logo

Projects: Radiotone 7812

Click on the images to view a larger version.

This mid-1930s Radiotone 7812 is the sort of instrument big band jazz guitarists bought in the UK - Gibsons and other high end American instruments were rarely available (or affordable).

Radiotones were made in Schönbach, a small town in Czechoslovakia (today Luby u Chebu in the Czech Republic), which was an important lutherie centre before World War 2. It's a proper carved top archtop, which makes more than a nod in the direction of Gibson's L-5 and L-7 models. Solid spruce top, flame maple back and sides and the ebony on the fingerboard is of a quality you just can't find these days. Interestingly, the end pin was the termination of a steel rod that went right through the body and engaged with a threaded insert in the heel block. This wasn't used to adjust the action as the neck joint was a glued mortice and tenon type, but rather to ensure stability.

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812

Unfortunately it hadn't worn its years easily - the finish had been stripped off in the 1970s, the celluloid binding was missing or replaced with bits of wood, there were numerous separations between front, back and sides and the headstock faceplate was lifting off. The neck joint was loose and the action at the 12th fret was approximately 1.5 inches!

The brief was a full restoration, but without attempting to remove all the evidence of its years.

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812

Radiotone 7812