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Orphan Instruments

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 vallillo@macomb.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, mahogany sound.  Ladder braced.   This one was a big hit at the FARM conference!   $600.00
Regal Faux Rosewood Parlor Guitar  SOLD
 
Birch back and sides with excellent Faux Rosewood finish, ebony fingerboard, original frets, Spruce top, new Golden Age replacement tuners.  No case.  Plays very well.  Clear, bright birch tone.  A steal at $300.00.  
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. Easy player with bright but rich mahogany tone. With the original cardboard case,   $325.00
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.     $200.00

 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    $500.00

Regal Mandoletto 
I’d been curious about these for some time but they can be pricey. This one was built by Regal and has a faux rosewood finish over birch for the back and sides and a spruce top which made it more affordable. It was in very bad shape and not playable when I got it.  Pulled the back, removed, cleaned and re-glued back braces, re-glue loose and cracked top braces. Re-attached back, re-detailed the Faux finish, and french polished the instrument. Re-set the neck and made a new bridge out of bone and Osage orange (an extremely hard, bright yellow wood). Ultimately turned out  quite well.
Good quality versions of these sell for high dollars, but being a lower end version, I'll let it go for $175.00 (I paid 130 for the carcass!).  
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.” 
 
All original except the top binding which was brittle and disintegrated when I removed it to repair the face cracks.   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 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!
Price: $175.00
1930’s Gretsch “American” Tenor Banjo
 
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 $200.00.  No case. There was one of these on Reverb nation recently going for $299.00.

Harmony H-165 Solid Mahogany Guitar
This body shape come in around 1958 and based on that and the logo style, I expect this dates to the late 50's or early 60s.  This style ended in '68.  Solid Mahogany back, top, and sides, original Brazilian Rosewood fretboard, original frets,and nut, ladder braced.  This guitar had been previously modified to have a Martin style bridge with through the top string pins.  The original bridge had the strings only through the bridge and when they drilled the new string pin holes, they gouged out what was essentially the bridge plate. I removed the damage plate and replaced it with an oversized Rosewood plate for stability and better tone.  It also has replacement tuners.
Work done: Removed and replaced bridge plate with Rosewood.  Glued loose braces and loose side seams.  The neck was removed and re-set, the fingerboard was removed, the steel neck re-enforcement rod was removed, cleaned and epoxied back in place with a mahogany cover strip, fingerboard damage repaired.  Frets crowned, leveled and polished, finish lightly sanded down and french polished.  
A full, bright toned guitar just as you'd expect from a 60 year old mahogany guitar approximately the size of a 000 or OM guitar. Excellent action and playability.   With Cardboard case, $450.00
Old Kraftsman Acoustic Guitar 
 
Old Kraftsman was the house brand made by Kay for the Spiegel catalog company.  Details on this one suggest it's from around the 1940s, though there is no serial number. Body size is somewhere between a 00 and a 000. This one has a solid spruce top, laminate mahogany sides and back, original rosewood fingerboard and bridge, original nut and Kluson Deluxe tuners and extremely cool checkerboard binding.
Work done: Face cracks repaired and cleated, bridge removed, cleaned and re-glued, neck re-set, frets leveled, crowned and polished, small veneer patch on upper treble bout, finished cleaned and lightly french polished to restore finish.  Fairly thick neck front to back, but narrow width.  Excellent action with a bright punchy tone, this guitar a was a big hit at the Folk Alliance Midwest Conference.  Comes with a beat up cardboard case.                Price $400.00