that I’ll be adding this to the list of repairs I do.
Work done: Three top cracks glued and cleated, F holes re-enforced, body warp straightened out, dove tail repaired, neck re-set. Frets leveled, crowned and polished, tuners buffed and lubricated, tailpiece buffed. New rosewood bridge, pick guard and pick guard brace. Finish hand rubbed out with micro mesh, finish touch up to chips and end damage. Instrument adjusted and set up.
While lacking some of the details of fancier Kay guitars, this one is a solid player in excellent condition priced to sell. It has a beautiful amber sunburst finish, a full, very well balanced tone, with a bit of midrange punch. It has a very comfortable C profile neck and rosewood fingerboard and plays clean all the way up the neck. No case, but it will be packed carefully and insured.
A very reasonably priced way to get into arch top guitars. $375.00
American Conservatory Model 91 Mandolinetto
American Conservatory was a Washburn brand. The 1919 Catalog shows images of this very model, a model 91. Here's the original description: “Genuine rosewood (Brazilian) back and sides, hand polished, fancy strip inlaid in back, back edge bound with white celluloid, front edge bound with celluloid and fancy colored wood, spruce top, celluloid guard plate, inlaid sound-hole, mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard, pearl position marks, our own make machine head, nickel-covered shell-pattern tailpiece.”
Work Done:This got a complete re-build.The fingerboard, neck and top were removed to repair damaged braces. They ALL were loose so they were removed, cleaned and re-glued. Top splits repaired and cleated, top re-installed and bound, neck angle corrected and fingerboard re-glued. The entire instrument was cleaned and lightly french polished to restore the finish.
All original except the top binding which was brittle and disintegrated when I removed it to repair the face cracks. Beautiful Brazilian Rosewood body and head plate, ebony fingerboard original nut, original tuners. This is the real deal, an excellent sounding, Brazilian rosewood madoletto that looks great and plays extremely well! The high end versions of these for well over 1,000.00.
Beautiful player with great tone, $500.00
1920's Mahogany Ukelele
This is a very nice, unbranded, solid mahogany Ukelele that I would say is probably from the 20's based on the arched back, the fact that the frets end at the body and that it has the original rosewood violin style friction tuning pegs. Those are all features of early Hawaiian instruments. Most factory ukes went to mechanical tuners fairly quickly and the ones that didn't had cheap boxwood tuning pegs.
This appears to be a fairly well made, middle quality instrument, possibly a Regal, Kay or similar level builder. Cleary a factory made instruments but still copying the early Hawaiian ukuleles. Solid Mahogany construction, "rope" inlay around sound hole, original brass frets, rosewood tuning pegs and nut, correct replacement bridge.
Work done: Two loose braces re-glued, top split closed and glued, loose side and back seams re-glued, correct replacement bridge installed, frets cleaned and polished. Comes with the original canvas bottom loading case that's missing the end flap.
This Uke is light as a feathered plays like butter with excellent action. The thin, nearly 100 yr. old mahogany gives it a clear rich, classic tone. A very nice, very affordable, vintage uke!
1930’s Gretsch “American” Tenor Banjo SOLD
This is a medium quality tenor banjo with a cast aluminum frame and a wing nut connected wooden resonator. Mother of pearl inlay on the headstock and position markers. Possible pear wood or similar fine grained wood fingerboard (not ebonized), original tuners, tailpiece, frets and adjustment screws and nuts. The original skin head had tear and I replaced it with a Remo "Elite" fiber over nylon head.
Work done: I cleaned the fretboard, cleaned the cast tone ring, tightened the tuners and replaced the damaged head.
Tenor banjo's don't generally bring high dollars unless they're fancy. This is a solid entry level tenor banjo. A good player with a vintage vibe for a someone interested in exploring tenor banjo without breaking the bank.
I'm asking $SOLD. No case. There was one of these on Reverb nation recently going for $299.00.