06-24-2020 07-14-2020
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3406T Marlborough
June 24, 2020 12:00 PM - July 14, 2020 07:00 PMCalender

Thomas Humphrey Steel-string Acoustic Guitar, 1974

Auction: Musical Instruments - 3406T Location: Marlborough Date / Time: June 24, 2020 12:00PM


Thomas Humphrey Steel-string Acoustic Guitar, 1974, bearing the maker's signed label, with hardshell case and Railroad Earth band/crew all-access pass.

Provenance: The estate of Andy Goessling (Railroad Earth); a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this lot to benefit MusiCares, providing a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need, including our peers in the music community affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

N.B. According to Andy's brother, Dave Goessling:

"Thomas Humphrey was of course a well-known innovative builder of classical guitars.

He developed the widely used Millennium guitar, with a new shape and, in particular, a new method of internal bracing.
This guitar, whcih was custom built for Andy, incorporates some of his early experiments in the development of that bracing. In addition, it's one of the few (not sure how may) steel string guitars he made. I believe this is an important guitar.

Andy met Mr. Humphrey on a family trip to New York in the early 1970s. We were walking around Greenwich Village, near Bleecker St. I had been playing guitar for a while, and Andy had started his interest in stringed instruments and woodworking. Thomas had shop on, I think, Carmine or Leroy St, in the basement. We noticed guitars hanging in the window of the dusty shop, and poked our heads in. Andy was immediately fascinated with the shop, and started asking questions. My Mom of course encouraged this. Thomas was struck by this inquisitive and obviously knowledgeable kid. They became friends and as he got more into instruments, Andy would call and ask him questions.

Andy really started playing bluegrass in the early 70s, after hooking up with the NJ Folk Project scene, including
the players in Bottle Hill, Henry Queen, etc. and that led to his involvement with The Loose Connection, Lost World String band, and ultimately Blue Sparks from Hell, etc.
He really wanted a good bluegrass guitar, but couldn't afford a Martin at the time. My grandfather always sent us some money on our birthdays. In about 1973 Andy asked my Mom if he could use that money to have Thomas Humphrey build him a steel string guitar. I recall that Tom was resistant at first because he wasn't really familiar with steel string guitar designs,

It's obvious that this guitar combines the sizing of a classical guitar on the upper boughts vs. a dreadnought in the bottom. And, it has a flat, wide, classical style fingerboard with no inlays. A unique design, unlike other Martin or Guild style guitars. This guitar is LOUD. It is, as the bluegrassers say, "a cannon".

Andy played it for years in various bands. He used it when he won the Waterloo Bluegrass Festival flatpicking contest when he was 16 in, I think, 1975. Over the years he of course bought others, and this guitar took a back seat. I think he did use it on the Secret Admirers record though, possibly on the song Old Times."
Estimate $1,500-2,500

Top cracks at lower block and bass side of lower bout.

Items may have wear and tear, imperfections, or the effects of aging. Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Martin, Thomas Humphrey, Tom, Hill, Dave Goessling, Leroy St, Henry Queen, Andy Goessling, Carmine, Humphrey