Parlor – or parlour – guitar usually refers to a type of acoustic guitar smaller than a concert guitar. Emerging in the late 1800s, these small instruments were popular among women, blues and folk musicians (cit. Wikipedia).
Nowadays vintage guitars come in many form. And this is not your typical vintage electric by famous brands like Fender or Gibson. Actually, it’s not an electric at all.
In its infancy, the Blues was played strictly acoustically mostly by travelling musicians that couldn’t but appreciate the easy portability – let alone the affordability – of these special breed of guitars whose midrangery tone (alongside with those of other small-bodied acoustics) most likely helped the player to project the sound of the guitar during noisy and crowded dances and outdoor parties.
I’ll let the always kind Steve Chipman of Vintage Parlor Guitars the task to better describe what a Parlor guitar is.
Anyway, I recently set off on a hunt for my first Parlor. I kinda was on a budget and given my love for italian guitars from the ’60s I was thrilled to find (and buy) this Ferrarotti on a local craiglist.
The Ferrarotti brand is one among many italian producer whose guitars became very popular in Italy during the ’60s along with famous brands like Eko, Crucianelli, Wandrè and Galanti, whose then futuristic shaped instruments sparkled the imagination of local youngsters fueling the beat movement that became rather popular in Italy.
The guitar is in almost mint condition and astonishingly well preserved; built with a birch top (just like worldwide renown Parlors like Harmony e Stella were), beechwood sides and back, european beechwood neck, mahogany fretboard and slotted headstock. Scale-length is 64 cm. (25.4 inches) with a 4,5 cm. (1 3/4″ inches) nut-width. A totally cool features are the shiny brass frets (that in those days were all built in-house) and a rather uncommon metal-made nut.
Goes without saying, this baby seems to deliver its best for fingerstyle playing and traditional Blues.