1930s Larson Brothers Euphonon, Intermediate Dreadnought


Fantastically rare and wonderful sounding Euphonon Dreadnought made by the Larson Brothers, August and Carl in their Chicago workshop. Arguably one of the most sought out vintage flat top guitars, Larson Brothers guitars remain revered for their craftsmanship and contribution to the history of American guitar making.

Born in Sweden and emigrating to Chicago in the late 1880s. The Brothers worked in the city as luthiers for guitar makers before buying Maurer & Company from Robert Maurer in 1900. The Larson Brothers small Chicago workshop turned out a dizzying assortment of well-crafted fretted instruments - guitars, mandolins, the occasional ukulele, and even harp guitars with one commonality, The brothers would never put there name to any instrument, egocentric they were not resulting in a wide collection of instruments built under many brand names, none of them Larson. They would use the name Maurer as well as Prairie State and Euphonon for their own instruments as well as building for many other companies, best known of those is Stahl and Co.

This particular guitar is a Euphonon, the brand name used by the Brothers to replace the Maurer brand in the mid-thirties. A square shoulder Dreadnought in shape in the Martin tradition but built with the Larson’s own innovative designs and techniques. The red Spruce top has the laminated X-bracing and subtly arched "built under tension" design the brothers developed decades prior and perfectly suited to the larger bodied instruments.
The body is 15-5/8th wide and just short of 20” long. The depth is 4-1/2” at the rims. As an intermediate level Euphonon this guitar has a Mahogany back and rims and although tastefully appointed it lacks some of the overly decorative and flashy elements seen on some of the Custom ordered instruments. One visual signature is present though, the large decorative Celluloid pickguard was often a feature of larger Dreadnought and Jumbo Euphonon instruments. Internally the back strip is branded Euphonon and trademark X braces are three-ply laminations with a strip ebony sandwiched between two layers of Spruce. The Mahogany neck has a vaguely Gibson-esque headstock with an un-appointed Rosewood faceplate. The bound Ebony fingerboard has simple pearl dot position markers. Tastefully appointed, the body and neck are bound and the top has a multi-ply purfling mirrored in the bound sound hole rosette.

The guitar is in excellent playing condition showing some fairly minor wear and some well-executed repairs. The neck has been reset and the signature flattened pyramid Bridge is a well-made ebony replacement. There are two cracks to the back and a cleated centre seam. The fingerboard has been planed and re-fretted and the there is a thin lacquer finish over pretty much the entire instrument. The top has a curious filled hole below the bridge. The Waverly fitted tuners are modern replacements. Larson Brothers guitars were working instruments for their owners so it isn’t uncommon to see various repairs and restorations completed over the years, this guitar shows some typical renovation work often completed before they were considered collectable but remains a very fine instrument none-the-less.

The guitar is a fantastic sounding instrument, later period large body Larson guitars with 14-fret necks are generally considered to be the pick of the Larsons production. Dry and bright with the immediacy of a good early D-18 with a clarity and articulation to the voice thanks to the Larsons top and bracing design and. The neck feels quite contemporary with a rounded C profile measuring just under 20 mm at the 1st fret with a 44.5mm nut width. The action is comfortable at 3mm with height on the saddle for adjustment.

Larson Brothers production is thought to be roughly 2500 with at least half of that figure accounted for in mandolins and mandolin family instruments whilst the later Euphonon numbers must surely be counted in tens and hundreds.
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