The Prairie State Model 450, built by the Larson Brothers of Chicago, IL, is a fascinating walk through the celebrated brothers' cutting-edge ideas of guitar design. This Model 450 sports three patent numbers on the backstrip; according to the fine folks at Retrofret, this is likely one of the first guitars built with August Larson's steel tube reinforcement bolt-on neck design. The steel tube, fitted to the heelblock and endblock, was designed to deflect tension away from the top & back, and the neck is adjustable for angle with a screw near the tip of the heel.
Naturally, your eye is immediately drawn to the beautiful tree-of-life inlay, floral headstock inlay, and the herringbone/abalone soundhole inlay. When this guitar was stamped with the date "OCT 23 1931", it was the largest, most ornate, and expensive guitar offered in the catalog at $100. It was built with a tight-grained spruce top, Brazilian rosewood back & sides, and pearl button tuners. The ebony bridge is a slightly oversized replacement, made in the correct style for this model and using the original star inlays. There are two cracks behind the bridge, both of which have been previously repaired; there are no other cracks or repairs. The ivoriod fingerboard binding was also expertly replaced. The neck is typical of Larson designs, using laminated woods and a thick ebony fingerboard. There is some finish worn from the back of the neck, as well as a few small dings and scrapes on the body, but overall the guitar would be described as "Excellent" for 89 years of age. Playability is excellent, as is the tone (see videos below!). 25.5" scale, 1 7/8" nut width. Comes in a newer hardshell case.
Length: 39 1/4"
Bout Width: 15"
Depth: 3 1/4"