RICHTER 1930’s Hawaiian Stencil Guitar

This guitar has Mojo to burn! A great sounding ‘parlor’ sized guitar (24″ scale, lower bout 13 ½ “, upper bout 9 ½ “, overall Length 37”, nut width 1 ¾”) All Birch construction and a great sounding little guitar after restoration and modification.

It’s hard to see from the photos but there are names scratched all over this guitar: John, Helen, Mary, Emily, June, Nick, Steve, Irene, and ‘I love Mabel’.  Cool black stencil.  I’ve seen 2 other guitars the same as this come up on ebay over the years but the timber in those was considerably lighter in color.

It has a new 2 tone bridge (from Australian Gidgee hardwood), and new ebony fretboard.  Also I couldn’t resist keeping the black theme going with Graph Tech black TUSQ nut and saddle.

Richter were a Chicago company in business from 1920’s-1943. Notice the remnant of the Richter decal on the front, and the Richter name proudly impressed into the timber on the back of the distinctive ‘Gumby’ headstock. All of Richter’s guitars didn’t carry this distinctive headstock, they also made guitars for mail order companies and distributors which had a more standard one.  ‘Richter’ is also ink stamped on a piece of wood with a serial number and glued to the interior heel plate.  Standard practice I’m told. This guitar was sold by Montgomery Ward, hence the label inside this guitar.

I was surprised how good this guitar sounds once restored and has a very comfortable rounded neck.  It was one of my favorite guitars until I gifted it to one of my sons-in-law.

Work on this guitar included replacing the ladder bracing with X-bracing, a neck reset, and a new ebony fret board and a re-fret.


4 thoughts on “RICHTER 1930’s Hawaiian Stencil Guitar

  1. Hi , I just picked up one of these guitars built july 1930 and am replacing the fret board. Mine does not have the silk screening.What thickness fretboard did you use. Also what strings did you put on.
    Thanks you for your co-operation
    warmest regards

    1. A Standard 1/4″ (or 9/32″) fretboard works fine, then use a radius block. Because the neck will not have a truss rod it’s best to use extra lightweight strings such as Martins Silk and Steel but I prefer Thomastik-Infeld Plectrum Bronze Flat Wound/Bronze Round Wound Extra Light, .010 – .041. Good luck!

  2. My mother in-law has one of these with the original case, two instruction books, metal whistle tuner, thumb picks, and turtle shell picks. She’s wanting to get it appraised, but doesn’t know where to start.

    1. Hi Lonnie, I’m sorry your comment slipped under the radar. For valuations you can try George Gruhn, a very respected and authority on vintage guitars, website
      He use to charge $50 for valuations. If you google ‘Guitar Valuations’ you will most likely find others as well. I’m sorry to say the Richter is probably not worth that much more than a few hundred dollars from my experience, if it is in great shape maybe more. Once again sorry for the late reply. All the best, Charles

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