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Author Topic: Bluebird guitar  (Read 5897 times)

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Offline littledog

  • Member
  • Posts: 11
Bluebird guitar
« on: February 15, 2007, 05:24:04 PM »
Does anyone know anything about Bluebird guitars?
I bought one on Ebay last year. It's a parlour size guitar with 12 frets to the body and is painted plain black, probably to cover the fact that it's made of plywood. I have since seen two more Bluebirds which are also painted black with Hawaiian motifs over the top of this.
I believe also that they were actually made by Oscar Schmidt.
One of these Bluebirds was on sale for $750 (Australian)
They are by no means very high quality but they do make a nice little bluesy sort of sound.
littledog

bighollowtwang

  • Guest
Re: Bluebird guitar
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2007, 07:09:28 PM »
I've seen Bluebird guitars that looked like Oscar Schmidt products, but most of the Bluebird brand stuff appears to have been made by Harmony or Regal.
I'd be willing to bet there's no plywood in these, regardless of manufacturer...no matter how cheap your guitar is, chances are that if it is pre-WWII there's no plywood anywhere.

Here's a Schmidt-made Bluebird:




Bluebird logo from a tenor guitar:



Looks quite different from the Harmony-made Bluebird I saw on ebay recently. From what I've been able to gather, some of these "brand names" were supplied by various manufacturers at different times. For instance, I own a "P.I.M.C.O. Collegiate" made by Oscar Schmidt, but I've seen other guitars with the same brand name which were clearly Harmony products. Same goes for other brands and makers. My late 20s "B&J Serenader" was made by Stromberg-Voisenet, though I've seen cheaper and later B&Js made by Regal and others, as well.

Offline Parlor Picker

  • Member
  • Posts: 1434
  • Aloha
Re: Bluebird guitar
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2007, 01:17:42 AM »
Let's face it, the whole issue of early 20th Century guitars is a minefield.  One model might have been made by different manufacturers.  Some outlets sold the same model under a different name.  The more you look into it, the more confusing it all is: Oscar Schmidt, Lyon & Healy, Harmony, Kay, Stromberg-Voisinet, Regal, etc. etc....

All the more reason to admire the likes of Neil Harpe (www.stellaguitars.com) for sorting things out to some extent.

Nice pictures of the Bluebird, by the way.

Keep the guitar porn coming.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

bighollowtwang

  • Guest
Re: Bluebird guitar
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2007, 07:49:40 AM »
For some really enjoyable guitar porn, check out this site:

http://www.solie.org/earlsguitars

Some of the info isn't 100% accurate, but the photos are drool-inducing and they might help identify some mystery parlor guitars...

Offline onewent

  • Member
  • Posts: 337
  • Mr. So and So
    • vintagebluesguitars.com
Re: Bluebird guitar
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2007, 02:53:20 PM »
..I saw a Bluebird guitar at an auction a few weeks back that was all coming apart, got outbid, which is fine, I have enough $200 guitars that need $1K worth of work ;-)
This Bluebird didn't look OS to me ..

BigHollow..that's a really cool and unusual guitar .. could you enlighten us as to some of the OS elements?  I notice the headstock is the late OS style, and the dot at the 10th is often a hallmark..any other things to look at?


bighollowtwang

  • Guest
Re: Bluebird guitar
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2007, 04:19:54 PM »
BigHollow..that's a really cool and unusual guitar .. could you enlighten us as to some of the OS elements?  I notice the headstock is the late OS style, and the dot at the 10th is often a hallmark..any other things to look at?

OS had a few different headstock shapes over the years, and eventually shifted the 10th fret marker to the conventional 9th fret, sometime in the mid or late 30s. Obviously the top kerfling should be square-cut, that's one thing to look for, as well as the characteristic arched back and angled heel cap (although I've seen lots of variation in heel cap shapes). The body shape can often give some clue as well, after looking at enough of these things you can eventually recognize them. Upper bout is usually rather large compared to body shapes of other manufacturers.
Of course there was a bewildering amount of variation in these guitars over the years, and I hardly have all the info.

For the sake of reference, here are two late 30s OS guitars that I got on ebay.
One has a solid headstock and what appears to be a Harmony-made neck, so it's possible that it was assembled by Harmony with OS parts that they bought up when OS went under. Sold under the obscure "Marciq" name.
The other one (P.I.M.C.O. Collegiate) is nearly identical, but has a conventional OS neck and is quite similar to the Bluebird above. These both came from ebay, $51 for the Marciq, $32 for the Collegiate.
Don't hate me. The sellers were both totally unaware of what they had, one was listed simply as "old guitar" and the other was in the antiques category.



I'm hardly an expert, just a guitar addict.

I think Neil Harpe would be the person to ask for any specific information about OS guitars.

Offline littledog

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  • Posts: 11
Re: Bluebird guitar
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2007, 08:44:05 PM »
Thanks for the response everyone. It sure is easy to open a can of worms!
In reply to bighollowtwang, my "Bluebird" has a dot marker at the tenth fret and the kerfling is square cut. The back is arched and the heel cap is slightly angled.
I have included some photos. Any further comment?
littledog

bighollowtwang

  • Guest
Re: Bluebird guitar
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2007, 08:05:47 AM »
Any further comment?
Looks like an Oscar Schmidt guitar to me. One thing I haven't seen too often is the 10th fret marker on a neck with a solid headstock. Cool looking guitar...how does it sound?

Offline natterjack

  • Member
  • Posts: 88
Re: Bluebird guitar
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2007, 03:32:44 PM »
To me, it looks like a model from the Oscar Schmidt/Harmony transitional period (1939) as it has characteristics of both eras

bighollowtwang

  • Guest
Re: Bluebird guitar
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2007, 01:22:45 PM »
If anyone wants to see what a Harmony-made Bluebird looks like, there's one on ebay right now:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330091832877



Note the distinctive Harmony "wave" or "bump" on the top of the headstock, and the smaller (compared to the OS models pictured above) upper bout proportions.
.
No, I am not the seller, not affiliated with the seller, and for the record I think the price is stupidly high. Might be a fair price for an OS Bluebird, but this is not one of them.

« Last Edit: February 28, 2007, 01:24:03 PM by bighollowtwang »

Offline littledog

  • Member
  • Posts: 11
Re: Bluebird guitar
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2007, 08:51:21 PM »
Finally getting around to replying to Bighollowtwang query about the sound of the Bluebird. I have strung it with D'Addario XL Nickel Wound Electric Strings, .011-.049. I am not sure how to describe the technicalities but the little darlin' really sings! It has good sustain and with an adjustment of the bridge to an odd angle the intonation is also good.The whole tone I would describe as "rich and mellow" No whining tinny high notes and the bass is very strong and earthy. A great sound from such a plain, "basic" looking instrument.
littledog

 


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