August Carlstedt Ideal guitar

This is an old bad conscience, has been in the room for about a year. For some reason it ended up next to and collected dust… otherwise a very interesting object both as an instrument and purely historical!

Did some research around August, (1861-1928), but has not been able to find much about him. What I do know is that he was an emigrant from Sweden who built his instruments in Chicago at the beginning of the last century. Found the following text: Carlstedt was a Swedish immigrant who ran a guitar-building workshop in Chicago in the early 20th century. He made guitars under the “Ideal” brand. This guitar is similar to some produced by the Larson Brothers, who were also Swedish immigrants, and is identical in body shape to the Larson Brothers “auditorium-sized” Maurer guitar, but with deeper sides.“Oh “If one Googles the name August Carlstedt, a Google books entry appears as a page from the book History of the Swedes of Illinois. There is a picture of a somewhat older August Carlstedt and the story of his starting his own guitar shop in 1895, having success and moving it to Crystal Lake, Illinois in 1903. Then he operated it until his death in the late 1920s. (I could not make a copy of this page.) ”. Also found a picture of him in his workshop and the picture from the book from 1908!


Another text says "Carlstedt made instruments under his name until 1908 and where stamped in ink". Inside the guitar you can guess an ink stamp with text on both the middle stick and on the neck block; “The Carlstedt guitar”. The guitar is later than 1903 when he moved to the Chicago area (on a piece of paper on the middle stick it says "Ideal Chicago"), would tip about 1910-1920. On the neck block I can faintly glimpse a serial number and "19" but the rest can not be read!

I suspect that August knew the Larsson brothers personally, they were all Swedish immigrants to the United States and built instruments at the same time and place. The ideal guitar has definitely been inspired by the Larsson brothers, the lid has a violent radius and also the bottom. The large radius of the lid was the Larsson brothers one of the first to experiment with. It has obviously worked well over the years, the Ideal guitar was completely without cracks in the body. The lid still had nice curvature in both directions.

The job that needed to be done was to put a carbon fiber rod in the neck, glue the stable, put the neck around, mill in a stable leg and mount a top saddle in the bone and glue a veneer piece on the head that came loose and a piece of celluloid strip that disappeared. When the fretboard in ebonised wood (walnut?) Shrank, it was replaced with a new one in real ebony. This guitar is nice and well built, but it is a budget variant. Looks like a Larsson but cheaper to buy when it went 😉 The mahogany was second sorting with twigs in both side and bottom, the ribs inside a little stronger than it needed to be and an unnecessarily long maple strip was under the stable to keep it. The stable was also in the same ebonized wood as the fretboard, but it was in good condition. In addition to cheap wood and simple ribs, it is well combined with the right thicknesses for everything. The tuning screws were also simple but very stable. Still works really well.

The neck was completely misaligned, I think the lid has risen. The rib in the form of a ladder V around the maple stick under the stable leaves parts of the lid without support. Had to pick drill almost 3 mm at the bottom of the neck foot to direct it towards a stable leg with 2-3 mm clearance above the stable (with original straps of 1 mm you would not have to straighten the neck as much). Took the opportunity to change the menstrual cycle from 61 cm to 61,2 so that an intonated stable leg would fit on the narrow pyramid stable. The fretboard had a 20 ″ radius, the original had a slightly more curve at the top and was almost flat from the 12th band. Varnished the neck but not the body with a coat of alcohol varnish.

The guitar sounds good, even though it had sounded better with new and smarter ribs in the lid. Now it is more original instead! Some dimensions, almost all exactly in centimeters 🙂

Total length: 92 cm
measure: 61 cm (61,2)
Lock: 23 - 18 - 32 cm
Page: 8,2 - 9,2 - 9,2
Grip board oversaddle / 12th belt: 46 and 57 mm
Weight: 1243 gram

Little finished pictures.

Some pictures showing how strong the lid and bottom were curved.

The V shaped ladder bracing in the lid.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *