Bacon & Day| Senorita S-6 | 1935 | SN:unknown
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Bacon & Day Senorita S-6 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, c. 1935, made in Groton CT, sunburst top, dark stained back and sides finish, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, spruce top, mahogany neck, original alligator grain hard shell case.
Tony Klassen says: “A spectacular example of a very rare flat top guitar. This Bacon & Day Senorita was built in the mid-1930’s when the Bacon Banjo Company was on its last legs, a victim of both the lingering depression and the declining market for banjos. While the guitar itself was made by Regal in Chicago the decorative touches of pearloid and rhinestone are pure Bacon. Bacon & Day instruments were always top quality and this guitar ranks with the finest Chicago-made guitars of the era.
Although the Bacon company built many of the finest (and most expensive) banjos of the 1920’s they had no experience, or apparent interest, in building guitars. They had dabbled with ukuleles and mandolins in the early 1920’s and had even sold a few Martin guitars with a Bacon stamp, but in the main had been able to prosper with a banjo-only line. When the high-end banjo market collapsed in the early 1930’s Fred Bacon and David Day, both older men with decades of experience in the music business, took the expedient route and contracted with outside makers to supply them with guitars that could be finished off as “B&D’s”. While similar to other Regal-built instruments including the Tonk Bros. Washburn line these “B&D” guitars are always distinctively appointed, and also the best that could be had.
This B&D Senorita S-6 was by 1936 the top of the company’s flat-top line retailing at $60.00, around the same price as a Gibson Jumbo or a Martin D-18. Both of those guitars were built of mahogany, giving this rosewood Bacon something of a material quality advantage! Bacon’s catalog stressed the tonal advantages of rosewood, but their main promotional efforts were given to archtop guitars. The body features very rounded bouts with a rather narrow waist, more like a Gibson SJ-200 (which it predates) than any other large-bodied flat top of the 1930’s. The spruce top is X-braced and single bound, with multiple binding on the soundhole edge. The bridge is a standard pattern rectangle with an offset saddle, much like the 1930’s Gibson style.
The neck is a very shallow “C” profile with a generous 1 13/16″ nut width, giving a lot of real estate to play on. The fingerboard is inlayed with pearloid blocks sporting floral and diamond patterns which are hand engraved and colored. The guitar’s most distinctive feature it the headstock: in classic Bacon style it is faced in pearloid which is engraved, colored and inset with rhinestones in truly spectacular fashion. Bacon banjos were famous for their elaborate, even gaudy decoration, and this guitar continues that tradition in fine style.
Bacon marketed a number of Chicago-made guitar styles in the 1930’s. All are quite rare, with the higher end flat top ones particularly hard to find. They are considered very collectible, both for their inherent quality and due to a longtime association with John Fahey, who played a similar Ne Plus Ultra flattop extensively in the 1960’s. This Senorita is a great playing and sounding guitar with a deep powerful tone, and as nice a deluxe prewar B&D flattop as we have ever seen.
Overall length is 41 in. (104.1 cm.), 15 3/4 in. (40 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 5/8 in. (11.7 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Extremely nice condition overall, the finest of these we have ever seen. There is a small area of touchup to the finish in front of the pickguard and some very well repaired top cracks with possible light overspray. Bridge, tuners, nut, frets are all original, the saddle has been given a discreet compensating ridge. Some of the color is worn away from the engraved inlays but quite a bit is still intact. Overall a fabulous example of an extremely rare guitar. Excellent + Condition.”
NB. Tony is now making fantastic reproductions of the Troubador under his New Era line. Check it out here.
Text & Pictures kind courtesy of Tony Klassen.
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