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(This web page originally appeared as an article in the Washington Guitar Society newsletter No. 39, July 1998.)

The guitar in an early Sears catalog - Round 2
Fall 1896-97

Virtually everything in the Fall 1896-97 Sears Catalog relating to the guitar has been extracted and is presented on this page.

Just as the first batch of guitar-related material appeared identically in at least three consecutive Sears catalogs (1894, 1895 and Fall 1896), the material extracted here appeared in two: Fall 1896-97 and Spring 1897. As was the case in the first round, all of the advertised guitars are gut string guitars.

An ellipsis in brackets [...] indicates snipping of material not related to the guitar. Most of the bold-facing shown here mimics the print style in the catalog, such as for the guitar names. I added the bold-facing to the names of the music publications. [Comments by me are shown in brackets.]

SEARS, ROEBUCK & CO., (Incorporated), Cheapest Supply House on Earth, Chicago.

12 FROM 1000.

    Much time and money have been spent by our experienced buyer in examining over a thousand samples of guitars and from all the vast array of instruments, good, bad and indifferent, he has selected twelve of the choicest, made by the acknowledged leading manufacturer of the world. No sharper contrast exists between the heaped-up-profit prices of the retailer and our Factory-to-Consumer prices than on Guitars. Our cash purchases of guitars to meet the season's demands exceed the combined yearly purchase of hundreds of retailers. Furthermore, buying direct from the factory, and not from the wholesaler as in the retailer's case, we have a further immense advantage. Buying for spot cash, the manufacturer is absolutely safe from bad accounts. These three important facts secure to us, prices that no retailer can even approach, and enable us to place these elegant guitars in your hands at the actual cost to make, with only one small margin of profit added. Aside from the matter of price, the quality is beyond criticism. In fact, few retail dealers outside of very large cities, carry in stock such elegant instruments as are herein illustrated and described. The manufacturer has a reputation for superior goods that is second to none. The fact is that the name of the maker is so widely known and the products of the factory have become so justly famous, that the mere name is sufficient guarantee of the superb quality.
    Every scrap of wood that enters into the construction of these guitars has been seasoned in the drying rooms of the factory for from one to two years, thus insuring the instrument against cracking or checking in any climate. The most expert workmen only are employed. The skilled artisans in our factory are amongst the highest salaried workmen in the world. Material and workmanship are absolutely guaranteed, and we warrant each instrument for one year. No other house can compete with us on price and no other concern can meet our liberal terms.
    On receipt of $1.00 we send any guitar C. O. D., subject to examination. You have the privilege of making a rigid examination of the instrument, and if you find it just as represented and satisfactory in every respect, pay the express agent the balance with express charges and the guitar is yours.
    THIS LIBERAL OFFER is intended for the benefit of those who are not acquainted with our house and our business integrity. Old customers almost invariably send full cash in advance, thus taking advantage of our 3 per cent. cash discount, which we allow on all orders accompanied with full amount.


    Anybody can learn to play without a teacher. We include a complete instruction book free. Full set of strings with each guitar. Every instrument comes ready to play. On account of the general inferiority of imported Guitars and the constant tendency of some to check and crack, we have entirely ceased carrying them in stock. We hence quote below only the American made instrument, the finest in the world.
    Bear in mind that even after the acceptance of any guitar, you are extended the privilege of returning the instrument prepaid, after 5 days' fair and honest trial, if it does not meet your requirements. We shall refund your money in full in such a case, or will send another instrument as you may wish. We desire in all cases that you shall be entirely pleased with each and every purchase.

Our Spanish Guitar, No. 7100.

    No. 7100. Our Spanish Guitar. American make. The best low priced guitar on the American Market. Not only well constructed and handsome in appearance, but made to withstand all climates. So far as quality and tone is concerned, it will far exceed the expectations of the most critical buyer. We can safely say that this instrument is far superior to other makes, retailed at double our price. Has select birch back and sides, finished in imitation mahogany, with imitation cedar neck, accurately fretted, inlaid sound hole, and patent head. Weight packed, 15 lbs. Our price, each.....$3.95
    No. 7101. Our Columbian Standard American Guitar. Regular size, solid birch back and sides, fine rosewood finish, colored wood inlaying around sound hole, ebonized finger board, position dots. We caution intending purchasers against imitations of this instrument. While it is true that imitation is the sincerest flattery, it is also true that the imitation is always inferior to the original. Weight, boxed, 15 lbs. Our Special price.....$5.20

Our Euterpe Guitar, No. 7102.

    No. 7102. Our "Euterpe" Guitar, made in selected quartered oak, a most desirable and resonant wood when selected and properly prepared. The finish is extremely handsome; the scale is perfect; the neck delicately proportioned; the patent head is of American make and the best in the world. The strings furnished are of the very best quality. Our old customers who have purchased this guitar have been delighted with it and pronounce it far superior to any instrument ever seen at anything near our price. As stated, it has solid quartered oak back and sides, antique finish, inlaid around sound hole, ebonized fingerboard, position dots, orange top, patent head, standard size. Weight, boxed, 15 lbs. Our price.....$5.75

    No. 7103. We have the same instrument as Guitar No. 7102 above described, but in special concert size. The concert size is a much larger instrument than the regular size and possesses a much more powerful tone. A size especially in favor with professionals. Weight, boxed, 18 lbs. Our Special price.....$10.65
    Bear in mind our liberal C. O. D. terms. We ship any guitar C. O. D., subject to examination. Note terms at head of the page. You will find a full line of guitar cases and all other furnishings further on.
    No. 7104. Our "Collegian" Guitar. A guaranteed guitar that is the most thoroughly satisfactory low priced instrument ever put on the market. As with all our guitars, this instrument is warranted for one year. Instruction book with each guitar. This beautifully modeled guitar is made of quartered sycamore, the stock being selected from handsomely figured wood. The instrument is most attractive in appearance. It is finished in imitation rosewood and mahogany, and is neatly inlaid around sound hole. The neck is imitation cherry, nicely finished, ebonized finger board, position dots, with patent machine head of American make. We present the "Collegian" as the best guitar for anything like the price that has ever been offered. The tone is remarkably good for such a low priced instrument, and the general apearance is such as to command for it immediate recognition. Weight, boxed, about 15 lbs. Our Special price.....$6.45
    No. 7105. Our "Famous" Guitar. This instrument is made by a celebrated manufacturer whose guitars have a world wide reputation. Absolutely guaranteed to stand all climates. Is made of the finest bird's-eye maple sides and back with beautiful cedar front. Dark rosewood oval fingerboard. Inlaid sound hole and position dots. Patent machine head. One of the most beautiful guitars made. You would pay $20.00 or $25.00 for a guitar at retail, and not secure an instrument so fine in construction or perfect in tone. Weight, boxed, 15 lbs. Our Special price.....$9.65
    See another page for guitar strings and other furnishings.

The Troubadour, No. 7106.

    No. 7106. The "Troubadour" was the first mahogany guitar to score a success. Previous to its appearance, the few instruments that had been offered in this wood had proven failures; but the "Troubadour" with its splendid tone, neat and substantial appearance, fine finish and absolutely correct scale, leaped at once into public favor and is now one of the standard guitars of the country. The result was that many cheap dealers began to copy it, and now these imitations are legion. The best of them is not for a moment to be compared with the original and reliable "Troubadour." Be sure to see and try this guitar, you will buy no other. "Troubadour," solid mahogany back and sides. Brazillian cedar neck, ebonized convex fingerboard and bridge, pearl position dots, patent machine head, colored wood inlayings around sound hole, finished with orange colored top, handsomely hand polished.....$8.65
    No. 7107. Same as No. 7106, with white celluloid inlaid edges.....8.95
    We offer Nos. 7106 and 7107 guitars as products of the finest factory in the land. As such, they are warranted positively flawless in construction and possessing a beautiful tone found only in the very highest grade of instruments. See another page for guitar furnishings and strings. Do not forget that we ship any guitar C. O. D. subject to examination.
    No. 7108. Our improved "American Artist" guitar. A beautifully modeled instrument that is pleasing alike to amateur and artist. Every piece and part that enters into its construction is the most selected and perfect. Finely finished solid rosewood back and sides. Handsome French polished, beautiful orange colored front, patent American made machine head, cedar neck. Absolutely correct in scale, as all guitars offered by us are guaranteed to be. Colored wood inlaying around sound hole, white inlaid stripe down the back, plain edges, ebonized finger-board, position dots. Weight, boxed, 15 lbs. Our Special price.....$11.95
    No. 7109. "American Artist" guitar precisely the same as No. 7108 above described, but extra large concert size. Weight packed, 18 lbs. Our Special price, 13.95
    No. 7110. The Celebrated Washburn Guitar. Standard size. A guitar perhaps better known than any other make. It is as perfect in all the details of construction as the most expert and experienced workmen can make it. Not an ounce of inferior material enters into its make-up, but on the contrary, the markets of the world provide no better than that used in making the Washburn guitar. Made of beautiful rosewood, with plain finished edges. Colored wood inlayings around sound hole, and handsome inlaid stripe down the back. Oval fingerboard, with pearl position dots. Weight packed, 15 lbs. Sent C. O. D. anywhere on receipt of $1.00. Our Special price.....$22.00
    No. 7111. We have the Washburn guitar exactly same as No. 7110 above described, but in large Concert size. Weight, boxed, 18 lbs. This special concert guitar is particulary designed to meet the demands of expert players who are only satisfied with the choicest in the market. Our Special price.....$27.00
    Note.--On our American guitars gut and silk wound strings are recommended under all circumstances. The efforts of the manufacturers are directed toward the production of a rich mellow tone, and in order to accomplish this result they use a sensitively constructed sounding board, which is not made to withstand the strain of wire strings. By using great care some of them will stand this heavy strain without serious detriment, but we wish it understood that we will not be responsible for the failure of a guitar where steel strings are used. See another page for guitar strings and all kinds of guitar furnishings.

SEARS, ROEBUCK & CO., (Incorporated), Cheapest Supply House on Earth, Chicago.


Guitar Cases.

Guitar case, No. 71087.

  No. 71086. Wood, superior quality. American made, half lined, with lock, handle and hooks, for standard size guitar. Each.....$2.00
  No. 71087. Brown canvas, as illustrated, leather bound edges, open on end, complete with strap, buckle and handle. Standard or regular size. Each.....$1.50
  No. 71088. Same, for concert size. Each.....$1.90
  No. 71089. Hand sewed leather, embossed, black or russet, very superior quality, for standard size guitar. Each.....$5.25
  No. 71090. Same, for concert size. Each.....$6.75

Guitar Bags.

  No. 71092. Fine green cloth with buttons for ordinary concert or grand concert guitar. Each.....$0.95
  No. 71094. Canvas, fleece lined, patent fasteners, fine quality, for ordinary concert or grand concert size guitar. Each....$1.15

Guitar Patent Heads.

Patent head, No. 71098.

  No. 71096. Brass, good engraving on sides, bone buttons, fine quality. Per set.....$.70
  No. 71097. Nickel plated, good engraving on sides, bone buttons, fine quality. Per set.....$.85
  No. 71098. Brass, polished and lacquered, white celluloid buttons, (see cut). Per set.....$1.50

Guitar Tailpieces.

Tailpiece, No. 71102.

  No. 71101. Celluloid, imitation ivory or amber, for ordinary size guitar. Each.....$.50
  No. 71102. Brass, nickel plated, for any size guitar. Each.....$.75

Guitar Fingerboards.

Fingerboard, No. 71107.

  No. 71106. Ebony, plain, without frets. Each.....$.60
  No. 71107. Ebony, with frets, (see cut). Each.....$1.00

Guitar Capo D'Astros.
Used to clamp on fingerboard to facilitate playing in flat keys.

Capo d'astro, No. 71110.

  No. 71110. Brass, nickel plated, rubber covered clamps, vest pocket model. Our price, each.....$0.20

Capo d'astro, No. 71111.

  No. 71111. Capo D'Astro, nickel plated, spring action, felt covered clamps. (See cut). Price, each.....$0.30
  No. 71112. Same as above made of aluminum, polished. Each.....$0.50 [I thought aluminum was more valuable than gold back then?!?]

Capo d'astro, No. 71115.

  No. 71115. Capo D'Astro, made of brass, polished and lacquered, cork lined, clamps, improvedmodel, extra weight and strength. Each.....$0.25
  No. 71116. Same. Brass, finely nickel plated. Each.....$0.35

Guitar Furnishings.


Bridge, No. 71121.

  No 71119. Ebony, plain, best model and finish. Each.....$0.20
  No 71120. Ebony, neat pearl inlaying at each end. Each.....$0.60
  No 71121. Ebony, engraved and pearl inlaying at each end. Each.....$1.05
  No 71122. Celluloid, imitation amber or ivory. Each.....$0.45


Bridge pin, No. 71125.

  No. 71124. Maple, black stained, polished head. Each.....$0.02 Per set of six..... .10
  No. 71125. Ebony, polished pearl inlaying in head (see cut). Each.....$0.03 Per set of six..... .12
  No. 71126. Ivory, polished pearl inlaying in head. Each.....$0.06 Per set of six..... .30
  No. 71127. Celluloid, imitation amber, tortoise shell or ivory. Each.....$0.06 Per set of six..... .30


End pin, No. 71130.

  No. 71129. Ebony, plain, polished heads. Each.....$0.03
  No. 71130. Ebony, plain, polished heads, with pearl dot inlaid. Each.....$0.04


Frets, No. 71133.

  No. 71133. Brass, in sets of eighteen. Per set.....$0.17
  No. 71134. German silver in sets of eighteen. Per set.....$0.30
  No. 71135. German silver, in coils. Per pound.....$3.75


SEARS, ROEBUCK & CO., (Incorporated), Cheapest Supply House on Earth, Chicago.

Guitar Music, Vocal and Instrumental.

  No. 71800. Royal Collection of Vocal Guitar Music. A fine selection of vocal music arranged specially for the guitar; 80 pages. Our special price.....$0.40

Postage, 5 cents.

  No. 71802. Brainard's Vocal Guitar Folio. One of the most popular collections of vocal music for the guitar ever published; 96 pages. Our special price.....$0.40
Postage, 7 cents.

  No. 71804. Guitar Jewels, a magnificent collection of vocal and instrumental selections for the guitar, together with a number of duets and trios. This folio contains 112 pages of popular and classical music. Our special price.....$0.40
Postage, 8 cents.

  No. 71805. Royal Collection of Instrumental Guitar Music. This folio contains some of the choicest selections of guitar music, including both popular and classical airs with an excellent proportion of dance music. Our special price.....$0.40
Postage, 5 cents.

  No. 71806. Brainard's Instrumental Guitar folio. A most popular edition of instrumental music for guitar only; 96 pages. Our special price.....$0.40
  [Here is a sample piece from this guitar folio, Pansy Blossom Waltz, arranged by Justin Holland.]
Postage, 6 cents.


Mandolin Music.

Arranged for Mandolin and Guitar.

  No. 71826. Benjamin's Amateur Mandolin and Guitar Collections. No. 1 contains thirteen easy and popular pieces, arranged for mandolin or violin, with guitar accompaniment; also the piano accompaniment. Our special price.....$0.30

Postage, 4 cents.

  No. 71828. Excelsior Mandolin and Guitar Folio. This book has become immensely popular and has a great and increasing sale; contains 72 pages of the very choicest music for mandolin and guitar. Our special price.....$0.40
Postage, 5 cents.

  No. 71829. Champion Mandolin and Guitar Folio. Containing the latest arrangements and compositions for these popular instruments; printed on fine supercalendared paper; 96 pages. Our special price.....$0.40
Postage, 8 cents.

  No. 71831. Ideal Mandolin and Guitar Folio. A very superior collection of instrumental music arranged for the mandolin and guitar duets; 2 parts, 40 pages each. Our special price.....$0.40
Postage, 3 cents.

  No. 71833. Superior Mandolin and Guitar Folio. A choice collection of music by eminent composers, arranged mandolin and guitar; printed on fine supercalendered paper, and containing 92 pages. Our special price.....$0.40
Postage, 7 cents.


Guitar Instruction Books.

  No. 71948. Winner's Eureka Method for the Guitar. An instruction book for this instrument that meets all requirements and is very widely recommended by the most noted music teachers. Our special price.....$0.55

Postage, 6 cents.

  No. 71949. The Common Sense Guitar Instructor. A new and concise method in which the instructions are so simply treated that anybody may become a performer on this favorite instrument. This book also contains the elements of music and a complete collection of the newest songs and pieces arranged for this work to be found nowhere else. Our special price.....$0.50
[Postage not shown.]

  No. 71951. Bower's Standard Method for the Guitar. Positively the most popular instruction book for the guitar ever published, bound in paper. Our special price.....$0.25
Postage, 4 cents.

  No. 71952. Elite Guitar Instructor, arranged by Arling Shaeffer, particularly with reference to a thorough and complete understanding of the instrument itself and proper knowledge of its methods for learning it thoroughly. The purpose of this book is to furnish a course of instruction for the guitar, which if clearly observed and diligently practiced will enable those who are lovers of this most beautiful stringed instrument to become accomplished and artistic performers; bound in boards. Our special price.....$1.85
Postage, 12 cents.

  No. 71953. Carcassi's Guitar Method. Complete. $1.00
Extra, by mail, 12 cents.

  No. 71954. Winner's Instruction Book for Guitar; retail price 25 cts. Our price.....$0.12
  No. 71955. Instruction Book of Chords for the Guitar. A new system of learning to play the chords of the guitar without notes or teacher. Each.....$0.25
Extra, by mail, 1 cent.


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