Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 54

COLUMN The (Way) Back Beat

A EUPHONIC LEGACY

The Larson Brothers: Finale and Postscript
By Peter Stuart Kohman

T

he Larson Brothers - Carl and August
- enjoyed a career as luthiers from the
heyday of the mandolin orchestra to the
golden age of the modern steel-string guitar.
Along the way, they crafted some of the finest flat-tops and an amazing variety of other
fretted instruments.
Unlike other high-end builders, the Larsons
never put their name on their creations, which
makes it difficult to document their legacy.
While the quality of their instruments speaks
for itself, it has taken decades to establish the
details of their story and understand the scope
- and importance - of their work.
By the late '30s, the majority of the Larsons'
output went to individual performers rather
than wholesale clients. Small numbers of
instruments were being provided to dealers -

principally Wack Sales, in Milwaukee
- but their primary business involved
local trade bolstered by a cadre of radio
entertainers working in or passing
through Chicago, especially on local
powerhouse WLS and its "National
Barn Dance" show.
The Larsons' modest workshop
at 536 Elm Street was where players
could order a standard instrument or
collaborate on a commissioned piece.
The brothers offered guitars in various
sizes and grades branded Prairie State,
while those without their patented
mechanics were usually branded Euphonon. Like John D'Angelico in New
York and the father-and-son Strombergs in Boston, the Larsons served

musicians directly and so were in
touch with players' needs - and
dreams. Unlike those builders, the
Larsons focused on flat-tops. As most
clients would have been labeled "hillbilly
entertainers," this was appropriate. But, if
a player requested an archtop, the brothers
complied.
Larson-made archtops are a hybrid,
not directly comparable to Gibson or
D'Angelico designs. The brothers built
a slight arch into tops and backs as part
of their "built under tension" design,
but it also included laminated X braces
to form the top into a more-deliberate
arch. To the casual observer, they look
like a conventional carved instrument
with raised bridge and trapeze tailpiece,
but the sound is notably different.
It's testament to the brothers' savvy
that such thin arched tops have held up
under heavy string tension over many
decades. To date, no carved-top Larson
guitar is known, though they may have
built a few carved violin-shaped mandolins for William Stahl in the 1910s.
Most of the brother's X-braced archA pearl-trimmed 21"
Larson archtop with
cutaway (left)
and a 16" Prairie
State archtop.

VINTAGE GUITAR

54

September 2018


http://www.vintageguitar.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 3
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 4
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 5
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 6
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 7
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 8
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 9
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - Contents
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 11
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 12
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 13
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 14
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 15
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 16
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 17
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 18
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 19
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 20
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 21
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 22
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 23
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 24
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 25
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 26
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 27
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 28
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 29
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 30
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 31
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 32
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 33
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 34
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 35
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 36
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 37
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 38
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 39
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 40
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 41
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 42
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 43
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 44
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 45
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 46
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 47
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 48
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 49
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 50
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 51
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 52
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 53
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 54
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 55
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 56
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 57
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 58
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 59
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 60
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 61
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 62
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 63
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 64
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 65
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 66
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 67
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 68
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 69
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 70
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 71
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 72
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 73
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 74
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 75
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 76
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 77
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 78
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 79
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 80
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 81
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 82
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 83
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 84
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 85
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 86
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 87
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 88
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 89
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 90
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 91
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 92
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 93
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 94
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 95
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 96
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 97
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 98
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 99
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 100
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 101
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 102
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 103
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 104
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 105
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 106
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 107
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 108
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 109
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 110
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 111
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 112
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 113
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 114
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 115
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 116
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 117
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 118
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 119
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 120
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 121
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 122
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 123
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 124
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 125
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 126
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 127
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 128
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 129
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 130
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 131
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 132
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 133
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 134
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 135
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 136
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 137
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 138
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - IBC
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - BC
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201903_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201902_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201901_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201812_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201811_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201810_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201809_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201808_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201807_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201805_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201804_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201803_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201802_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201801_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/2018priceguide_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201712_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201711_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201710_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201709_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201708_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201707_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201706_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201705_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201704_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201703_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201702_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201701_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201612_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201611_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201609_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201607_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201606_v2
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com