Chase Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, made by Lyon & Healy, c. 1910, made in Chicago, serial # 1287, natural varnish finish, mahogany back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, black hard shell case. This simple but nicely made little guitar is almost certainly a product of Chicago's Lyon & Healy factory, although it does not carry any of their known brand names. It is marked "Chase" with a flourish on the backstrip, a brand we have seen on other similar period instruments. In the 1910s Washburn was Lyon & Healy's premium brand was Washburn, but they made and sold guitars under a variety of other names as well as building instruments on contract for re-sellers. The "Chase" brand is fairly obscure, but we have seen other instruments from this period so marked that also appear to be a product of the L & H Chicago factory. This is a neat little guitar sized between "Standard' and Concert" in Lyon & Healy parlance with a 12 3/4" lower bout. The body is made of mahogany with a nice fairly tight grained spruce top. The neck is either lighter grained mahogany or Spanish Cedar, the same wood Martin used in this period with an ebony fingerboard. It is fairly chunky in profile with a deep but soft "V", without the sharp spine found on many period guitars. The thin ebony bridge is a typical L&H style with flat pyramid ends. The tuners are a specific rather delicate style with riveted gears used only by Lyon & Healy in the 1910s. The top is bound in ivory celluloid with discreet herringbone and colored wood trim, the back single bound with a zipper backstrip and the sound hole has multiple wood ring inlay. It is built with canted ladder bracing, a Chicago trademark from the 1910s and 20s. This guitar's bracing is unusually minimal; there is one fairly heavy angled brace just behind the soundhole, and a hefty one under the fingerboard and that's it. There is a slim wide maple bridgeplate but no other bracing at all; they are not missing, they were never there! Amazingly the top has stayed in very good shape for well over 100 years. Even considering the somewhat eccentric minimalist construction this is very well-made instrument and an excellent player. Unsurprisingly it is a very responsive guitar with a surprisingly powerful sound, quite suitable for fingerpicking styles and beyond. This Chase guitar is slightly unconventional perhaps but very nice instrument of the period with a lot of sound to offer.Overall length is 37 in. (94 cm.), 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 1/16 in. (10.3 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 1/4 in. (616 mm.). Width of nut is 1 13/16 in. (46 mm.). Overall this is nicely preserved and original guitar, showing only fairly minor wear and tear for being just about 110 years old. The finish has dings, dents and scrapes overall and some fairly minor pickwear to the top. Structurally the instrument is in very fine condition; considering the brevity of bracing the top is in excellent shape with only very minor arching behind the bridge. There are two sealed back cracks, the one on the treble side not lined up neatly but solid. The top remains amazingly crack free. The neck has been reset; the original bridge was reglued and lowered at some point but this was a fairly artful job preserving the original contours. Internally the guitar remains unaltered, and the original tuners still work well. The frets have been recently polished with no subsequent wear. Due to the very light construction we would recommend this guitar be used with silk & steel strings only; strung this way it has a lovely sound that can get surprisingly powerful if pushed. This is a neat 1910s piece, a bit of a mystery guitar that has been used but not abused and is ready for another century, resting in a modern HSC. Overall Excellent - Condition.

Listed3 days ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.learn more
  • Chase
  • Natural Varnish
  • 1910

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Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Brooklyn, NY, United States
Joined Reverb:2015

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