H.A. Weymann and Son of Philadelphia (1865–1940’s) are best known for their beautifully crafted, elaborate 1920s tenor banjos, but they also made exquisite guitars. But their numbers are few. I’ve collected 6 of these guitars and I have been researching their history and the history of the company for some years now.
Any early 20th Century 12 string guitar is very rare, a Weymann 12 string even more so.
A reader, Tom Giachero, registered this guitar on my WEYMANN INSTRUMENT REGISTER and graciously provided photos for this post. It is only one of two Weymann 12 String guitars known to exist. The other one is owned by British 12 string guitarist, Paul Brett (YouTube link to that guitar further into this post).
There’s a bit of work needed to bring this guitar to prime playing condition, which Tom plans to do over time. Some more photos (click on first image and scroll through):
James Charles Rodgers (September 8, 1897 – May 26, 1933) was an American country, blues and folk singer, songwriter and musician in the early 20th century, and became known known as “The Father of Country Music”.
He was a huge star in his day and most likely influenced more artists than any other singer, including Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan.
When I first bought a H. A. Weymann & Son guitar, there was very little known about the maker. One of the reasons for my site is to bring to light and preserve as much as I can about the Weymann Company.
I’m having a Weymann post blitz at the moment to get as much up about the company and clear out some of my files on the computer. So, for the Weymann geeks and history nuts out there this post features a magazine article about H. A. Weymann & Son published in 1929. It tells a lot about the company in 1929, when the Great Depression and the death of the principal driving force behind the company were both looming. I’m preserving the article here for posterity!
Written in April 1929, in the Musical Merchandise magazine, the entire article reads:
Continuing with featuring another readers’ Weymann guitar, I present this instrument owned by Neil Reck, Weymann aficionado and a collector of Weymann quality guitars. The latest addition to his stable is this Weymann guitar style 870:
In the words of Neil, it is as “exactly as described in the catalogue and is a powerhouse of a OM guitar.”
Johnny Depp owns a Weymann ‘F’ hole guitar, and he played it briefly in a YouTube clip he made with Paul McCartney in a recording of Paul’s song, My Valentine (YouTube link below with Johnny Depp deaf language signing lyrics to McCartney’s song). When Paul McCartney first saw the guitar, he said “that’s a good-looking guitar, with those F holes there’s something romantic about it.” And that’s true, these vintage Weymann ‘F’ hole guitars have a certain ‘mystique’ about them. They are valued highly by their owners and rarely do they come up for sale.
H. A. Weymann & Son was a different type of wholesaler because they had a very stable and large retail outlet to augment the production from their workshop. They produced many different designs of guitars, often in small runs, but I suspect they also made guitars to order, or to satisfy the creativity of their crafts people. Consequently, the variety of their guitar styles never ceases to amaze.
I have photos of various Weymann guitars I want to feature in individual posts. I’m going to start with this guitar owned by a very nice lady, Judy Freeman, who has given me permission to share photos and information about her guitar. Whether this is a one-off instrument or a limited run, I guess we’ll only know if another turns up:
For research purposes, I have set up a page with a form so that Weymann owners can register their stringed instruments (Banjos, Mandolins, Ukuleles, Guitars, Mandolutes etc.).
My aim is to gain information that will help make dating these instruments more accurate as well as providing general information.
I really do hope that if you own a Weymann instrument you will kindly register it on my page with the registration form. It only takes a minute and all contact information will kept confidential. Here’s where to Register:
So far I have almost 100 instruments registered. As more are added, more information is unlocked. It’s early days but already some interesting facts have come to light, and I will do a post about this in the near future.
UPDATE 20th May 2019: There are now over 200 instruments registered. Keep them coming in. I hope to do a post soon of some of the insights that are revealed from the registration of these 200 instruments.
This is a rare early 1917 Weymann Ukulele, very similar to a Martin Style 0 soprano ukulele. Style 0 indicates that the edge is unbound and this was not introduced by Martin until 1921/22.
Originally I thought this was a 1914 Ukulele, but after contacting ukulele aficionado Tom Walsh*, he questioned the information this dating was based on. I now agree with him and believe this is a 1917 Weymann made instrument. However this is still a rare early stateside made ukulele. (please see more about this in the dating section below).
*Tom Walsh co-authored the book: “The Martin Ukulele: The Little Instrument That Helped Create a Guitar Giant” and is a director of The Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum.
Jim Temple, halfway ‘round the world (in Texas) from where I live in Brisbane, Australia, bought a little uke years ago and was amazed by its sound. He’d played it for several years before he was finally able to identify it with help from a visit to my website. He’s dang near 80 years old but he said he will remain a member of our Weymann family so long as he has breath!
When his father died in 1888 and Frank Henry Martin took over the mantle as the head of C.F. Martin & Co, the company was dealing with a distribution problem. C.A. Zoebisch & Sons had exclusive distribution rights to all Martin instruments and Frank Martin did not think they were devoting sufficient effort to promote their guitars.
At that time, H.A. Weymann & Son were retailers and had been purchasing Martin guitars from Zoebisch & Sons and selling them in their shop (see c.1890 Weymann retail catalogue).