Grouse Guitars, your favourite vintage guitar dealer
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What a find! Back in the '30s and '40s guitar-makers were experimenting with ways to make the guitar louder so it could compete with other instruments in the band. Archtops reached their peak during this time, as their projection meant they could be heard. In the USA the resonator guitar (Dobro, National etc) made its deput, and at about the same time the Grimshaw "Revelation" was developed in England.

Emile Grimshaw was a noted English banjo player who played for many years in a quartet in the early part of the 1900s and eventually extended his contributions to composition and instruction. He also formed a company with his son that manufactured both banjos and guitars, including the highly valued "Grimshaw Guitar". Many of Emile's classical banjo compositions are played to this day. Emile was born in 1880 and died in 1943.

Emile was involved in the manufacture of banjos on an informal basis for his students, but in 1933 formed a company with his son for more formal manufacturing operations. Subsequently the firm also made guitars and, apparently, other instruments. The "Revelation" guitar is extremely interesting, as it draws on the essential design characteristics of the banjo, and its powerful projection, but applies it to the guitar. The result is a guitar that has a sound hole in its back which then 'resonates' into a secondary chamber and augments the guitar's sound. The guitar is a flat-top acoustic, but has a very distinctive archtop-type sound, with its upper midrange boost and projection. Very few of these guitars exist today.

This example is in truly mint condition. Totally original fittings, including the special bridge that concentrated the string vibrations onto a spot on the top directly above the 'hole' in the back that feeds into the resonating chamber. This guitar dates before Emile's death in 1943, as the label is numbered (No 163) and signed by him.

Operations continued for at least 20 years after Emile's death, and indeed early photographs of Pete Townsend of "The Who" show him playing a Grimshaw electric guitar with a Rickenbacker truss-rod cover on the headstock!

The advent of electronic amplification meant that the problem of making a guitar louder could simply follow another path, and the golden age of the resonator-style guitar came to a close. These days, of course, their has been a huge resurgence in the popularity of these guitars and their special sound.

This guitar is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for the collector or serious player. I challenge you to find another "Revelation" for sale in such totally original and mint condition! I know of one (number 35) for sale in London with missing pickguard, non-original bridge and a replacement tuner, and looking much the worse for wear, for the equivalent of $3,500AUD. Grouse Guitars offers this mint example, in a non-original hard case, for less!

Scale length is 24 3/4" (63cm), nut width is 1 11/16" or 42mm edge to edge (1 1/2" or 38mm total string spacing, and string spacing at the bridge is 2 3/16" or 55mm. The body reflector (bottom) section is 17 5/16" or 44cm at its widest point, while the main (upper) body measures 15 3/16" or 40cm at its widest point. Total body depth is 3 7/8" or 10cm. Action at the 12th fret is 3.5mm on the bass side and 3mm on the treble.

Sold to Jeffrey in the USA

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