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SS Parlor

 

 

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The SS Parlor is an exceptional instrument in several ways. The body is made from alloy 304 stainless steel, unplated with a medium fine sanded finish. This material never corrodes or tarnishes, and the finish does not show fingerprints and smudges. The guitar weighs a little over 6 lbs., lighter than most metal guitars and many wood ones. The body measures about 12 " across the lower bout, with a shape reminiscent of the guitars made in the early 20th century.

However this guitar meets contemporary standards for players. It balances when the waist rests on the player's knee (try that with any other metal guitar!). The neck has 14 frets to the body, and a fast and comfortable profile with a wide nut, a shallow U shape and minimum thickness taper. The slender profile is not what you expect on a resonator guitar, but most players can immediately adapt to it. The neck features a two-way adjustable truss rod. The handrest strap is removable for easy access to the string saddle.

The SS Parlor features an 8 3/4" cone, a curly hard maple neck with one or two ebony or black veneer stripes, ebony fingerboard with white edge stripes, ebony headstock and tailpiece overlays, decorative aluminum inlays, etched trim lines and open geared Waverly tuning pegs. The neck is typically 1 3/4" wide at the nut, with a scale length of 24.9".

The tone of a stainless steel guitar is noticeably different from what is produced using the usual brass or mild steel. I would describe it as less nasal and more broadly appealing than mild steel, which might be a better choice for the styles and spooky sounds of the early blues players. Compared to brass the stainless has less sustain - this makes it work better for frequent chord changes and jazz comping, when too much sustain tends to cover up the notes that follow. Technique and subjective tone preference are factors which don’t mean much as words on the page. You really need to play and compare instruments to know what’s right for your purposes.


Brass Parlor

The Brass Parlor is a design identical to the SS Parlor. The material is nickel plated brass, which makes it heavier by about one pound. Adding to the above discussion about the different metals, brass has a sweet tone and a sustaining quality which makes it a good choice for open tunings and Hawaiian music. Those styles can make a brass guitar reminiscent of bells or chines. However the long history of recordings has many examples of how a variety of sounds stem from variety of technique.