View Full Version : Defarbing a guitar?

06-29-2011, 10:53 AM
Iíve been playing for over 25 years now and am wanting to take my skills into my reenacting impression. Problem is, I'm not sure how to go about "defarbing" a guitar. What would you guys recommend doing to a standard modern guitar in order to make it more period correct? What would be a good guitar model to begin with?

M. Payne
2nd KY Vol. Inf.

06-29-2011, 11:34 AM
This has been an ongoing discussion through the years, and if you type in guitar in the search function above (the bar with the maginifying glass icon), you'll find some previous threads. Long story short, its tough to make a modern guitar look like a period guitar without alot of work

Old Cremona
07-25-2011, 11:19 PM
Obviously, guitars were smaller than most modern guitars. Nothing worse than a big ol' dreadnaught or a jumbo at a reenactment. Smaller guitars can be found. I have a friend who found an 1890's Washburn for about $600. It's an interesting axe, and looks decent for the period. Guitars like these are relatively affordable because modern pickers have no use for them. Not enough volume, I guess.

Just as important as defarbing the guitar would be defarbing your chops and defarbing your repertiore. Consult period instruction manuals for technique and repertiore. Truly researched guitar playing is something you almost never see in the hobby. There's a lot of cool music out there, waiting to be brought back to life.

Craig L Barry
07-26-2011, 12:11 AM
Good luck finding gut strings and tuning them with friction held tuning pegs.
How about a shoebox fiddle or a tackhead banjer instead?

07-26-2011, 01:42 PM
Aquila Gut & Silk sets, by mail order: http://www.elderly.com/accessories/items/AGNS.htm (easier than finding ammo for some cw ear guns)
CW era guitars had "modern" mechanical geared tuners.
How about a concertina? (your suggestions are great too!)

Dave Culgan
banjer player - Camptown Shakers

Old Cremona
07-26-2011, 05:44 PM
Yeah, geared tuners were on some CW era guitars and even a few banjos. Properly fitted friction pegs are not impossible, however, and were probably more PEC. Same with gut strings. They made 'em work, and we can too, given the right attitude.

It all depends on what you want to do with your music. I'd rather listen to a research-oriented reenactor with nylon strings who plays guitar well than a super-correct one who hasn't practiced. The music should come first, IMHO.

'Course, a quality repop git-tar with gut strings well played by a stitch-counter would be the best of all worlds.

Craig L Barry
07-26-2011, 10:59 PM
You can put $4000 into a period correct Martin parlor guitar pretty easily, but you don't have to in order to have
a reasonably good playing and correct instrument. The gut strings are necessary to provide a warm tone. I will have
to check my notes but one period reference from a CS artillery officer who brought a guitar from home (IIRC) refers
to it as costing $50.

At the current rate, the $4000 Martin today is not that far off the period cost of $50. The point is that the modern
"dreadnought" shape can't be de-farbed into anything resembling a Civil War-era instrument.