FIRST HAWAIIAN CONSERVATORY of MUSIC 1920’s Koa Guitar: The Hilo

The First Hawaiian Conservatory of Music (FHCM) is an Oscar Schmidt label.
Read more the FHCM label here.

THE FHCM KOA HILO No.9-910:

1920’s All Koa FHCM Hilo Model guitar

The top of the range FHCM guitar is the Hilo model # 9-910.

I was fortunate to find this on ebay about 5 years ago. There was some damage to the rope binding on the back, and whilst the fingerboard still had the printed aids that all FHCM guitars had, it was snapped in two:

Original broken ebonized maple fingerboard

The other damage that was more serious was that some of the rope binding on the back was damaged and missing.  But the positives were the original tuners, koa pyramid bridge and abalone dot bridgepins were all there and in great condition (how often do you see all the original bridgepins in an almost 100 year old guitar?). Then there is that rich dark red Koawood.

I managed to search out and find Gurian Instruments, who could make inlay banding to match the damaged rope binding.  They were so professional and provided me with drawings until I was happy the binding would match.  From memory they had to do a minimum run of about 36″ lengths, which ended up enough to cover about 6 new guitars, but the cost was very reasonable for less than $150.  The repair worked out fine. Here are a few more photos:

Gurian Binding in 36″ lengths
Binding repair, even up close on the guitar it’s hard to see which is the new 6″ strip of binding.

Work undertaken: Neck reset, new ebony fingerboard and frets, a light coat of french polish to refresh finish. Some more photos after restoration:

 

This guitar has it’s own unique sound, I’m not much of a player so I won’t attempt to describe it, however I hope to have a youtube video up soon.

A couple of Hilo fans and former students of the Conservatory from the 1920’s or 30’s:

Lyman and Nellie Rice (Koloa Hawaiian Duetists)

And their letter of appreciation to FHCM for their Hilo Guitar:

 

RELATED POSTS:

FIRST HAWAIIAN CONSERVATORY of MUSIC- an Oscar Schmidt label, 1919-1935

FIRST HAWAIIAN CONSERVATORY of MUSIC 1930’s Birch Guitar

OSCAR SCHMIDT COMPANY – History and Guitars

Many Thanks
Charles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *