I was recently gifted this parlor guitar after Juel Ulvin passed away.  The neck is off, the fingerboard is mostly missing, there is a  replacement bridge on the guitar.  It has some very interesting features, however.  Old bone buttoned brass tuners which appear to be original.  No head plate, what's left of the fingerboard shows it to be an ebonized wood and deteriorated.  The scale length is 23 7/8, one single, transverse ladder brace. The neck might be Spanish Cedar, but not poplar.  There is an ebony cap on the heel and the dove tail was wrapped in a thin muslin, which I also believe to be original.

The top is clearly spruce with a very tight, fine rain, the back and sides are somewhat of a mystery.  At first I assumed it was birch, but when I wiped it down, the grain was quite unique. It has a strong cross hatching, almost like sycamore or lace wood.  There is a brand stamped into the back, but I can only make out some of it.  It's a long, octagonal box and I can make out the following letters stamped into the wood:  MARO _ _ TTE.  Looking at the pics and playing with contrasts, I could see a bit more.  the top line says "THE" the bottom line might say "MAROSETTE."

I'd to get any thoughts or info folks can share!  I'll add more pics in the next post.

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The tuners are old, surely before 1900, maybe late 1800s. The bridge is from the 1960s. The fretboard from ebonized wood and can't be saved. Other than that, USA made.

With some good work put into it, this will be a nice sounding parlor. Make sure to use the same glue and lacquer as the original, and don't overdo the restoration. Don't take away the soul of the guitar by sanding it and making it look like new.

Thanks for the reply.  Yes, I agree with the age of the tuners. At first glance, they seem older than the guitar itself.  I haven't pulled them yet, but they do appear to be original.  I did pull the bridge and as I suspected, it originally had a fixed pin through the top bridge,  7/7"  X 5 1/2" in size.  

My plan is to remove the back to repair the top and back splits and examine the single transverse brace, etc.  This may well be a good candidate for an X brace conversion.  I've done a number of these based on a Washburn 1897 Style New Model I restored that was originally X braced.  I usually do this on guitars that are in bad condition or of no great collectable value.  And as you suggest, I use hot hide glue or fish glue depending on the job at hand and length of working time I need and do finish repairs with French Polish. 

Also, I've been able to figure out the stamp on the inside.  It reads THE MARQUETTE. 


Thanks very much for the reply. I had seen the first Reverb listing, but the others were new to me. The you tube video confirmed my suspicion that this was sycamore wood back and sides.  

I'd be curious to see what you do for a modified ladder brace.  I'm not set in X bracing this, but unless I use nylon strings, I'd have to beef up the bracing to make it playable.

Check out my site, there you have many slides of restorations showing my special and preferred ladder bracing variant (and more!) :-)

Wow, Roger!  Beautiful work.  You've got me pondering, now.  I can see where your bracing would add a lot of strength. Once I pull the back, I'll look closer at what's there and see which way I'll go.  I do like to keep things as close to the original as possible.  This would be a good candidate to explore enhanced ladder bracing.

I'm just beginning the restoration on a Washburn 1897 Style New Model 111 and I was thinking I'd X brace it.  Spruce and rosewood. There is only one transverse brace and, as I recall, not even a bridge plate.  That might be worthy.

Thanks for stopping by :-)

As for ladder versus X-bracing. My opinion is that ladder bracing gives the guitar another tonal landscape, and a better one for my personal taste. Ladder bracing gives more variation to the tone, more delicate trebles and longer sustain, a more even and not as bass heavy sound. To put it simply, I usually get bored with an X-bracing and can play for hours on a ladder bracing just longing to hear the sound of the next chord.

The one big drawback with ladder bracing is that it's much weaker than the X. Forget standard 0.12 or 0.13 strings, a ladder bracing that can take that kind of tension will be so strong and heavy that the guitar will be choked - they tried that in the 1930s. The same goes with big guitars, they need a strong X-bracing. BUT, ladder bracing in a small OM or parlor guitar will be strong enough for 0.11 strings done right, and you will get the best possible sound from it. An X- bracing in a small parlor must also be very, very weak not to choke the guitar, weaker than most commercial makers make them and most makers dare to make them.

I have developed a whole system of details to make the top as strong as possible without choking it. I have also found a couple of unusual ways to tame the volume and shrill from the two unwound strings and increase the volume and string separation overall. Right now, you can read the article I wrote about these special things for the American Lutherie here.

If you go "the whole way" testing my methods I would be very happy to hear how it turned out, I bet it will be amazing ;-)

The bracing I use makes the parlor strong enough for regular 0.11 strings. I use Newtone Heritage 0.12 low tension strings, they have the same tension as a regular 0.11 set. I love the sound of the Newtones and the softer feel and thicker strings compared to a regular 0.11 set.

Here's what I have when I open up the Washburn 111 (1897 Style New Model, probably from between 1897 and 1900)  I'd be curious to learn how you might approach this one...


Off with the old bracing and in with the new! These braces are rough and square cut. Either cheaply done or later replaced, the strange block under the fretboard can't be original... if so, badly done.

Actually, the braces are all original. This clearly was the first time the guitar was opened up. Washburn seems to have made different levels of quality.  This being an early 111, their entry level instrument, it has thick, crude braces as you see. Some were more finely made and rounded off.   The block under the fretboard is also original.  These early Washburns frequently had a steel bar in the neck (this one does).   These were early pre-cursors for truss rods and were quite effective.  The original Washburn 145 I restored years ago, the X braced one, also had this feature.

I'll go back and study the images on your web site and see how best to emulate that here.   Usually, I'd thin the braces on the back to remove excess material but retain strength.   Not sure about the top, though.  Probably re-build it off a modified version of what you've been doing.



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