1960's Anton Sandner/Balzer 16 inch Archtop (Fully restored)

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Anton Sandner-Balzer was the son of Franz Sandner who started making instruments in Schonbach in 1924 and later moved to Nauheim where the family business is still located. Anton was taught by his father and was an accomplished violin and guitar maker running a small workshop also in Nauheim.


This fine archtop, which has a 16” inch lower bout, is truly impressively made and features a typical color scheme and generous use of pearloid decorations such as you'll tend to see on many fine German archtops. Based in it's appearance I would guess that this instrument was made in the 1960's. A nice detail I haven't seen on this type of instruments before is the small oval soundhole allongside the cat-eye sound ports which you may well recognise from other German makers. (The Hoyer Special comes too mind for instance.)


The guitar has been fully restored in my workshop and is in superb condition with a strong projecting acoustic voice worthy of competing with it's American made counterparts. There is a jack-socket located on the treble side of the guitar, so it's had a pickup on at some point, and this can again be installed with ease should you prefer. I've decided to keep it acoustic now and let the new owner decide. This would make a terrific rhythim guitar for old-style jazz, and it's also suitable for a more delicate style of playing were you intenting to use it unamplified.


The restoration included a reconstruction of the heel (see photo's 11 to 14) of the neck which it some point in the guitars life crack and was “repaired” by forcing two screws through the fretboard (!) all the way down to the heel by means to hold everything together.. I've removed the neck and carefully restructured the heel after which I refinish the repaired area and blended it with the original finish. There is no visible evidence of the repair, except if you look closely you'll see two ebony dowels in the fretboard at the 14thfret which I've used to fill the holes the screws had left.


The neck has been reset to the right angle so it now plays perfectly again with plenty of room to adjust the action to your preference. Also a centerseam crack on the top has been repaired and a previous crack repair on the bass side of the upper bout was slightly touched up. The original bridge was to low (probably shaved down in an attempt to postpone a much needed neck-reset) so I've used to bottom plate of the original one, but made a new wooden bridge/saddle to reach the desired height.


Overall this guitar is still in outstanding condition considering it's age. The finish has some nice checking which add some beautiful patina.The original frets show very little wear and the original tuners feel very smooth.