The Bluesbox Collection

"The Prize" Late 1800's "cowboy" guitar (probably Lyon & Healy)

The body is small, the lower bout only measures 11 1/2" across, although the guitar has a full size (24 1/2") scale. The two-piece, bookmatched face is solid spruce with a rather wide grain. The trim around the sound hole is painted on. The rosewood "pyramid style" bridge with metal saddle is a clue to the dating. The back and sides are cherry-stained maple.

Regardless of what the distributor's stamp says, this appears to be a Lyon & Healy guitar. The unadorned neck appears to have been made on the same jig as my Washburn and the other L&H flat top shown in this collection. Both are turn-of-the-century models. This one looks like it could be older then the other two - maybe 1880's. The tuners are solid brass and have European style riveted gears - possibly indicating that this guitar was built before the rise of the American guitar hardware industry - or the maker simply used imported tuners... This guitar had some pretty severe splits on the back that I had to repair. I also reglued several interior braces and installed a Bridge Doctor. This guitar plays great and has excellent tone. The spruce top and maple body account for the instrument's surprising volume.


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