This charming little guitar came into the workshop recently. The tightly arched back had come away from the linings in a couple of places at the edges of the upper bout and needed re-gluing. I also made a new saddle to replace the existing poorly-fitting piece of plastic and fitted a set of new strings. Otherwise, the guitar was in remarkably good condition for its age.
The label inside the guitar attributes it to Adolf Kessler junior of Markneukirchen, where it was probably made in the last part of the 19th century.
The Musical Instrument Museum in Markneukirchen has an on-line forum where I discovered that Adolf Kessler had founded a mail order business there in 1886, selling guitars and violins. I guess Kessler was a business man who marketed instruments made by some of the many craftsmen working in the town at the time. There’s a short BBC film about Markneukirchen and its 400 year history as a centre of musical instrument manufacture here.
The rosette is made from decorative shapes of mother of pearl set into mastic.
The ribs and back are of plain wood, perhaps maple, with a painted faux grain pattern under the varnish.
The ebonised bridge is neatly carved into fleurs de lys at the ends, although the bass side has sustained some damage.
The headstock carries Stauffer style tuning machines.
Altogether an attractive little instrument – and I’m pleased to think that it is ready to make music again.