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Thread: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

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    Question Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    Louis Sutz was an instrument-maker in Cincinatti in the early 1900s, his specialty was mandolins (I believe). I have an old parlor guitar he made in 1921. It's been rebuilt and has a very nice sound.
    Does anyone know anything about Sutz?
    ...other instruments out there?
    ...market values?

    Any information appreciated.

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    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    I have lived in the Cincinnati area for around 37 years and as a result I have heard the name mentioned.

    My understanding is he was building guitars and violins in the early decades of the 1900's in the area of Cincinnati known as Over the Rhine because of its mostly German population -- today it is a low income/high crime area.

    But 30 years ago you could occasionally still find one of his instruments in the pawn shops.

    In around 1989 I found a classical guitar in one of those shops and bought it for (as I recall) $50 -- its pretty nicely made and sounds good -- I believe it was built by one of his later apprentices by the name of Daniyyel L. Howard jr. (yes that is the right spelling -- it seems like a woman's name? but I don't now any woman that uses "junior" .

    Rumor is Sutz had many students but none stayed very long because he was so demanding that most did not want to work in his shop.

    But I do know a gentleman, a luthier/repairman who knows "just about everything" about insturments and musicians in this area -- next time I see him I'll ask -- never discussed this topic before.

    In fact, I have no proof of any of my information on Sutz other than what I overheard years ago in the comments by a musician who had been playing folk music in this area for a long time and before that her father was playing. It was related in a story she was telling another musican and I happened to be standing there and heard it too.

    I sure did not know that he made any mandolins -- can I ask how you came across that tibit of information? -- that is very interesting to me! Do you know if they were flat backs or bowl backs?
    Bernie
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    www.mugwumps.com has a listing in the Encyclopedia of Stringed Instrument Makers as:

    Sutz, Louis Cincinnati OH circa 1900

    Further information:

    Name: Louis Sutz
    Birth: 17 Jun 1862 - Friedrichsthal, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
    Death: 02 Mar 1942 - Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio

    Post a picture, I've never seen any of his instruments.
    "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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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    I think I might have taken a few pics -- if not I can do so when I get home tonight.

    That information on his birth and death are the first actual written data I've ever seen on him. Where did you find that?

    Also that source say whether or not he made mandolins? If so it might be worth doing a little detective work and see if I can track a few examples down from around the general metro area here.

    If he died in 1942 at 80 years -- perhaps he stopped working in the early to mid-1930's -- just a guess. So if he made mandolins (speculation) he probably was making bowlbacks?

    I will contact a person today and pick his brain -- if he does not know I am doubtful of finding out much more without some kind of more serious research.
    Bernie
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    I'm back, the guy who asked about Louis Sutz...
    Jeez, the feedback comes in fast! thanks to everyone.
    I WILL post a picture of my Sutz guitar -- promise.
    It is the label inside the guitar that states that Sutz made mandolins; I've never seen one, but a google searched turned up an old correspondence (from the '90s?) about a Sutz mandolin.

    I'll be back after the weekend.

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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    Sorry you gave the link I missed that.

    I just talked to Henry Krusse a man who has done luthiery in Cincinnati since the 1970's -- he seems to recall that years ago he worked on a couple of guitars and a mandolin by Sutz -- so looks like he did make mandolins.
    Bernie
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    ...That information on his birth and death are the first actual written data I've ever seen on him. Where did you find that...
    Bernie, if I told you I'd have to kill you.

    I got it in a Google search.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    As I recall there was a mandolinetto by Sutz, sort of ornate, for sale, maybe on eBay a few years back. I will check my files this evening.

    There was a mention of him on this thread.
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    Here is the one Sutz mandolin I have in my files. I may have been mistaken about the mandolinetto.
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    I also found two rather pedestrian-looking bowlbacks.
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    Jim, I am glad you posted as I have been scratching my head certain I had an image of a Sutz flatback. Your link to my earlier post confirm that I did have one apparently at one time.....gone now. For my eye the flatback you posted has a nice body shape to it, somewhat Bohman-esque counter curve. The pick guard shape is unfortunate, however.

    Mick

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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    I found these great photos of a Louis Sutz parlor guitar on what appears to be a Korean blog. I esp like the old label which says "repairing neatly and promptly attended to".

    Here is the link: Louis Sutz Parlor Guitar
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    Very pretty guitar, Jim. I guess if we had to cut down the Brazilian rainforest some of it went to some 'good' use. One of the labels posted says lists--1616 Vine St.--as the location of Sutz's shop. Is that in the city's Over-the-Rhein area? My (German) wife did her post-doc in Cincinnati and always found that name curious. I visited there a couple times and thought it was an interesting city.

    Mick

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    Yes, I was there also many years ago. Not sure what area that was, but I was in the more artsy area. Walking around, I encountered the Rookwood Pottery museum which was quite nice.
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    I found an old pic of the guitar I bought in the Cincinnati pawn shop back in the 1980's. It has been hanging in the basement since then.

    The small label is unreadable the large label says it was made in Cincinnati, Ohio by Daniyyel L. Howard jr --no year given.

    I believe that shortly after I bought it someone in the Famous Old Tyme Music Co. mentioned the link between Howard and Sutz -- again I have no way to verify that unless I run into the owner Vern McIntyre one of these days. He lives in Wapakoneta (home of Neil Armstrong) Ohio now. But I'll ask him about it when I see him later this summer.
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    Bernie
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    The Vine street address is in Over the Rhine.

    I think, Jim, you were probably in Mount Adams -- at the Rookwood Pottery resturant/museum? I guess that might be considered as the edge of OTR. Rookwood has moved and now has several locations around the metro area.

    As noted the name, OTR, came for the fact it was at one time "Little Germany" -- at its zenith, in the years after the Civil war, it was an American Germanic cultural center with German churches, German-American organizations and clubs and there were also an OTR daily newspaper and a magazine published in German. The name Over the Rhine came about because people compared crossing the Erie Canal with crossing over the Rhine River.
    Bernie
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    .....The small label is unreadable the large label says it was made in Cincinnati, Ohio by Daniyyel L. Howard jr --no year given.
    There was a Eugene Howard active as a luthier in Cincinnati around this time period as well. Makes one wonder if Daniyyel and Eugene were related.

    Here is quite a fancy bowl from Eugene H.

    Mick
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    I believe that Eugene Howard was a brand name used by Wurlitzer or else was a maker that Wurlitzer sold.
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    From Mugwumps:

    Howard, Eugene Cincinnati OH c1896-1925

    That doesn't mean that Wurlitzer didn't distribute them.

    Wurlitzer, Howard E. Cincinnati OH 1894
    Wurlitzer, Rudolph Cincinatti OH 1856-1940s
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    To follow up on this I went down to the basement and took the guitar down --its been hang there for quite a few years --had to dust it off a bit!

    Here is a pic of the larger label. Maybe the Wurlitzer then is possibe -- still the name Howard makes it seem likely that this might be a younger relative of Eugene also? Interesting.

    I'm going to try to find something out about Daniyyel L. Howard jr -- but not tonight -- have to change strings yet.
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    Here are some images of my old Sutz guitar. Nice inlay and serious Brazilian Rosewood!
    ...and a thick "triangular neck."
    It has a wonderful full sound (particularly nice low end).

    It has a history (as seen on the labels) -- rebuilt twice.
    In 1943 it was rebuilt by Fritz Hauck in Cincinatti
    In 1981 it was rebuilt agian by Mark Leue in Albany, NY.

    It was pretty bashed up before it was fixed in 1981, and you can see the damage on the lower back (I got it in 1982 from Mark Leue, Heartwood Music, Albany). The top was refinished at this time also, but not the back (I believe). I have always thought it was built ca.1920, but there is no date on the label.
    Can anyone guess a date from the label style?? (I notice Sutz had different label styles).
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    Forget to mention...

    The pegs are not original.
    ...and here's another image of the label.

    Thanks everybody!

    (Mark Leue, if you're out there, HOWDY! Is Heartwood Music still alive?)
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    Hmmmm... Mark Leue... I think I bought a fiddle from him.
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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    ...We're getting further from Louis Sutz...
    Mark Leue (pronounced "LOY-uh" -- the guy I got the Sutz guitar from in 1982), owned Heartwood Music in Albany, NY in the early '80s. He was young, a really nice guy, and starting out in the used instrument/instrument repair/rebuilding business. I was starting out in carpentry/historic restoration, and I traded him a sign for his music store for the Louis Sutz guitar. The guitar was his first major guitar rebuilding project, and the sign was a big, funky custom-made "Art Nuveau" style mahogany/maple-ply/mahogany "sandwich" with a guitar shape built into it, a sound hole that went through the sign, and a neck that stuck out the side; Mark attached a fingerboard, pegs, and strings -- it looked pretty good back then; I wonder if it still exists ...in one piece?)

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    Default Re: Louis Sutz of Cincinatti?

    They don't appear to have a web presence. There's a Heartwood Music in Ukiah, CA.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
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