The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #139575   Message #3202466
Posted By: Big Ballad Singer
05-Aug-11 - 11:48 PM
Thread Name: Lead Belly's autograph
Subject: RE: Lead Belly's autograph
The item is a guitar. The signature is on the back, I believe on the bottom right bout of the guitar. That's another thing that makes me think this sig MIGHT be real... it's signed in a rather weird place. It's as though the owner asked for an autograph, turned the guitar over, and Mr. Ledbetter signed the guitar in what would have been the upper right quadrant (if you were holding an acoustic guitar the standard way while seated, and then turned it on its face, so the strings were resting in your lap or on a table, face down). That would have been the most natural place for a right-handed person to reach to sign a piece of paper; it might not have occurred to him to sign the guitar somewhere near the top of the back. The way this signature is placed, you have to hold the guitar face-down, and the lettering follows the curve of the body of the guitar to some degree.

I am trying to do some research into the brand name that is on the guitar, to see whether it could have been in production in 1949 or earlier.

It's a parlor-sized guitar, similar to those sold under the Harmony, Stella, Kay and other names back then. It is supposed to have what looks like a narrow 'floating' bridge, which is missing, and a metal tail-piece, which is there and in seemingly very good condition considering the age of the instrument. It's not a 'trapeze' tailpiece; not sure what to call this kind. The guitar is certainly not any more recent than the VERY early 1960s, and I would put it in the 50s if I were just guessing, without the addition of the signature.

****HOLD THE PHONE!!! STOP THE PRESSES!!!****

I JUST (11:30 PM US Eastern Time) found a VERY similar guitar, same brand name, only with a fixed bridge, on a vintage guitar website. The dealer's site says this particular guitar is from the 1930s!!! The guitar I found with this signature on it MAY very well be from that time period!

I've also just found some other models, WITH the tail-piece exactly like the one I am looking at, that are all described as 'pre-war' instruments... obviously, pre-WWII, so late 30s/early 40s.

I'm almost trembling... this could turn out to be a huge find.