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Thread: Harwood mandolins and guitars

  1. #26

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    That's a fancy Harwood. Think that's Brazilian? Mandolinettos look neat, never played one. Much better than the whirly-gig mando that same seller had.

  2. #27
    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Yeah - that looks like Brazilian to me. Very cool little instrument. I'd sure like to find one in better shape.

    Bob

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    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    So, do you agree these might all be Harwoods? That sure looks like the inlay block to me, unless they're all funny tricks of light.
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  4. #29

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    Maybe they got a bulk discount? They must be all by one maker, but more than one maker at the time was probably doing that block inlay. My father's Mastertone banjo does.

  5. #30
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    I have found a few random guitars by big name makers such as Epiphone that had a white block inlay at the end of the fretboard, but they were not made during the Harwood era we're looking at. At that time, the guitars that appear most similar are the Dyer-J.F. Stetson-Lyon and Healy guitars and the Mauer (Larson) guitars. None of them have the block inlay. The Harwood appears to have used the white block throughout the entire line. I think the guitars in delsbrother's photo must be Harwoods.

    Bob

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    Great topic. I am asked almost monthly about the Harwood brand...and I never have an answer!
    Clearly, the "New York" stamp means that someone/some factory in NY built them for Jenkins - or is it a marketing gimmick?!
    No one knows who/where. I cannot believe that the evidence isn't there or will turn up at any moment.
    Robert would be in the best position to help us. The biz was sold? What happened next? Are all files long gone?
    As stated on my page, the brand lasted for "30 years" - but if we include Mugwumps' 1885, then it's really 45 years!
    Darrell - you have (as always) a good eye regarding those white rectangles on the Payne group's parlor guitars. The task now is to determine if any other builders/firms used a similar marker. Here's a new photo of the Payne School with a couple duplicate members (courtesy of pal Paul Ruppa, and not yet up on HG.net): http://www.harpguitars.net/iconograp...ool2-ruppa.jpg
    Strange that/if piles of NY-built instruments for a Midwest firm ended up in Washington state!
    Bob - I sold this "diamond in the rough" HG in December on eBay:
    http://www.harpguitarmusic.com/listi...wood-11-07.htm
    Funny thing is the buyer paid for it, but never sent his address or followed up afterwards...it is still here, and no email responses...anyone know my "statute of limitations" before I re-offer it?

  7. #32
    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Gregg - great photo. It is rather strange that so little is known about the true origin of the Harwoods. I will talk to my dad and see if perhaps he has some old documents stashed away. I found some old clippings from the Kansas City Star from the 1920's that mention the mail order business and also that they employed a hundred instrument repairmen who worked in the building on Walnut street - in addition to the piano repair/refurb shop which was located in the warehouse at 20th and Wyandotte.

    In an off list message to bg, I said that the main building at 1217 Walnut was torn down to build the parking garage for the AT&T Pavilion, although the art deco facade was retained. The warehouse was also recently torn down due to pcb contamination from leaking transformers that were stored there post Jenkins. It was actually an EPA hazardous site.
    So I guess the short answer is yes, the records are probably long gone.

    And Gregg - geez, I knew I forgot something. You can send that harp guitar to me.

    Bob




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    Bob -- Are Jenkins Music stores still active under the new ownership?
    Any chance the company stashed records in the limestone storage caves around here and forgot about them?

    bg

  9. #34
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    The last iteration of what was called Jenkins Music is now owned by and called Schmitt Music headquartered in Minneapolis. I'll talk to my dad soon and see if he has any ideas as to where any old records might be stored. It's a long shot since he sold the company in '72.

    Bob

  10. #35
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    Wow, great picture, Gregg! Obviously more Harwood inlay blocks in that shot - and what's that thing in the front row, left (held by the small girl)? A laud?

    Anyway, it seems likely that Payne's school had some kind of sponsorship relation with Harwood, similar to what Gibson had with its teachers, i.e. in order to take the classes you had to order an instrument. But can you imagine how someone in say, LA would get a Harwood shipped to them from NY in the 1890s?

    I did some digging through the LA Times Archive and found evidence of Harwood Guitar and/or Mandolin Clubs in LA from 1895 through 1898. No specific mention of Payne with these groups, however.

    Separate searches for Payne bring up several mentions of mandolinists - LESTER Payne is leading guitar and mandolin in clubs in Redlands as early as 1892, and as late as 1898. He was also in the Salvation Army, leading a group of mandolinists there. He's often referred to in stories as "Professor Payne," or as the leader of the "Guitar and Mandolin Club." Would that necessarily be the HARWOOD Guitar and Mandolin Club? Judging by the CSUN link provided earlier, it would seem so.

    From the mid-teens to the '30s a "Lester Payne" was also a celebrated poultry farmer and State Fair Judge, specializing in Rhode Island Reds. In fact the State Fair Trophy for this breed is named after him! He evidently pioneered many new techniques in poultry farming. Could he be the same guy who was teaching guitar and mandolin in the 1890s-1900s? They lived in roughly the same area (Riverside County, CA). Is this guy playing Harwoods to the chickens?

    Interestingly, in 1923, ARTHUR Payne is playing mandolin on KHJ radio in LA (same year Knutsen played). Could he be related to Lester Payne? A son or a brother? There are several other mentions of Arthur Paynes, but none of them appear to be musicians.




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    There's a Harwood community in Vernon County south of KC, used to be a country store hamlet. Don't know if the Jenkins family would have had kin there and used it on the guitar names?

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    bg - I've done a little research on this too. The founder of Jenkins Music Co., John Woodward Jenkins, came to the Kansas City area from Chicago/northern Illinois. At one time, the company sold an "Elburn" brand piano, probably named after Elburn, Illinois, just west of Chicago. There is also a town called Harwood Heights in the same area, although the town was not incorporated until the 1950's. According to its web site, they don't really know where the name came from. Perhaps there was an old community called Harwood there back in the 1800's.

    Bob

  13. #38
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    I did some archaeology in my music room and found (finally!) a few of the mandolin pages from a 1926 Jenkins catalog B, #14. here are the two Harwood mandolins. The photos of the one I posted previously in this thread resemble model B730.



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    Jim

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  14. #39
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    Neat ad! Lessee, 1926-38 = 1888.

    More than enough time for something that was "immediately famous" to make it to the West Coast in time for Payne's clubs in the 1890-1900s!

    Can't quite make out what's written in the little triangle logo? Looks like the bottom reads "Harwood"? Curious lack of inlay blocks on these.

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    Jim - thanks for the catalog scan. Here's a photo from the inside of the bandurria on e-bay that shows the triangle. The bandurria does have the white block inlay.

    I talked to my dad yesterday, and now I have him all fired up to go digging through his old Jenkins memorabilia. Maybe something will turn up. He recalled seeing a photo of the Harwood shop years ago.
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  16. #41
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    This may be a rash assertion on my part, but it appears that the early Harwoods had the block inlay with the "HARWOOD" logo, and that there was no Harwood logo on the headstock. Later Harwoods had no block inlay, but did have "HARWOOD" on the headstock.

  17. #42
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    I found this posting here:

    guitar seminars

    Bob...On the subject of your Harwood Stella 12-string. I have seen quite a few 6-string Harwood guitars but never a 12-string. That is intriquing! I would really like to see this guitar.

    Back in the early 20th Century, there was a short-lived spurt of American 12-string making. Undoubtedly, more Stellas and Sovereigns were produced by Schmidt than all the other makers combined. But Lyon & Healy, Vega, Weymann, Holzapfel & Beitel, Harmony, Regal, Tonk (and apparently Harwood) all produced 12-strings. Additionally...Galiano, Bruno, Carl Fischer and several other distributers purchased instruments from Schmidt, Regal, etc. and put their own labels in them.

    Only recently, I had a really big bodied Harwood guitar. It was a monster...around 16.5 inches across. But it did not have a long scale...25 inch scale as I recall. Anyhow, I can say without reservation that neither it nor any of the Harwood guitars I have ever seen were made by Schmidt. That is not to say that the one you have wasn't, mind you. That plant in Jersey City was making instruments and selling them to all manor of distributers. Harwood was a house brand for a distributer (or was it a retailer?). Now I must rely on memory (I actually have some notes on Harwood guitars somewhere, but forget trying to find 'em!). As I recollect, they were located some place in the mid-section of the country, maybe Ohio, Indiana, etc....? Often, these operations purchased their guitars from one or two of the larger makers, such as Schmidt, Regal, Kay, and so forth. However, none of the Harwoods I have seen had obvious earmarks indicating having been built by one of the "usual suspects". They had certain individual build qualities of their own. This leads me to believe that maybe they were really made by "Harwood" (or at least made to specific "Harwood standards"). From what I have been able to gather, Harwood guitars were pretty early...made in the teens or perhaps earlier. I doubt if your Harwood was made any later than 1925.

    Wow! A Harwood 12-string...this is really fascinating!

    NH

    http://www.guitarseminars.com/ubb/Fo...ML/007036.html

    Another clue pointing to the Harwoods having been made by Jenkins?

    Bob

  18. #43
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    As far as the earlier Harwood mandolins, I would agree that they don't have the usual earmarks of known makers, however later ones I have seen and other mandolins pictured in the 1926 catalog pages I have resemble the American Conservatory line from Lyon & Healy.
    Jim

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  19. #44
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    Is this the one you sold, Jim?




    How did it compare to similar makers' flatbacks - Martin's, Larsons', etc.?




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    Bob -- Did Jenkins have stores in other towns in the Midwest besides KC, back in the day?
    Joplin, Springfield, Topeka?

  21. #46
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    I'll have to get the chronology, but they had stores in Topeka, Salina, and Wichita in Kansas, a store in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and stores in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma. They also had stores in Joplin and Springfield, Missouri. There were also piano and organ stores in Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas, and Roswell, N.M.

  22. #47

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    Hi all,
    I have a Harwood guitar with the New York logo. I'm not sure how old it is but it looks like it's from the early 1900's. It's a parlor size guitar with Brazilian Rosewood on the back and sides and it has the serial number stamped on the end of the headstock. It sounds really great but since I have three other guitars that I play a lot and this one I don't play at all I'm trying to sell it but don't know what they are worth.
    I've heard of these guitars before but never saw one until I got this one. I work at a small music store in Northern Cal. and when this came through I couldn't resist. Pretty cool instrument. The intonation is a little hard to dial in though. Someone changed the bridge (at least from the pictures I've seen of these guitars) so the saddle is really wide. I got it as good as it can get but there are still some slight problems.
    Here's some pics if you're interested. http://carneyscorner.com/harwoodpics.html
    Anyway, that's all from me.
    LiamO

  23. #48
    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Very nice rosewood on that one. More information for the database: "Harwood New York" stamped on back of headstock and a serial number on the end of the headstock. Also has the white block inlay on the fretboard. I wonder if there is any significance in the way the serial number is configured - with the "2" located above the "8575". 1902?

    Thanks for the pics Liam. I don't know what it's worth. The one in Denver in a previous post was fairly ornate, but had a replaced top and non-original bridge. They were asking $950.

    Bob

  24. #49

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    Hi Bob,
    I haven't had a chance to read all the posts but I'm wondering if this link has come up.
    http://www.frets.com/FretsPa....od.html
    How do these guitars compare to the Martins of the same era and style. Mine has a great sound to it. Really big and open but nice and smooth as well. I hate to get rid of it but since I'm not a collector and live in a small space I need the room.
    Take care,
    LiamO

  25. #50
    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Liam - I wish I could answer your question. For now, we'll have to take frets.com's word for it. As I mentioned before, they only Harwood I've ever seen in person was in bad shape and had no strings on it.

    George Gruhn and Walter Carter have a Q&A column every month in Vintage Guitar Magazine. You might get some answers that way as far as build quality and tone compared to the old Martins. You can e-mail questions to:

    vguitar@vguitar.com

    George Gruhn does appraisals for $50.00 - here's the link:

    gruhn appraisal

    Vintage Guitar also has free classifieds on its website:
    vintage guitar

    If you're a subscriber, you can also get free classifieds in the magazine.

    Bob

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