In 1910, Elmer Stromberg joined his father Charles in the musical instrument manufacturing business that he had established some five years earlier. Initially the company only produced drums and banjos but by the early 1930s it had added archtop guitars to its line.

Though Stromberg’s reputation is largely based on the 19-inch wide Master 300 and Master 400 models – loud enough to be heard over a dance band’s horn section (the Master 400 was the guitar of choice for Freddy Green with the Count Basie Orchestra) – the company also produced 16 and 17-inch guitars that clearly show the influence of the Gibson L-5.

Early Stromberg guitars have three-section f-holes, a pressed arched top, laminated back and sides and a combination of parallel and transverse top braces. Later the company switched a hand carved solid timber construction and Gibson style parallel top bracing. By the 1940s, the Deluxe, Master 300 and Master 400 models feature a single diagonal top brace.

The features of the guitar pictured here suggest that it was built in the late-1930s. Note its three-section f-holes, gold-plated hardware and laminated plastic headstock overlay engraved with the maker’s name.

Images courtesy of Rudy’s Music