Washburn Style B Grand Concert Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, made by Lyon & Healy (1922)

Washburn Style B Grand Concert Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, made by Lyon & Healy  (1922)

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Item # 8318
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Washburn Style B Grand Concert Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, made by Lyon & Healy (1922), made in Chicago, serial # 199, natural lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck; spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.

This lovely and elegant guitar is a most distinctive product of Chicago's Lyon & Healy factory, and carries their premium Washburn brand. In the early 1920s the long-successful Washburn brand did an aesthetic about-face; previously their guitars had been known for having very elaborate inlay and decoration, but the completely new 1922 line was suddenly sleek and mostly unadorned with a very timely early Deco look. The Style "B" was the second model down the line and features a laminated Brazilian rosewood body, a mahogany neck with a solid ebony fingerboard, and a fine grained spruce top.

The decorative appointments are subtle but distinctive; the headstock and fingerboard are bound in white celluloid, the body edges (top 7 side) bound in 3-ply celluloid with a dark outer edge. The elegantly carved curved "smile" bridge is a unique novel feature introduced with this new Washburn line, as is the grained ivoroid ring set around the sound hole edge in place of any conventional inlay. The spruce top is very lightly built with quite delicate X-bracing, which Lyon & Healey used only on the top models of this period.

Despite its relatively austere appearance, the next-to-top-of-the-line Style B was a very expensive guitar in its time, retailing at $92. This was directly comparable to C. F. Martin's prices -- indeed, that amount would also have secured a similar Martin. In addition, this Style B is the larger Grand Concert model with a body 14" wide at the lower bout, which was listed as available on special order only in 1922-3.

This rare guitar is very well-made of high quality materials; as with period Martins, it was intended for gut strings originally, but performs well with modern silk & steel stringing. This is a very delicate and responsive guitar, quite suitable for fingerpicking styles and offering a surprising volume when strummed.
 
Overall length is 38 in. (96.5 cm.), 14 in. (35.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 15/16 in. (10 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 1/2 in. (622 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This guitar is in nicely original condition but shows some moderately heavy wear overall. It has recently been restored to excellent playing condition with a neck set, period correct refret, and fingerboard rebind. There is general wear to the finish all over the guitar, with the most severe being some considerable pickwear to the top below the strings and some scrapes behind the bridge. The back of the neck is somewhat worn as well, mostly along the spine and then headstock edges.

The guitar has remarkably little in the way of cracks, only a couple of small grain splits on the treble side and a center crack repair to the "smile" bridge so well-executed it is nearly invisible. This is a very fine-playing rosewood X-braced guitar with a sweet and resonant sound; an unusual and lovely example of a 1920s period piece that we rarely see. Very Good + Condition.