Documenting history as well as my experiences with repairing and restoring vintage guitars.

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Chicago c.1960 Image Credit 12/5/19: Now expanded to include manufacturers outside of Chicago. About This list is the culmination ...

20th Century Guitar Brand Names and Aliases

Chicago c.1960
Image Credit

12/5/19:
Now expanded to include manufacturers outside of Chicago.

About
This list is the culmination of my research into the brand names that hundreds of guitars were sold under during the early and mid 1900s. I am focusing exclusively on American-built instruments with a focus on the Chicago manufacturers but will also include other American manufacturers as I see fit.

Sources would be a mile long and most of this information was gathered as I come across listings on various marketplaces or encounter guitars in person. So I do not have sources or pictures for many of the instruments that I have documented, unfortunately, but feel free to send me pictures of your instrument if you are unsure about its origin or want to add another manufacturer to the list.

Special credit to JediStar and Jake Wildwood as their websites have served as great references. Also Reverb and Ebay for having such a variety of instruments for me to scour for new brand names


Brand

Distributor

Built By

Years Produced

Kay

Harmony

Regal

United

Other...

A. Rogers

Selmer UK

Y

1930s-40s

Airline

Montgomery Ward

Y

Y

Valco

1958-1968

Alden

Aldens

Y

1960s

Aloha

Y

1930s

Ambassador

Y

1930s

Amplificator

Y

1960s

Apollo

St Louis Music

Y

1930s

Arch Kraft

Vitak-Elsnic Co

Y

1933-1937

Armstrong

Y

1940s

Artex

Metropolitan Music, NY

Y

1930s

Artist

St Louis Music Supply Co

Y

1930s

Astro

Y

1970s

Barclay

Unity Buying Service

Y

Y

1950s-1960s

Beltone

Perlberg & Halpin (1930s)

Sorkin Music Co

Y

Y

Egmond

1940s-1950s

Biltmore

Vitak-Elsnic

Y

1930s-1940s

Black Jack

Harris-Fandel

Y

1950s-60s

Broman

Broman

Y

1930s-1950s.

Bronson

Bronson

1930s

Bruno

Y

1930s-1950s

Buckeye

Y

1950s

California

Y

1950s

Carelli

Y

1930s

Challenger

Continental Music

Y

1940s

Catalina

Abercrombie and Fitch

Y

1950s-1960s

Century

St Louis Music Supply Co

Y

1930s

Champ

Jackson Guldan

1950s

Chimes

Y

1950s

Chris

Cunningham Music Studio

Jackson Guldan

1950s

Columbian

Selmer UK

Y

1930s-40s

Commander

Aldens

Y

Continental

Continental Music Company

Y

Y

1929-late 1940s, 1970s

Coronado

Gamble-Skogmo

Y

1960s

Cowboy Loye

Y

1930s

Crest

Sears

Y

Y

Late 1930s

Crestline

Y

1950s

Custom Kraft

St Louis Music Co

Y

Y

Valco

1936-1968

Dart

Jackson-Guldan

1950s

Dalanta

Y

1930s

De Kay

Dorn & Kirschner

Y

1930s

Del Oro

Spiegel

Y

?

1940s

Dynamic

Y

1950s

Elitone

Y

1950s

El Rancho

Sorkin Music Co

Y

Late 1950s

Encore

BF(??)

Y

Y

Y

1940s-1950s

Epitome

Federated Teachers Service Corp.

Y

1940s

Esquire

Selmer Indiana

Y

1938

Fascinator

Tonk Brothers

Y

1930s

Fender

Fender Musical Instruments

Y

1970s

Fischer

Carl Fischer Catalog

Y

Y

1929-1936

1950s

Franklin

Franklin Music House

Y

1930s

Futuramic

Y

1950s

Gagliano

Y

Y

Galaxy

Y

1960s

Galiano

Y

Y

Y

1940s

Gaylord

Barth-Feinberg

Y

1940s

G. B. Walters

Y

1930s-1950s

Go-Go

Jackson Guldan

1950s

Gondolier

Regal

Y

1930s

Granada

Y

1930s

Gregory’s

Gregory’s Music Center in

Plainfield, New Jersey

Y

1950s

Gretsch

Gretsch

Y

Late 1940s

Groehsl

Y

1918-1921

Heath

Heathkit

Y

1960s

Henson

Y

1940s

Holiday

Aldens

Y

Y

1960s

Hollywood

Schireson Brothers

Y

1933

Hootenanny

Jackson Guldan

1963-?

Howard

Y

1950s

Jay G

Jackson Guldan

1950s

Jay Johnson

Y

Kamico

Kay

Y

1947-1951

Kay Kraft

Kay

Y

1927-1937

Kaywood

Kay

Y

1934

Kenmore

Y

1930s

Kleartone

Grossman Brothers

Y

1930s

Kingston

Wurlitzer

Y

1930s

Kord

Y

1940s

Lark Jr

Y

Y

1930s-1950s

Leban

Y

1950s

Lee Gibbs / Concertone

Montgomery Ward

Y

Y

1914-1940s

LeiLani

Y

1938-1939

Liberty

Continental Music Co

Y

War time 1940s

Lombardi

Y

1930s-1940s

Lyra

Y

1940s-1950s

Magnus

Y

1970s

Manhattan

Selmer Indiana

Y

1938-1940

Marathon

Southland Musical Merchandise Co

Y

1950-1960s

Mark IV

Valco-era Kay

1968-1969

Marvel

Peter Sorkin Co

Y

Y

1940s-1970s

Marveltone

Targ and Dinner Music Co.

Y

Y

Y

Y

1926-1969

Marwin

Barth-Feinberg

Y

Y

Y

1940s-1960s

Master

Beare & Son

Y

1940s-1950s

Master Art

Y

Mayflower

Stromberg-Voisinet

Y

1920s

McKinney

Y

Mel Bay

Mel Bay Music Center

Y

1940s

Melody King

Bronson Music Co

Y

Y

1931-?

Melofone

Y

1930s

Melofonic

Y

Mercury

Jackson Guldan

1950s

Metro

Y

1940s

Minerva

Eaton’s Canada

Y

Mitchel

Y

1950s

Montclair

J. C. Penney

Y

Y

1950s-1960s

Nobility

Y

1930s-1940s

Norwood

Jackson Guldan

1950s

Oahu

Oahu Publishing Company

Y

Y

Jackson-Guldan

1927-1950s

Old Kraftsman

Spiegel

Y

1942-1960s

Opus

Harmony

Y

1974-1975

Orpheum

Maurice Lipsky Music Co

Y

Y

Y

1930s-1950s

Orpheus

Y

Y

1930s-1950s

Paramount

William Lange Banjo Co

Y

Y

Penn

Pennino Music Co.

Y

1950s

Penncrest

J.C. Penney

Y

1963-1969

Playtime

Sears

Y

Y

1940s

Prairie Voice

The Calgary Stampede

Y

Premier

Peter Sorkin Music Co

Y

Y

Y

1950s

Radio Star

Y

Y

1930s-1940s

Radiotone

Dallas Musical Instruments

Y

1930s

Recording King

Montgomery Ward

Y

Gibson

1930s

Regal

Y

Y

1896-1975

Rex

Gretsch

Y

Y

1930s-1940s

Rhapsody

Y

Ridgmount

Dallas Musical Instruments

Y

1930s

Rotary DeLuxe

Rotary Club

Y

Y

1930s

Royalist

RCA Victor

Y

1950s

Santacilla

Y

1950s

Serenader

Buegeleisen and Jacobson

Y

Y

S. S. Maxwell

Y

Y

1930s

Sherwood

Montgomery Ward

Y

1940s-1960s

Sierra

Y

1950s

Silvertone

Sears

Y

Y

Y

Italian mfg. Eko

1930s-1970s

Sonata

Y

Y

1940s

Stadium

Y

Y

Jackson Guldan

1940s-50s

Stella

Oscar Schmidt,

Harmony (post-1939)

Y

1899-1970s

S. S. Stewart

Buegeleisen and Jacobson

Y

Y

1930s-1950s

Sterling

Tonk Brothers

Y

1930s

Stoner

Y

1930s

Stromberg

Y

1921-1932

Superior

Y

1950s

Supertone

Sears

Y

Y

1914-1941

Suprema

Eaton’s Canada

Y

Y

1930s

Supro

Valco

Y

1968-9

Sylvia

Y

1960s

Symphony

Y

1930s

Tarrega

One-off for Irene Lorence

Y

1947

Telleno

Y

Jackson-Guldan

1950s-1960s

Tempo

Y

1950s-1960s

Tone King

Y

Tower

Y

Truetone

Western Auto

Y

Y

1950s-1960s

Tuxedo

Y

1930s-ish

US Strad

Y

1940s

Valencia

Harmony

Y

1940s

Vaquero

Spiegel

Y

1936-1938

Vega

Y

1960s

Vibratone

St Louis Music Co

Y

Y

1940s

Vita Uke

Y

Vitar

Y

Wabash

David Wexler Company

Y

Y

Y

1947-1969

Ward

Montgomery Ward

Y

1925-1961

Webster

Y

Y

1940s-1950s

Weymann

Y

Y

Windsor

Montgomery Ward

Y

Y

1930s

Wizard

Y

Zenith

Dallas Musical Instruments

Y

Y

1930s