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NMM 14414.  Guitar by Ervin Somogyi, Oakland, California, April 1980.
Modified Dreadnought model. Serial number 59.
Gift of Dream Guitars, Weaverville, North Carolina, 2009.

 NMM 14414.  Guitar by Ervin Somogyi, Oakland, California, April 1980

Ervin Somogyi, who immigrated from Budapest as a teenager, built his first guitar in 1971. He is widely respected as a luthier and instructor, and has published several books, as well as numerous articles about guitar making. His instruments command a premium as fine, hand-built modern American guitars, notable for their exceptional materials and workmanship. While this guitar is a relatively plain and early example, Somogyi’s later works have included extensive decoration in the form of inlays and delicately carved, lute-like roses. These techniques are also evident in Somogyi’s decorative artworks. The modified dreadnought is a signature Somogyi model, incorporating the influence of the classical guitar in the placement and tapering of the waist. A cutaway enables accessibility to the upper fingerboard, which facilitates a wide range of playing techniques.

Front, Back, and Side Views

Portrait of guitar Front of guitar Bass side of guitar Treble side of guitar Back of guitar

Inscriptions:  Printed in black ink on paper label with double-line border, the year and serial number written in black ink on banner over leaves in upper right corner of label: ERVIN [date and serial number in unfurling banner] 1980 No 59 / [Japanese honko signature stamped in red ink] SOMOGYI [maker's signature written in blue ink over SOMOGYI] / OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Written on inside of top, upper bass bout: IV – 80 / # 59

Stamped on Schaller tuner covers: S / Made in Germany

Soundhole Maker's label

Rosette:  dyed hardwood mosaic surrounded on each side with two bands of rosewood and light hardwood, and black-stained hardwood strips.

Front, Back, and Side Views of Peghead

Front of peghead Bass side of peghead Treble side of peghead Back of peghead

Head:  Spanish cedar peghead veneered with burled, open-pored light hardwood over black hardwood; scarf jointed onto neck under veneer.

Nut:  bone.

Tuners:  six chrome-plated-steel, Schaller-covered, worm-gear machine tuners with ebony heads.

Front, Back, and Side Views of Neck

Front of neck Bass side of neck Back of neck

Neck:  Spanish cedar.

Fingerboard:  ebony; 21 nickel-silver frets; single-slotted diamonds behind 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 15th and 18th frets; double-slotted diamonds behind 12th fret.

Views of Neck Heel

Neck heel, view 1 Neck heel, view 2 Neck heel, view 3

Heel cap:  ebony inlaid with mother-of-pearl, slotted diamond with light and dark hardwood trim on inside edge.

Front, Back, Side, and Lower End of Body

Front of body Bass side of body Treble side of body Back of body

Lower end of body

Stringing:  six steel strings.

Soundboard:  two-piece spruce, fine grain.

Back:  two-piece, book-matched, figured Indian rosewood; rosewood back stripe surrounded on each side by light and black hardwood strips.

Ribs:  two-piece Indian rosewood divided by rosewood end graft surrounded on each side by light and black hardwood strips; end graft wider at top; four small rosewood plugs in bass rib near neck (under finish).

Binding:  rosewood with rosewood trim surrounded on each side by light and black hardwood strips on top and ribs; rosewood with light hardwood trim on back and light and dark hardwood trims on ribs.

Endpin:  brass jack plug.

Finish:  clear.

Linings:  kerfed Spanish cedar.

Neck block:  Spanish cedar; rounded profile.

End block:  Spanish cedar; rounded profile.

Top braces:  spruce X-brace; cross braces above and below soundhole; two transverse braces below X, two transverse braces on each side of X; rosewood bridge plate.

Back braces:  Spanish cedar back graft; three Spanish cedar back braces.



Bridge:  Brazilian rosewood with belly and decoratively carved lower edge; bone compensated saddle; bone pins with abalone eyes.


Total guitar length:  1049 mm (41-5/16")
Back length:  513 mm (20-3/16")
Upper bout width:  302 mm (11-29/32")
Waist width:  266 mm (10-15/32")
Lower bout width:  406 mm (16")
Rib height (including edging) at heel:  102 mm (4")
Rib height, at waist:  111 mm (4-3/8")
Rib height, at end block:  125 mm (4-15/16")
Head length:  184 mm (7-1/4")
Head width, top:  75 mm (2-31/32")
Head width, bottom:  69 mm (2-23/32")
Neck length (nut to ribs):  353 mm (13-29/32")
Neck width, nut:  46 mm (1-13/16")
Neck width, heel:  56 mm (2-3/16")
Soundhole diameter:  103 mm (4-1/32")
Vibrating string length (nut to bridge edge):  high E:  645 mm (25-3/8"); low E:  647 mm (25-15/32")

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