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William B. Tilton Parlor Late 1800s



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Beautiful and rare turn of the century parlor sized guitar made by William B. Tilton. Very top of the headstock may have been reshaped to be round and repainted, possibly to cover up a repair. There is also evidence of a repair on the bottom back of the guitar near the back center seam that includes a small portion of marquetry that was replaced. We are also fairly certain that it has been refretted. Two top cracks have been repaired in the past. Top is extremely unique due to the diagonal grain on the spruce top and the floating internal reinforcement brace featuring the ornate medallion with “Wm.B. Tilton’s Improvement New York Patented March 4 1856 Zogbaum & Fairchild New York” embossed on it. This is an x braced guitar. Neck is fairly straight and plays fine in the lower frets, but will require a neck reset in order to play well in the higher registers. Bridge design is buzzy in the open high strings and will require a neck reset for greater break angle to address this issue. Did not come with a case, but can be safely packaged and shipped.


Body: Spruce top with Brazilian rosewood back and sides

Neck: Neck wood appears to be mahogany with a medium-round profile, 1 3/4” wide nut, Brazilian rosewood overlays, ebony fretboard, and a 12” radius

Pickups/Hardware: All original, no electronics

Cosmetic Condition: The finish is all original aside from a touchup on the top of the headstock. The top looks great for its age with minor dings and dents along the edges and two repaired cracks. The guitar is stable though and looks very nice considering it’s age. The back has some usual scratches and signs of buckle rash but nothing too major. The neck has some finish wear along the 1st position but it clean for the most part with only some light blemishes. The headstock is touched up on the top but looks great otherwise with only minor wear. This Tilton parlor guitar is a gorgeous piece of history!

Playability: The strings are nice and low, play great, and ring out clearly across the board.

Modifications/Repairs: Refret, repaired top cracks, repaired headstock tip and seam repair on back bottom including replaced marquetry

Weight: 3lbs 1oz

Case: None included

Shop Brand: Tilton

Shop All: Acoustic