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Thread: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

  1. #1
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    Default Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    This walked into the shop today. Any ideas of this maker? It is stamped Washington MO. I can't find any reference to the maker but it is incredibly well done. Any help?Value? History? Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Can you decipher the label a bit more? What are the initials before "Schwartz," and what's the word in the middle?

    "Washington" brand parlor guitars were apparently made in Kansas City MO, by John Wesley Jenkins & Sons, but that's probably neither here nor there.
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Franz Schwarzer Washington Mo. 1867-1904 from Michael Holmes' long list.

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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Looks Beautiful.

    How does it sound?
    Alex

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Franz Schwarzer is mostly known for concert zithers. I have a few photo examples of bowlbacks with his label but they bear resemblance to the mandolins of Joseph Bohmann. Altho that article says, "He was also able to experiment with other instruments, especially mandolins and guitars." I wonder if he himself made these instruments. It is possible, tho that the guitar that Gary has might be made by Schwarzer.
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    Jim

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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    The stamp is F.Schwartz
    It reminded me immediately of the Bavarian zithers I've seen(2-3) in museums. The fretboard inlay is the same as the mandolin photo(diamonds/dots). The back and sides are mahogany the top block is American sycamore, the bracing is spruce and I believe the lining is mahogany. It is in perfect condition!!! The neck set is still perfect. I didn't play it but I hope to soon. This is a real gem and obviously very rare. I told the owner that it's too bad his father didn't buy a Martin from the same period but I'm thinking this thing should be insured for????$7500??
    It's very very beautiful and in the hand has an amazing feeling of a time capsule. Thanks for the help.

  7. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Inlays were often bought from suppliers. You often see the same inlay on various makers. Man, just cutting all those pearl pieces would take hours and hours.

    Interesting that the B&S are mahogany. I would think that with such an ornate guitar the B&S would be rosewood. Any clue as to what year it was made. Sometimes there are signatures and info written inside the instruments, under the top for instance.
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Didn't check but I can call the guy for further inspection. I thought it was rosewood at first but realized it's just a dark stain on the exterior. Maybe to mimic rosewood? Well I guess circa 1900 is a safe date to start with. I think this is a museum piece. It's really extraordinary!

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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by testore View Post
    The stamp is F.Schwartz
    If it's the one in the picture it doesn't say that. There is no T and there is an E after the Z. That last letter might be an R, might be a P. I think Jim may have the builder named.
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    I do see a T. The last letter looks like a P. I didn't see that. Hmmmm

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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    http://www.zither.us/?q=schwarzer.zither.king
    Here he is. Now any clues to how many guitars might have survived?

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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    http://www.zither.us/?q=schwarzer.zither.king
    Here he is. Now any clues to how many guitars might have survived?
    F. Schwarzer

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    Registered User Bill Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    It looks like Schwarzer to me as well. The word in the center of the label appears to be ECHO. In googling around I came across a F. Schwarzer ECHO 12 sting, bowlback mandolin. Also see on Mugwumps the company was active from 1867 to 1904.
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Sorry, didn't see that link earlier. Thanks everyone.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    You guys are good...............gorgeous guitar!!

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    The Washington Missouri Historical Museum has a collection of his instruments. They might also have production numbers.

    http://www.washmohistorical.org/

    "Franz Schwarzer, the world's most famous zither maker of the latter half of the 19th century, lived and worked in Washington. By the time the factory closed in the 1920's, over 11,000 Schwarzer instruments had been produced."
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I wonder if he himself made these instruments.
    His factory eventually encompassed an entire city block You have to assume he had employees.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
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  18. #18
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Lots of Schwarzer zithers at the National Music Museum, but none with that exact branding.

    The only thing that comes close is a partial view of the bottom of a similar brand - photo shot thru the soundhole of a violin-shaped bowed zither
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Did I read 10,000 zithers?
    This can't be he only guitar out there but where are they?

  20. #20
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    I did find this "Factory record of instruments sold by the Schwarzer Zither Factory, no. 1001-10855, 1885-1951" at the University of Missouri-KC library. Hopefully you would find this exact guitar listed there.

    BTW it is interesting that Schwarzer factory/shop produced over 11,000 instruments. Many I see are dated after his death so i would imagine they had a moderately large operation.

    BTW I have a simple Schwarzer zither. I don't know how accessible it is at the moment.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by testore View Post
    http://www.zither.us/?q=schwarzer.zither.king
    Here he is. Now any clues to how many guitars might have survived?
    Yes I linked to that article on my post above. (I always emphasize my links with bold and underscore, in case someone misses them.)

    BTW nice little Schwarzer article on the Fretboard Journal site.

    Yet another MC thread on Schwarzer.
    Jim

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  22. #22
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Collective expertise strikes again!!
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
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    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  23. #23

    Default Re: Vintage Schwartz Guitar

    Are all of you guys detectives in real life? Wow!

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