The Bluesbox Collection

Bay State Parlor Guitar (c.1890)

This fine little instrument was purchased on eBay for a pittance. This close-up of the face shows the solid spruce top and the ebony, pyramid-style bridge which has been shaved down over the years to become almost flat. I guess we'll never know what happened to the finish around and below the bridge. It appears to have been dissolved by something, then someone tried unsuccessfully to reapply the orange color of the original finish. The back and sides are solid, bookmatched Brazilian rosewood. The neck is one-piece mahogany with a pronounced "V" profile. The peg head is unfaced, stubbier then similar Lyon & Healy models and has unusually wide tuner slots.

Bay State was a brand name for guitars manufactured from 1865 until about 1897 by the John C. Haynes Co. of Boston, MA, a maufacturing arm of the Oliver Ditson Co. - a vast sheet music publishing firm. Ditson was the parent company of Chicago's Lyon & Healy, which was the parent company of the Washburn brand. Bay State tended to go a bit further then some manufacturers to be sure that everyone knew who made the guitar. On this one we not only find a paper label bearing voluminous information under the sound hole, but there is also this manufacturer's stamp on the back of the head.

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