Herbert Wurlitzer 17“ Jazz, mid fifties

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Instrument: Herbert Wurlitzer, master violin and guitar maker, opened his own workshop in... more
Product information Herbert Wurlitzer 17“ Jazz, mid fifties

Herbert Wurlitzer, master violin and guitar maker, opened his own workshop in Erlbach near Markneukirchen in the Vogtland region in 1953. He completed his training with Oswald Bachmann (Osbama guitars). His instruments are always masterfully crafted and very elegant. As a special feature, one often finds a Rellogg pickup built by Willi Goller hidden in the end of the neck, as is the case with our model. The narrow neck is seamlessly bolted together using the Stauffer-Legnani system. The guitar is a large 17" model, but narrow and almost a thinline. It dates back to about the mid-fifties.

Solid hand carved spruce top, also the beautifully flamed maple back is solid and hand carved. Both parts have the typical German Carve shape with the recurve around the edges. The sides are also made of maple. Up to five-ply binding around body, soundholes, neck and headstock. The neck is elaborately crafted from one piece including the headstock, it has seven layers and consists of strips of beech, maple and spruce. With its total of seven glued joints, it is very stiff and resistant to bending. The bridge is made of ebony, the headstock front also has an ebony facing. On top of it as a decorative element two glued-on celluloid strips, Wurlitzer often did it that way. Typical are also the six triangular inlays at the edge of the fingerboard. The celluloid pickguard has the typical kidney shape of the fifties. Open, high-quality, hand-built tuners and the typical nickel-plated tailpiece complete the guitar.

Instruments history:
Unknown. We acquired the guitar with some others from an estate. It was unfortunately quite battered, partly the body was out of glue, various joints spackled, the varnish very badly damaged and peeling. The pickup was not connected, instead of a jack there was a big hole. The neck was glued in crooked, the string action unplayable. A broken, modern compensator bridge served as bridge, the tuners were also cheapest, modern Far East spare parts. But of course we didn't think twice, because a real Wurlitzer simply has to be restored.

Restoration work:
First, we removed all the filler and glued the body back together properly. Since the light brown original finish was beyond salvage, we completely stripped the guitar, sanded it, and then painstakingly rebuilt it with polishing lacquer. We sanded the back of the neck to remove various deep scratches and capo marks. Transparent polishing lacquer was used here as well. The neck foot and the neck shoe have been straightened so that the fit is perfect again. We added matching tuners and a bridge from the fifties from our stock. The non-original, but contemporary, beautiful kidney pickguard was refurbished. The Rellogg pickup is now reconnected to a new standard jack and works perfectly. Fingerboard and frets were stripped and oiled, or polished, and the original tailpiece was polished as well. In the end, new strings were put on and a setup was performed - and the restoration, which took several weeks, was complete.

Current condition:
First of all, the magnificent appearance of the guitar - it has become a blond dream, very elegant and filigree, the light woods dominate in perfect coordination with the dark details and the striking kidney pickguard. The construction is real Vogtland craftsmanship and qualitatively at the highest level. After restoration, the condition is practically mint with no flaws. The guitar is odorless and sparkling clean. Everything works perfectly, right down to the as-new tuners. Thanks to the low string action and flat neck angle, the guitar plays as easy as can be. However, you should not have too thick fingers with the narrow neck. Fretboard and fretsticks are flawless. The sound is already acoustically beautiful, balanced, woody and harmonious. The old but great Rellogg picks up the soft, warm tone perfectly, and the guitar asks for demanding chord changes. Of course, you can also go in the more rocky direction with it, and even Oberkrainer chords and rhythm playing succeed perfectly. In its almost flawless condition, a wonderful collector's item, but also the very first choice for guitarists who are looking for an extension of their instrument spectrum.

Overall length 42.1”/107 cm; body length 20.9”/53 cm; lower bout width 16.9”/43 cm; waist width 10.2”/26 cm; upper bout width 12.4”/31,5 cm; body depth 2.7”/7 cm; scale length 25.2”/64 cm (zero fret to saddle); fingerboard width 1.6”/3,9 cm at nut, 2”/4,9 cm at 12th fret; overall weight 2.300 g, string action on 12th fret 0.08”/2 mm (adjustable).

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