Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 58

COLUMN The (Way) Back Beat
many now-precious instruments were
then just "used" - not suited to the
requirements of the day and fated to
be blithely rebuilt with varying levels
of expertise and success.
By the '70s, noted fingerstylist Stefan Grossman was using Lundbergmodified Larsons, including a Prairie
State converted to flat-top and a 16" maple
Euphonon originally built for Millie Good
and later owned by WLS mainstay Arkie
the Arkansas Woodchopper. In '77, the
guitar was described as his "first choice
as a recording and performing instrument." In the '80s, the Larson-made
Dyer Symphony Harp guitars had a
spectacular showcase in the hands of
maverick soloist Michael Hedges, who
introduced the largely forgotten instrument to new generations.
Though multiple enthusiasts became
enamored with Larson instruments,
it's mostly through the efforts of
Carl Larson's grandson, Robert Carl
Hartman, that the brothers' story has
been documented and their legacy
celebrated. Bob's personal connection
to the instruments and their creators

- his grandfather and great
uncle - have led him to
rediscover his family
legacy piece by piece
over the last 40 years.
As a child, Bob lived
in the same home as
his grandfather, Carl.
He recalls him as a quiet
man, never boasting of his accomplishments.
"I don't even remember having
a conversation with him," he said.
Though in his 70s and having
moved on from lutherie, Carl still
liked working with wood.
"One time, he whittled a toy
for me from the wood stash used
for the kitchen stove. He took on
sanding down and refinishing
the oak floors in two rooms.
The floors looked new because
he liked perfection!"
Bob also remembers that he
could not sing or play an instrument, "...but surely knew how to
build beautiful sounds into his
musical products."

A 16" Euphonon with
bridge and pickguard
by Jon Lundberg.

After Carl passed away in 1946,
12-year-old Bob received a family
heirloom.
"I was gifted a lovely thin-body
parlor guitar with Brazilian rosewood back, mahogany sides, and
a spruce top," he said.
Carl had made it in 1917 for his
son, Abner.
In 1979, it and other instruments
were damaged by vandals, but there
was a silver lining. When Bob took the
broken instruments to Jon Calhoun,
at the Folklore Center, in Chicago, he
learned that the instruments built by his
grandfather and great-uncle had become
of interest to collectors and dealers. This
set him on a quest, the first step being to
interview family members.
"The fact that grandpa Carl made a
guitar for Gene Autry was lore in my
family that I remember from an early
age," he said. Beyond that, the family
had little information. He began keeping a scrapbook of data and photos that
eventually led to writing The Larsons'
Creations, along with numerous articles
and voluminous correspondence.
This Euphonon has belonged to
Millie Good, Arkie the Arkansas
Woodchopper, and
Stefan Grossman.

VINTAGE GUITAR

58

September 2018


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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
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 8
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Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - Contents
Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 11
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