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Ultra Deluxe Guitars

1945 Stromberg Ultra Deluxe

Color: Natural, Rating: 9.00, $38,500.00 (ID# 01944)
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1945 Stromberg "Ultra Deluxe"

 

1945 Stromberg Ultra Deluxe

 

This magnificent 17 3/8 inch wide, 3 1/2 inch deep natural "Ultra Deluxe" weighs just 6.00 lbs. Perfectly book-matched, single-braced, carved natural spruce top with two unique three-piece 'segmented' 'F' sound-holes. Two-piece beautifully quilted birds-eye maple back and lightly-flamed maple sides. Two-piece highly-flamed maple neck with walnut/maple/walnut center-strips. The nut width is just under 1 11/16 inches, the scale length is 25 inches, and the neck has a very comfortable medium-to-thick profile starting at 0.84 inch behind the first fret and rising gently to 1.03 inches behind the twelfth fret. Double-bound rosewood fretboard with a small, graceful point at the end. Twenty original medium-thin frets, and inlaid pearl block position markers, each one ornately engraved in black with a different design. Ebony-faced, multi-bound headstock inlaid with "Ultra Deluxe", [diagonal] "Stromberg" and "Boston / Mass" with floral inlay. Ebony faced headstock rear with widow's peak. Individual open-back Grover (G-98) sta-tite tuners with gold-plated metal 'cloverleaf' buttons. Original rosewood bar-bridge on height adjustable rosewood base. Gold-plated specific '5 Cutout' "Y" shaped trapeze tailpiece with "Stromberg" engraved on cross-bar and 'floral' engraved tailpiece hinge secured to body by three screws. Inside the bass sound-hole is the white rectangular with blue border Stromberg label: "From / Made by Chas. A. Stromberg & Son / 40 Hanover St., Boston, Mass. / For Life-time guarantee to original purchaser if used properly. / Model (xxx) Serial #502." There is some honest playing wear to the back and sides of the neck and a few surface scratch-marks on the bass side of the spruce top. Under ultra-violet light there are two professionally repaired small cracks on the back (2 3/4 inch on the treble-side - going down from the waist and 1 1/2 inch on the bass-side - going up from the waist). Otherwise this very rare, magnificent playing and sounding guitar is in exceptionally fine (9.00) condition. Housed in the original five-latch black, shaped hardshell case with purple padded velvet lining (8.50).

The Ultra Deluxe is an extremely rare model that was not a standard feature of the Stromberg catalog - but as a small and independent shop that built custom instruments, few of the guitars the Stromberg's produced could in fact be called catalogue models.

"During the American Depression of the 1930s Elmer wanted as many musicians as possible to enjoy his instruments and kept the cost of the instrument affordable. After the Depression, the guitars began to change in looks and construction. By the mid-1930s (1936-37), musicians requested fancier models with larger bodies that could produce more volume. The Stromberg guitar went through at least two major headstock dimension sizes and designs and body specifications between 1936 and 1940. Elmer's response to players' needs (and the competition) was to widen the body on the G series guitars to 17.375 in., and add two more models: the 19 in. Master 400 model was introduced around 1937/38, and the Master 300 was introduced in the same time period. The larger body dimensions of the Master 300 and 400 made them the largest guitars offered from any maker. Elmer's top-of-the-line model was the Master 400. This guitar would set the Stromberg guitar apart from other rhythm acoustic archtop guitars, especially during the swing era: Elmer added decorative pearl inlay to the headstock, additional binding, and a fine graduated top carving that would carry its sound volume across the brass section of a large orchestra. By 1940, a new, longer headstock style and the single diagonal brace was added to the Master series guitars, switching from a traditional parallel bracing to a single brace for yet more carrying power. The graduation of the tops also changed during this period. By 1940 to '41, a single tension rod adjustment was added to the Master series (and was later added to the Deluxe and G series). By 1941, the G1 and G3 series body dimensions increased to 17.375 in., and featured a new tailpiece design that was "Y" shaped in design. The f-holes became non-segmented and followed the graceful design of the Deluxe model. Elmer Stromberg built all the guitars and the majority of banjos. His name never appeared on an instrument, with the exception of a Deluxe Cutaway (serial number 634, a short scale made for guitarist Hank Garland). Every label read Charles A. Stromberg and Son with a lifetime guarantee to the original purchaser. Elmer is described by many players who knew him as a gentle man with a heart of gold. He wanted to please his family of guitarists with the best instrument he could make… The apparent rarity of the individual guitars (it is estimated that only 640 guitars were produced), like D'Angelico's, combined with condition and demand, makes it difficult to set a selling price in the vintage market." (Fjestad, Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars, 11th Edition, pp. 565-566).


With its engraved fretboard inlays, rear headstock overlay, gold-plated hardware, and figured maple neck, sides, and back, this Ultra Deluxe is certainly fancier than most existing Stromberg Deluxe models. Interestingly enough, the top is not quite as attractive as the rest of the guitar, featuring a wavy grain pattern and unbound three-segment f-holes. On a few occasions the Strombergs were known to use reclaimed wood to build guitars (long before it became fashionable to do so) and that may have been the case here.


 

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