House brand guitars were typically built by a large guitar company and branded with another name. This happened quite often with mail order catalogs between the 1920s and the 1960s, where they would have guitar companies build guitars and other instruments under their own name
I was hoping you could help me find information about my grandfather’s archtop guitar, a “KlearTone Jewel.” I would like to do some work on it to make it playable but need to make sure that it doesn’t have any collector value first! There isn’t anything printed on the inside or outside to identify this guitar and I cannot find any information elsewhere. The top is laminated, and the headpiece has a “KlearTone Jewel” graphic stuck on.
I’m not sure what is more intriguing – the guitar or the cool Coke blanket! In the guitar business, we would refer to “KlearTone” as a house brand. House brand guitars were typically built by a large guitar company and branded with another name. This happened quite often with mail order catalogs between the 1920s and the 1960s, where they would have guitar companies build guitars and other instruments under their own name (think Silvertone guitars built by Danelectro for the Sears & Roebuck Company). KlearTone guitars were actually built by some of the larger guitar manufacturers during the 1920s and 1930s including Regal, Gibson, Kay, and Harmony. Most KlearTone instruments are acoustic archtops, but other variations exist as well, and they were distributed by Grossman Brothers of Cleveland, OH.
Your guitar is a fine example of their acoustic archtop line with a fancy headstock. KlearTones are known for their ornate headstocks and misspelled name (Cleartone vs. KlearTone). Like many house brand instruments, specifications about these guitars are very limited. Since some of these instruments were built by Gibson (and there is a chance yours was), select KlearTones are desirable. It seems any guitar built or associated with Gibson is worth a premium these days. Regardless, I’ve seen these guitars sell from anywhere between $50 and $1,000. Your model appears to be pretty clean, and aside from a good cleaning, restringing, and set up, it is ready to go. I would value your guitar between $500 and $800, but a lot of that depends on if Gibson made it or not. If it was built by Regal, Harmony, or Kay it would be worth less. This guitar may not be the treasure you are looking for, but it has quite a bit of potential as a player. For more information on house brands, refer to the Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars.
I’ve had quite a few inquires about identifying and evaluating guitars. Next month, I’m going to start a series of articles dedicated to how to correctly identify and assess your guitar – in other words, determine if it is Trash or Treasure! Also, if you have a certain guitar or manufacturer that you are looking for information on, do not hesitate to contact me – I’ll see what I can dig up!
Zach Fjestad is the author of the Blue Book of Electric Guitars, Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars, and Blue Book of Guitar Amplifiers. These publications are available through Blue Book Publications. Guitar Trash or Treasure questions can be submitted to:
Blue Book Publications
Attn: Guitar Trash or Treasure
8009 34th Ave. Ste #175
Minneapolis, MN 55425
Please include pictures of your guitars.
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more!
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.
Dunable announce new Minotaur model featuring Grover Rotomatic Keystone tuners.
The Minotaur's DNA is rooted in their classic Moonflower model, which Dunable discontinued in 2017. However, they have long since wanted to create a fresh take on a carved top guitar design, and various attempts to rework the Moonflower led them to a brand new concept with the Minotuar.
Dunable's goal is to give the player a guitar that plays fast and smooth, sounds amazing, and gives maximum physical ergonomic comfort. The Minotaur's soft and meticulous contours, simple and effective control layout, and 25.5" scale length are designed to easily meet this criteria.
- 25.5" scale length
- Dual Humbucker
- one volume, one tone, push pull for coil splitting
- Grover Rotomatic Keystone tuners
- Grover Tune O Matic bridge with brass Kluson top-mount tailpiece
- jumbo nickel frets
- 12" fretboard radius
This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
Adding to the company’s line of premium-quality effects pedals, Missing Link Audio has unleashed the new AC/Overdrive pedal. This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal – the only Angus & Malcom all-in-one stompbox on the market – brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
The AC/OD layout has three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone. That user-friendly format is perfect for quickly getting your ideal tone, and it also offers a ton of versatility. MLA’s new AC/OD absolutely nails the Angus tone from the days of “High Voltage” to "Back in Black”. You can also easily dial inMalcom with the turn of a knob. The pedal covers a broad range of sonic terrain, from boost to hot overdrive to complete tube-like saturation. The pedal is designed to leave on all the time and is very touch responsive. You can get everything from fat rhythm tones to a perfect lead tone just by using your guitar’s volume knob and your right-hand attack.
- Three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone
- Die-cast aluminum cases for gig-worthy durability
- Limited lifetime warranty
- True bypass on/off switch
- 9-volt DC input
- Made in the USA