A Bit 'O Ladder Braced Heaven

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A Bit 'O Ladder Braced Heaven

Postby Lo-Fi » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:14 am

I had forgotten about this one but figured it deserved some kind of unveiling. It seems that ladder braced guitars often get a bad rap which I assume is based purely on experiences with Harmony Stellas and the like. But when it is done right, when combined with the right stuff, it can launch you into Guitar Heaven.

This one was done right - a 1957 Silvertone 618 which is pretty much a dressed down version of the Kay K-22 Artist. A spruce topped monster with a 17 1/8" lower bout (put that in your pipe and smoke it Gibson). But that ain't the secret weapon. That would be the guitars incredible 25.9" scale. Yeah, it can be a bit tough on small hands and can really put a neck to the test (which explains why so many of these guitars did not survive or are out there with inky necks). But that long scale turbo charges the top giving the guitar power and volume. It has enough low end rumble to make anybody happy and upper mids and highs that are full and snappy. The Silvertone does have a quick attack which brings an archtop more than a flat top to mind.

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Cool Silvertone wind chimes logo.
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Re: A Bit 'O Ladder Braced Heaven

Postby Joe Sustaire » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:09 pm

What a body!
Very nice, but then I love ladder bracing.

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Re: A Bit 'O Ladder Braced Heaven

Postby gaucho » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:57 pm

Speaking of ladder braced beauties, here's mine. The one on the right is a late 20's Supertone (Sears catalogue). I recently found the one on the left at a swap meet but I can't figure out what it is. No markings anywhere. The distinct features are the very narrow, almost parallel sided headstock, the binding and the extremely V shaped neck. My best guess (based on others I've seen on the inter-webs) is '20-'30's Regal. It's a true parlor size also. The Supertone is the next size up. What is that, concert, 00, or what?

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Re: A Bit 'O Ladder Braced Heaven

Postby ricbleu » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:14 am

Gaucho, I love to see such old and fragile instruments surviving the ravages of time. That LH one looks like someone took some care to make it that little bit better eg the pyramid bridge. Can you see if it has a solid top? And what does she sound like -I daresay she wouldn't rattle the fillings out of your teeth but does she play sweet? :D Peace
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Re: A Bit 'O Ladder Braced Heaven

Postby bottleneckjohn » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:31 am

Hey Lo-Fi!
That's one absolutely wonderful guitar! I love them old ladder braced one's too.
Almost all my non-resonator stuff is played on ladder braced guitars!

Congrats on a cool guitar!
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Re: A Bit 'O Ladder Braced Heaven

Postby Freeman » Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:53 pm

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Re: A Bit 'O Ladder Braced Heaven

Postby Lo-Fi » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:36 pm

gaucho wrote:Speaking of ladder braced beauties, here's mine. The one on the right is a late 20's Supertone (Sears catalogue). I recently found the one on the left at a swap meet but I can't figure out what it is. No markings anywhere. The distinct features are the very narrow, almost parallel sided headstock, the binding and the extremely V shaped neck. My best guess (based on others I've seen on the inter-webs) is '20-'30's Regal. It's a true parlor size also. The Supertone is the next size up. What is that, concert, 00, or what?




I am not sure how consistent it was but I have gotten may hands on quite a few Regals that had an hybrid X bracing - an X brace below the soundhole but then two parrallel braces beneath it.

Concert would be the next step up or an O style. After that Grand Concert (00) and then Auditorium (000 size). The Schmidt-made Stellas were typically concert size guitars.

I have a late 1930s Supertone in the house. Unlike yours, mine as the typical birch top. I originally bought it because it was $30 and I wanted the canvas case. I about fell out of my chair when I first played it and found that the neck was fine. All in all though - it sounds like you would expect a mail order el cheap guitar without a spruce top to - thin and boxy. But it is still a blast to play. And it is definitely cool looking.

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