Fraulini was my grandmother Angelina’s maiden name. There were seven sisters in the family and I have named a model after each one of them. My great Aunt Loretta was the baby of the family and is the last surviving sister. She is in her 90’s and doing well. She always gives me a hard time that the model that bears her name is the “cheapest”, but I like to remind her that it is also the most petite and sweetest, which usually gets her to ease up on me a bit. This year I have found myself making a surprising number of Loretta’s, each very unique in their own respect. It started me to thinking that there is quite a bit of variation that can be done with a basic shape. I thought it would be interesting to put up pictures of the three to compare and contrast.
The Loretta is a parlor guitar, modeled after some of the great guitars made in Chicago in the early 1900s. It’s short 24″ scale makes it very nice to play as the strings are slack which gives it a very comfortable feel. The first of this batch is one I’ve written about before, a fairly plain guitar, with a black spruce top, mahogany back and sides. It’s only noticeable trait is the leopard skin pickguard. The plain look really makes the pickguard pop. I’ve been calling this one The Black Widow.
The second of the batch is on the fancier side. The same pickguard shape, with an inlaid mother of pearl flower. The spruce top has a nice multi layered mosaic purfling which I made a while back to match some old Larson brothers purfling, ebony whale tail bridge and fingerboard, diamond fingerboard inlays and rosewood back and sides. I really like the look and sound of this guitar. I’ve been playing it in open G for the past month or so and it’s been fun to listen to it open up.
The final guitar of this batch is a 12 string. This guitar is loaded with inlay, fancy purfling, beautiful tuners and some fine ribbon mahogany. The customer wanted to be able to tune the guitar up to E, with the 24″ scale this works beautifully with a light 12 string set. The guitar sounds great and is a real joy to play. Quite fetching to boot!
So there they are, three of the same, very different guitars built within a few months of each other and each headed off to different points on the globe. Each one is very much one of a kind. All a joy to build.
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