Stella ‘Gambler Deluxe’ GC ca 1932 SOLD
Stella Gambler Deluxe Grand Concert ca 1932 | SOLD | The so-called 'Gambler' was featured as part of the Depression era lineup of Oscar Schmidt guitars, cataloged as "Playing card ornament .. black satin finish .. white pearlette fingerboard". This guitar came to us as a black grand concert size Stella, but the top had been brush-painted over. We had Mike Hauver reincarnate it into a 'Gambler' but we'll never know if it left the factory that way. There's one thing unusual about it that we've never seen before in a Schmidt-made guitar .. read on to find out.
The body is birch, bound in white celluloid around the top, and the neck is poplar. The fingerboard and head stock are capped in 'pearlette' (aka MOTS). We believe the tuners and nut to be original to the guitar. The replacement pyramid bridge is ebony. The neck and body have both been re-painted black. There are no cracks, and the braces are tight. There was a bolt removed from the heel, and about an inch of kerfing was replaced inside.
Here's the unusual thing about this guitar. The grand concert size body measures the expected 14 3/4" across at the lower bout. But the scale length is 25 5/16", not a 'long scale' like all grand concert size Schmidt guitars we've seen. What makes this guitar unique to us is that it's a 14-fret neck/fingerboard! So this gives you a slot head, 14-fret, short scale grand concert guitar, with the atypical-for-Schmidt position marker at fret nine instead of ten. A very cool combo.
Interestingly, the 1932 Oscar Schmidt catalog introduced into its lineup an Orchestra Model Guitar, likely spurred on by Martin's recent move to the 14-fret OM. The Schmidt OM featured a 14-fret neck, so perhaps this guitar was influenced by the emerging trend in American acoustic guitars toward the 14-fret neck?
The fingerboard measures 1 7/8" across at the nut, and string spacing is 2 3/16" at the saddle. Frets were leveled and dressed, and action is set at 5/64" with plenty of saddle after a recent reset.
This Gambler Deluxe plays like a dream, with a very comfortable and modern-feeling 'C'-profile neck. The tone was a very pleasant surprise .. richer than what one would expect from a birch/ladder brace configuration, with lots of punch and presence. A wonderful blues finger picker, but can easily hold its own with a flat pick. Check out the sound clip.
No case, but a hard case will be provided for $75.