Made in 1870, Boscawen, New Hampshire
Isaiah H. Arey
© Frank Ford, 1999; Photos by FF
This is a fine example of a guitar by an independent maker who was clearly influenced by the guitars of C.F.Martin. Did he start his career working for Martin?
As you look through these photographs, check out the clock key neck angle adjustment, the pyramid bridge and the grafted peghead. All these are early Martin features. Also, notice the cantilevered fingerboard extension, used by Martin on a few very early examples.
I wasn't able to photograph the most unusual feature of this instrument. The top is braced with a single transverse brace below the soundhole and five fan braces. What's interesting is that the fan braces converge at the end block and radiate outward toward the soundhole brace. There is no bridge plate at all, and the top is in great shape because this guitar has never been subjected to the stress of steel stringing.
4/11/05 - I just received an interesting e-mail about this instrument:
"I decided to do a search with my great-great grandfather's name, Isaiah Arey, because I have one of his guitars, which my grandmother gave me in about 1969 or so. It was great to see your photographs, with details which look just like mine! My sister also has one, which looks just like mine, but is maybe an inch longer. In fact, I'll be playing my guitar in church tomorrow. The sound is so much bigger, in my opinion, than one would expect from such a small guitar. (I do not play my guitar enough now...)
I have visited his grave in Boscawen and know nothing about what he was like, aside from the information that he made about 30-ish guitars and at least twice as many violins. He was my father's mother's paternal grandmother. (Her maiden name was Paulina Arey.) I live in New London, New Hampshire, myself.
By the way, my guitar was made in 1870, too!"
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