Arthur Robb

Extraordinary and Unique Projects

owned and played by Julian Bream

In 2023 I was contacted by the Julian Bream Trust. They asked me to repair a 10 course lute made by Luc Breton of Switzerland which Julian Bream had owned and played.

 bream repair  bream repair  bream repair

The soundboard had several cracks which were accessed by lifting a portion of the soundboard. I was surprised to see that the glue used by Monsieur Breton was cascamite, but it seems this was common with Bream's lutes.

The lute will be exhibited in the Dorset Museum in Dorchester
alongside the Thomas Hardy exhibition, which includes Hardy's own violin.

made and/or sold by
Zeitter & Perkins

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An unusual London-made guitar that was owned by the client's grandfather, Herbert (Bert) Reed (1866 - 1946). He lived in Canonbury and then in Haringey, both in North London, before retiring to Letchworth Garden City. He worked as a railway accounts clerk at the Railway Clearing House next to Euston Station. It is not known over what time period he repaired guitars.

The label reads:
Inventors and Makers,
of the
Portland Place.

euphonic guitar

The makers and/or sellers of this guitar, Zeitter & Perkins, are listed in The Association of Blind Piano Tuners's list of piano makers in London as active from 1833 to 1846.

List of London Piano Makers in 1800's

Jacob Zeitter has an 1833 patent for piano 'sounding board bars made of two or more pieces'. Zeitter pianos are still available today as Zeitter and Winkelmann.

Zeitter & Perkins certainly did try to invent a new variant of the classical guitar. The use of faceted sides of the instrument did away with the need for bending wood, but I am not certain that the result is less complicated.

euphonic guitar

The nut consists of six height-adjustable threaded metal string holders.

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The bridge uses the same threaded string holders as well as hooks in a method reminiscent of floating bridges, although this bridge is fixed.

euphonic guitar

The string anchorage has been lost and although the owners remember that it did exist, they do not remember what it was. Its position is marked by six holes in the soundboard just below the bridge.

The entire body and neck is covered with a beautiful birds-eye maple veneer. The inner side panels and back are made from good quality mahogany and the soundboard is spruce or pine. The neck and head are also veneered and there are good quality Baker machine heads.

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The frets are made from extruded metal and are not cut from a sheet.

When the Euphonic Guitar arrived in the workshop, it was extremely fragile. Pieces were very loosely attached. Simply removing the guitar from its case caused more pieces to come loose and very soon the guitar would no longer fit in its case. Also many small pieces were found loose inside of the body of the guitar. It the end, four large segments of the sides also came away. This was actually fortunate as it allowed me to do many repairs inside the body without the need to remove the back.

The photo below gives an idea of how many pieces needed to be relocated then glued in place. It does not show all the loose bars found inside the guitar. As I glued pieces together, the guitar steadily became more sturdy.

euphonic guitar

I spent some time reattaching bars inside the body, gluing little pieces to their original position and replacing loose side panels. I lost track of the number of gluing sessions and used nearly every clamp I owned. The glue used was granulated hide glue from Beare & Son Ltd.

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Eventually the guitar was strong enough to moved and was returned to the safety of its coffin case. The intention was never to restore the guitar to playing condition as the mechanism for attaching strings to the instrument had been lost. To do further research on the instrument or display it, it needed to be much less fragile.

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The owner does not wish to sell the guitar but would be happy to loan it to a museum, collection or society for display or research.

I can find no connection with the similarly named Euphonica, invented by patented in 1886 in the USA by Robert F. Flemming Jr. It was given a US Patent in 1886. Below, a drawing of the Euphonica.


I suspect this Euphonic guitar is earlier and closely associated with the date
when the inventors were active in London, 1833 to 1846.