H.A. Weymann (pronounced ‘Y’man) 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.
H.A. Weymann and Son made a limited amount of guitars from the 1890’s until the 1930’s. After that they did start to ‘job’ out their guitar manufacture. But guitars that they made have ‘manufactured by’ on their distinctive gold decal labels at the back of the headstock (more about these gold decals in a later post).
There is conjecture that C.F Martin and Co. made guitars for them as they are so well crafted and the construction looks very much like Martins at times. But this is not true. Martin have kept detailed records and they never made any guitars for H.A. Weymann and Son. They did make a few hundred ukuleles for them in the 1920’s but never any guitars (also more about this in a later post).
Weymann guitars have their own distinctive qualities. The headstocks usually have a more acute angle that other makers and the soundholes are slightly smaller (although not always). They are very lightly braced and they have a tenon neck joint instead of a dovetail. They are also very loud. One player describes how “these features give Weymann guitars their unique tone, focused volume and play-ability. They are so resonant that you can even hear their sound emanating from the fingerboard because the whole guitar vibrates.”
The more high end Weymann guitars are exquisite instruments. Many of these are X-braced instead of ladder braced. They carry the ‘Highest Grade’ on the label. Sadly I do not own any of these but I do have photos of many of these ‘Highest Grade” guitars to share in later posts. But still I do like the smaller more basic models they made as well. Their constant care and craftsmanship that they put into their higher end instruments also went into them.
Also I believe that I am now able to date these instruments accurately from the serial numbers, all except for their very early years of production. There is little doubt that all the Weymann guitars, banjos, mandolins, mandolutes, ukuleles etc. are in the same serial number sequence.
(I welcome and encourage comments and questions on all blogs).