We don’t see many Euphonon guitars here at Gryphon but every one we have seen is a treat. Euphonon guitars were made by August and Carl Larson, two brothers who immigrated to America from Sweden in the 1880s. They rarely, if ever, used the Larson name on the instruments they crafted in Chicago, opting instead to build under the labels of Maurer, Prairie State and Euphonon, which were brands they owned.
They launched the Euphonon brand in the mid 1930s as their modern line of guitars, that is, guitars with 14-fret necks, solid headstocks and larger bodies than the parlor style guitars they had built up until then. As near as we can tell, the Larsons never issued a Euphonon catalog so we really don’t know if the Euphonons had model numbers or not. This particular example measures 16 inches across the lower bout making it quite a large guitar for its time, although the Larsons made a few instruments that were even larger. The abalone top trim and Brazilian rosewood sides and back mark this guitar as one of the highest grade Euphonons.
The Larsons developed a method of building the top and back under tension and using laminated top braces that give the guitars a bright, focused tone with a resonant bass and balanced mid-range that sounds like nothing else. This particular guitar was made in 1937 and with the exception of the bridge it's pretty much original throughout. The top shows a lot of playing wear but happily it was never refinished or even saw any overspray. It still has its original tuners and although the G string tuner has a bent button shaft it still works well.
The pickguard is original but the frets are difficult to call original. They show quite a bit of wear but this guitar got played a LOT years ago and the bridge was done in the '70s so it may have been refretted then. It has nice dark Brazilian rosewood back & sides with a tight hairline crack near the tail block on back. There’s a long crack approx 8 inches in the bass side, just below the waist, which was repaired with a long strip of glued linen, standard practice back in the day. Along with the visible center seam in the top below the bridge there's a pickguard-shrinkage crack just below the waist. There’s lots of belt buckle wear that's through the finish on the back, but the rosewood is such hard stuff the wood didn't suffer much.
This Euphonon has the Larsons' standard laminated X braces under the top. (The other top braces are not laminated). The bridge plate is original and when you look inside you can see the bridge pin holes from the original bridge in front of the pins in the current bridge. There are no bolts under the pearl dots in the bridge, btw. What's with the bridge with those black/white celluloid stripes at the end of each bridge tip? We don't know, but as mentioned earlier we first saw this guitar over 40 years ago, and as we recall it looked then as it does now (it's hard for contemporary vintage guitar fans to realize that originality just wasn't a big deal in the '60s and '70s). The previous owner had worked in a guitar shop in Chicago, he probably had his pick of Larson Bros. instruments but he kept this one and when you play it you'll know why. Comes in a Victoria D case from the '60s, which is a decent fit in the lower bout where it counts most.