Dumb and Dumber

Here’s something you don’t see every day – two Maurer “Picasso” guitars side by side!  A certain guitar collector currently owns both – I was unaware he had either.  The left one was originally from Vintage Instruments; the one on the right from the late Scott Chinery’s liquidated collection.

I’m trying to help the current owner try to decide which one to sell and for how much.

It’s a tough call – neither has the coveted internal second body (it seems only one does), and they represent the different body shapes.  Other than the offset necks and soundholes, they are really somewhat different in appearance, or at least the “visual effect”!

Of the 7 specimens known so far to have been built, none are exactly alike.  I’m aware of only five surviving instruments, all shown on the Maurer/Stahl page.  They fall into the two general body shape options: the more “standard” body, and the one that I once dubbed the “goiter guitar,” with the smaller body protruding out of the larger body.  The latter shape matches the one in the patent, though the necks can be offset, or the bass side can morph into a hollow arm.  A fascinating bit of Larson Brothers history in these things – almost Knutsen-like in the experimenting!

I didn’t really mean to disparage them by my title – they are just so goofy looking that I was reminded of that movie with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.

Value?  The sky’s the limit.  They are truly special instruments – but though they are probably 50 times rarer than Dyers, they seem to be an acquired taste.  So it’s a really a question of which specimen is more interesting and “most cool” (for those who love this kind of thing), or which is “the least ugly” (for those who don’t).

As you know, I now own Bob Hartman’s major find (originally bought by Stacy Hobbs), the Stahl with the hollow neck and wild headstock (as seen in the Fretboard Journal, Summer 2010) – so you know which side I’m on.

  1. Eric Hartshorn Says:

    Very interesting Gregg !

    Had you done this “blogg” in time for halloween (almost !), the horizontal photo would be very representative of “jaci”-o lanterns. (pun intended).
    Notice the eyes ? the almost frown represented by the bridges on each ?

    Sadly, I am not, but if I were a prospective buyer- The real question on these instruments would extend beyond just aesthetic appearance and intrinsic value.

    Yes- there are collectors who collect just to own,
    But, Because of rarity and associated value needing to realistically reflect this, It is very likely that a prospective buyer would care very much about playability.

    Questions I would have:

    Overall condition of each ?

    Sound of each instrument ? (yes I know even that can be subjective).

    Proximity and relative angle of necks to each other ? One is much closer and the other angles out in a rather
    atypical fashion. (Primary style / technique of player will affect preference there).

    Clearly, no single person specifically knows more about this stuff than you. I would just “A&B” both instruments- the “Good the Bad & the Ugly” (in true Gregg Miner style !) for anyone to see and watch where it all lands.

    And I thought Real Estate was more challenging these days than ever !

    Good luck finding comps on these babies !


    -Eric H.

  2. Gregg Says:

    Well stated, Eric. I’m trying to convince him to bring both to the Gathering so that I can do just that (or anyone else). We’ll see…

  3. John Bushouse Says:

    I had the opportunity to play the Chinery guitar when it was at eGuitars in San Rafael several years ago. As I recall, it was much more comfortable and sounded much better than appearances would lead one to believe. I don’t envy the current owner who is making the decision!*

    *Well, perhaps I envy the fact that he or she has more than one of these special beasts. But I’d hate to have to decide which one to let go.

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