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

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Manufactured in Hudson, N.C. U.S.A Administrative Office: Palco Products 15 W. 20th St. N.Y. 10011 Image Source:  Ebay - lilmels  About Palc...

Palco Products Co - New York

Manufactured in Hudson, N.C. U.S.A
Administrative Office: Palco Products 15 W. 20th St. N.Y. 10011
Image Source: Ebay - lilmels


Palco is a relatively unknown firm, I haven't seen many of their instruments come up for sale and, by all appearances, the instruments seem to sit in a tier below even Kay and Harmony.

According to a 1966 issue of Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries, Palco Products Co was established in 1962 and in the business of importing and manufacturing 'all types of guitars and amplifiers' with two 'featured' brand names: Douglas and Duke. That same issue lists their home office as being at 323 Oxford Road in New Rochelle, New York which is contradicted by the 1965 issue and numerous other contemporary sources which mention Room 829 of 15 W. 20th Street in New York [1][3]. 15 West 20th Street is the address that appears on the labels of all the existing instruments I can find and seems to be their primary headquarters.

Palco Products Co was run by Samuel Steele (or Steel) and besides the New York office also had two manufacturing plants in Granite Falls and Hudson, North Carolina [2][3]. Both of these towns are quite small and rural, I haven't been able to identify where the manufacturers were located. I think it is very likely that Samuel contracted the instrument building work out to furniture or carpentry businesses.

The only previous information I can find on these are from a blurb on Worthpoint from an Ebay auction. I can see a few inaccuracies just on the Kay and Harmony side and the rest of the information appears to be a bit far fetched or just incorrect. The measurements are useful but I wouldn't take the rest of this to heart
Up for bids is this VERY rare Palco all hickory "Blues Box" acoustic Parlor guitar. This guitar was made in Hudson N.C.. The company lasted only about a year and produced very few guitars. Their aim was obviously to compete with the big Chicago manufacturers of the day; Harmony/Stella and Kay, that pretty much had the market sewn up. Unlike the Harmonys, Stellas and Kays that were made of birch with maple necks, this guitar is hickory including the neck and the original finish still shines. On a scale of 1-10, I rate this an 8.5. Very few nicks and scratches for its age and the neck is straight as an arrow with a very comfortable grip...unlike the Stella "tree trunks". Zero fret wear. Original tuners have been replaced with brand new Ping machines. {The old originals will be shipped along.} I think much of its life has been spent put away. Dimensions are: 37" Length X 13" Width Lower Bout X 3 5/8" Depth. 19 frets; 12 clear of the body. Many more photos available upon request.....guitar will be pro-packed with original gig bag and shipped UPS insured. Lower 48 states only. Thanks for viewing. 

They also filed for a trademark on "Toys-A-Poppin" which was a novelty toy involving caramel corn, honestly [5]. 


As mentioned, the build quality and materials of these instruments seems to fit more in the realm of builders like Jackson-Guldan and United Guitar Co. These instruments, usually, aren't highly regarded as functional guitars and bring pretty low prices (< $150) when put up for sale. 
Common Palco guitar model
Image Source: Ebay - lilmels

I found a photo of a Palco guitar with a break on the top revealing a plywood construction. The neck on this instrument is also set quite crooked to the body indicative of poor quality control. The fingerboard is painted black with soft brass frets which was economical and easy to crank out.

Image Source: - CBL88

The neck is an anonymous hardwood painted opaque brown with no visible pores. I suspect the timber to be poplar or sweet gum as they were very common budget neck woods and required no expensive pore filling. Regarding the claim of a hickory neck, I don't see how that would be economical or even be the best choice for the job. A hickory neck would be heavy, require a pore filling step, is notoriously tough on machinery, and a billet large enough for a neck would be pricy. All that work just to paint it brown just doesn't make sense. The tuners are typical mid to late 60s import units from Japan

Image Source: Ebay - lilmels

This instrument has a scroll decal on the body with the word 'Hickory' written in black script and, honestly, I think is where the idea that these guitars were made of hickory came from. It's far more likely that Hickory was the brand name of a distributor selling these guitars. Again the body is sprayed in an opaque burst so it doesn't make sense to use expensive hickory veneer just to hide it. There are cheaper and easier plywoods to work with

Image Source: Ebay - lilmels

The back is also sprayed opaque brown with some color variation added. The neck heel is distinctive from other manufacturers of the era and left quite blocky.

Image Source: Ebay - lilmels


[1] 1966 Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries - I purchased a subscription to the Music Trades Magazine which gave me access to their limited digital archives
[1] 1966 Piano Trade Magazine -
[2] 1966 Buyers Guide to the Piano Organ and General Music
[3] 1965 Purchasers Guide to the Music Industries

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