SS Stewart taropatch


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Sep 11, 2021
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well as time rolls along i still haven't figured out who made my ss stewart Taropatch. lots of "who didn't" make it but i just can't imagine the work that went into making this instrument with 4 layer binding all around (black, white, black, cream) and only the label of SS Stewart inside. no other id. i've read all about the brand and who made instruments for them but "what the heck", isn't there anyone out there who can recognize its genesis? tapered headstock and ebony fret board. vintage pegs. sometimes when I'm reworking a vintage guitar i can usually track down its beginnings to the parts used but I'm a "zero" with ukuleles. i left it for a while deciding whether to do any work on it. i acquired a "65" Northern (with the maple leaf logo) strat copy. built with the oversize CBC headstock pre bullet. how did i know it was a "65"? the 3 way switch and the pots and caps installed and a little digging on the history. it plays great! As good as my son-in-laws 61 strat? I'd have to take it to Virginnia to compare but i'm not going to do that. Back to the Stewart. I'm making a new nut out of ebony since the fret board is ebony. It's actually my second one because one other i made from a Brazilian hardwood broke. I have one original gut string i might use as a guide or maybe i should just hang on to it as a historical keepsake. At any rate, time to get busy on the bench. What's the worst that can happen?? Merry Christmas and HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL.
Did you ask Jake Wildwood about it? I don't remember if someone suggested this on your other thread.
Did you ask Jake Wildwood about it? I don't remember if someone suggested this on your other thread.
talked to jake on the phone. no definite. just could be. i haven’t seen one like this anywhere. martin is the only one that comes close. when martin started building these for rebranding it doesn’t state that their logo was stamped on it. that’s going back to 1916 ish. and they never made many at that time. so the “nays” haven’t given a reason why it isn’t a martin. i don’t care if it’s not but state the facts or show me another similar. i’m searching for the information. thx
What's the worst that can happen??

If you think it's a Martin; have you talked to them yet?

Personally, I thnk you should fix it up and enjoy it. The worst that can happen is catching UAS...
If you think it's a Martin; have you talked to them yet?

Personally, I thnk you should fix it up and enjoy it. The worst that can happen is catching UAS...
Now that's a great idea, Clear! Ask the Martin people. Of course. I think they'd have the best records of what they made, and what makers they were competing with were producing. You might find what you seek, or you might find that there aren't any definitive answers to your questions.
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i have contacted martin. no response so far. most likely, you are right and i’ll never know who put in the time to make this little gem. i’ve thought about starting work on it but my fellow luthier friend told me not to at this time. at any rate i have a parlor guitar to finish and some inlay on my fretless bass build. i also find at 76 i’m losing focus and enthusiasm for detailed work. i just like playing my guitar. thx for your comments.
Well hello everyone. it's been a ride through sickness and health and right now back to sickness. this too shall pass.

so....i've finished the taropatch. i ditched (but kept the backalite friction tuners) and put on a cheap set which allows me to tune and tightent he string to pitch. i made a new nut which it was missing from bone. i had made a couple others out of ebony and another bone but they both broke. the new one is aged bone which was easier to work with and i had to be more careful with my files. Also i made a new saddle. the old one was so brittle and broken.

i really had to take a lot of time to line up the strings with the edges and the centre dots. when it can be tuned and stay steady, it has a bright tone.

the original finish which i was thinking was shellac like on violins but it might be lacquer. the light coat gives it a good resonance with the wood construction and the convex back. i tune it up to pitch then set it in the case to gradually stretch out.

the tapered headstock was a concern when installing the tuners. i had to put a damper under all 8 to protect the integrity of the wood but also on the last 4 i needed double dampers to make up the thichness needed for the tuners.

NOW, i had been thinking of keeping it and changing the tuners to the geared ones but i would have to ream out the peg hole. not there yet in my mind and the expense is about $150. my wife wanted me to buy a Washburn uke the other day but i thought why would i spend the money if i have a really nice one. i saw many nice ukes on the wall but lately i'm not willing to part with my cash since selling instruments these days is a lot harder than before covid. once covid came i shut down my guitar repair business and told all my clients i was done. buy and sell petered out.

i still go out looking for deals but rarely find any in my area. gone are the days of picking up a Harmony Rocket or SS Stewart archtop. i should have been a collector. i would have had hundreds sitting in every closet in my home covered in dust.

so, long sad story done. so is the taropatch. as a matter of fact, i'll drag my sorry ass in my work room and tune it up again. it's hard to hold and i'm not putting in a strap button. i need to cut off a sleeve from a sweater so i don't get arm sweat on the finish. pain polishing it, especially with spit.

all the best to you all !!
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