Maurer Grand Concert Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, made by Larson Brothers, c. 1930, made in Chicago, natural lacquer finish, rosewood back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, black hard shell case.
Any discussion of the finest flat-top guitars ever made will soon enough come around to the work of Carl and August Larson in Chicago between 1900 and 1940. Here is a well-played but still excellent example of their wonderful work, in this case labeled with their own “house brand” Maurer. Larson instruments have become recognized as both uniquely desirable and historically important in recent years, and they are among the most sought-after acoustic guitars.
This guitar features medium level of appointments offered by the Larsons. The back and sides are of high-grade Brazilian rosewood with a dramatic figured grain to the back. The top is very tight-grained spruce. It has 48 mm nut width and 647 mm scale length.
The Larson Brothers distinctive construction and design elements are evident in this guitar. Unlike contemporary C. F. Martin instruments, this Grand Concert (14″+) sized guitar was intended from the beginning to carry steel strings. The top and back are slightly arched; “Built under Tension” was the brothers’ descriptive phrase. The X bracing is made of spruce. The 1904 patent number stamped into the back strip was awarded for this innovation, unique then and now.
Despite almost attaining its centennial, this guitar feels entirely comfortable to the modern player and makes a fair case for the Larsons being the most advanced luthiers of their day and true pioneers of the American steel-string flat-top guitar. The overall workmanship on this is neat in detail as what is seen on period Martin instruments and the design elements and creativity involved are certainly on a higher level.
Playing a Larson instrument is a unique and rewarding experience; the tone is distinctive and has a “singing” quality unlike any other flat-top guitar. This guitar has had an eventful life but remains a fine example of the brothers’ work and a lovely guitar to play.
This guitar has a decent amount of play wear and some old repairs, but is a very fine playing and sounding instrument with a lot of character. The finish shows numerous spots of wear and there is some old light overspray in some places. The guitar has had a neck reset, some fret work, and a repro bridge, so it is now a superb player.
A nicely worn-in and great-sounding old Larson; a delight to play and hear.