Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Serenader from B&J New York

Alas, the auction for this probably 1930s-era Serenader guitar by B&J New York has already finished. Ren Kay tried to post this on the Guitarz Facebook page, but Facebook - for its own mysterious reasons - moved this into the "spam" list where I didn't find it until the auction was well and truly over.

Serenader was a brandname of B&J New York distributors, B&J standing for Buegeleisen and Jacobson who started business around 1897 in New York city. Their guitars came from a variety of sources, which included the manufacturers Harmony, Kay and Hagström. I'm pretty certain that the guitar we are looking at is a Kay.

The auction listing doesn't tell us much about this particular model other than to describe its physical condition:
Six stringed guitar, gold glittered pick guard.
The finish is worn at the base of the guitar.
Visible markings to this area as well.
The wood is a very nice rich brown in color.
Uncertain of the wood used. There are two areas

where the edges are chipped, black and white pos. celluloid edging.
There is a neck pull to the guitar, no visible splits in the body.
There are nineteen frets in total, I see a few deep scratches in the wood.
The steel bar at the side has one missing screw.
This guitar was likely made sometime in the 1930s though sort of hard to pinpoint.
The guitar measures approx. 36.5" L X 13.5" W.
That "steel bar at the side" would appear to be a Teisco (or similar) gold foil pickup. Yep, someone has had a go at electrifying this old (not quite antique) guitar. Witness also two pots - without knobs - and an output jack behind the guitar's bridge. But... What's the deal with the weird location of the pickup? Shouldn't it be under the strings? My guess is that the pickup is so microphonic that it works just about anywhere.

G L Wilson

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