Schmidt ‘Bruno’ Jumbo 12-String ca 1913
Oscar Schmidt 'Bruno' 12-String Jumbo ca 1913 | $6850 | Vintage Blues Guitars is thrilled to offer yet another vintage 12-string! This one was made in the Schmidt factory around 1913, based on an almost exact example listed in a Bruno catalog dated 1912-1913. C. Bruno & Sons Inc. NY was a 'jobber' who had guitars made by others, and sold them under the Bruno label. This particular example is auditorium size (jumbo), and sports the high end features found on the iconic 'Leadbelly' example.
The top is Adirondack spruce and is bound in white celluloid and fancy marquetry, as is the sound hole. Back and sides are mahogany, with the back bound in white celluloid, and fancy marquetry inlaid down the center back seam. The Brazilian bridge is 'fixed', typical of many OS-made 12-strings and the strings attach to the original metal tailpiece. The neck is mahogany and is carved in a very soft 'V', almost 'C' shape, and is in our experience the most comfortable vintage 12-string neck we've played. The fingerboard is likely rosewood, and the head stock is overlaid in Brazilian rosewood. Surprisingly, and lucky for us today, the jumbo is all original but for the saddle! ...tuners, tail piece, bridge and nut all intact.
The body measures 15 3/4" across at the lower bout, and the scale length is 26 1/2" The neck measures 2" across at the nut, and string spacing is 2 5/16" at the saddle.
The guitars retains a bit of quaint repair history. Pasted inside is the business card of a York, PA violin maker, on which is written 'Repaired 1936'. We assume this was a repair to the head stock, where an old but stable crack is evident. Recently, the neck was reset, a top crack and cracks along the finger board extension, and several back cracks were glued and cleated. Long cracks along the side radiating out from the heel were glued and cleated, and a bolt was removed from the heel. A new cross brace was added above the sound hole. The frets and fingerboard show some play wear, four rhinestones removed at the eighth fret, and the head stock had a small divot filled where we suspect a 'Bruno' logo was inlaid. The jumbo is now tight and solid and ready to strum on through the 21st century.
With its comfortable neck and good action, the 12 is a breeze to play. And the sound is that 'it' sound laid down by Leadbelly and McTell on the early 78s, so coveted by players today. Big, boomy, full .. an organ in a box. Jumbo 12 don't grow on trees, and with its repair history, this example represents good value to the player chasing the ghosts of the old bluesmen. Comes with a hard case. Check the sound clip.