c. 1820 J. M. Neüner III


Mittenwald, Germany

Joseph Mathias Neüner III (1762–1830) of Mittenwald was part of the Neüner dynasty, which traced its roots back to the seventeenth-century luthier, Mathias Neüner I.

Date circa 1820
Location Mittenwald, Germany
Length of Guitar 960mm
String Length 643mm
Upper Bout Width 240mm
Waist Width 177mm
Lower Bout Width 295mm
Side Depth at Waist 85mm
Soundboard: Spruce | Back: Maple | Sides: Maple | Details: Ornate, hand-cut ebony appliqué  applied to the soundboard.

There is very little published information on the German guitar makers, especially from the region of Bavaria bordering Austria. German guitars in the first half of the nineteenth century were also rarely labelled, but the guitar attributed to Neüner in the Austin-Marie Collection has all the earmarks of his work.

The Viennese influence is immediately apparent. The head is scroll-shaped, similar to those by Stauffer, except the neck is fixed, not adjustable, with the fingerboard flush to the soundboard. The inline tuners are encased into the head, and opposite each tuning key is housed a bridge pin which can be removed for easy access to lubricate the mechanism.

The soundboard is made of supremely tight-grained Alpine spruce, most likely sourced from the local Karwendel Mountains. The bridge is terminated with a flowering ebony appliqué inspired by the Italians, who in turn strongly influenced the Viennese makers. The mother of pearl and ebony inlays, both marginal and in the rosette, are similar to those found in selected French guitars by Pons and Guiot. The back is of one-piece curly maple, and uniquely – and seemingly idiosyncratic to this maker – the sides are also made of a single piece of curly maple. Therefore, there is no join at the base; instead, a single long piece of maple was bent into the shape of the entire body.

It is rare to see Austro-German guitars with an original case. This guitar, however, has a made-to-measure travelling case veneered in figured Cuban mahogany.