Sighted: A Trujo guitar

My curiosity was piqued when I sighted an obviously antique guitar resting in the corner of my friend’s living room. Stashed in a case of thin, unsubstantive material was a Trujo guitar that had been in the family for some decades. This rare instrument will soon be handed to one of his sons.

As a collector of rare things — typewriters (see here) and antiquarian Bibles — I vaguely sensed that this Trujo was likely a rare instrument. A quick search on the internet confirmed the notion.

The Trujo guitar first came available in 1929 and seems to have been sold at least through the early 1930s. Manufactured by Gibson for the Trujo Banjo Company in San Francisco, few of these guitars are extant, so few having been made. This parlor-style instrument appears well-made, though perhaps inexpensively constructed.

Writes a researcher at “An extremely rare guitar, of which most dealers have seen no more than one or two in their lifetimes, as Trujo sold mostly banjos, and very few guitars. Conforms to description of the Trujo Style A in Gruhn and Carter: “Similar to Kel Kroydon KK-1, S.S. Stewart and Gibson L-2 of the period, single bound spruce top with x pattern bracing, mahogany back and sides, 3 ply soundhole ring, mahogany neck, 12 frets clear of body, unbound rosewood fingerboard, dot inlay, squared off peghead painted black, inlaid perloid rectangle approx 1 1/2″ x 5/8″ with Trujo stenciled in black, small painted and carved leaf designs in upper corners of peghead, open back tuners with white buttons, natural finish. Available 1929.”

I tuned the Trujo, but the strings were ancient and dull. Nevertheless, the sound was pleasing. The prior owner used a combination of steel and nylon strings. I note that the inlays are particularly charming.

Additional sources: – images of another Trujo
• A discussion thread here
• Vintage Guitars Info’s Gibson Flattop Model Descriptions – press here

Not sure of this instrument’s value, so if you know, please comment.


© 2018, Mark R. Adams. All rights reserved.

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