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Can you identify this guitar/luthier?


HarryQ
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I recently bought this guitar. It  appears to have a one-piece mahogany body with a thin maple veneer, ebony fingerboard with pearl inlays, nibs on the fingerboard binding, original Schaller tuners, and a Gibson-style truss rod. The neck is three-piece mahogany, and it has a 25 1/2 inch scale. The name Mueller is inlaid in the peghead. Someone suggested to me that the guitar looked a lot like a Hamer, and I found that a John Mueller worked for Hamer. Does anyone have any idea about who made this guitar? I bought it from someone in the Chicago area, and he said he got it at a local estate sale, so it could have been made in that area as well, though not necessarily. I've installed a set of Seymour Duncans in it since I took these pictures, and it's a killer player! Any information would be greatly appreciated!

DSCF3620.JPG

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Edited by HarryQ
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It's definitely NOT a Hamer.  I'll check about the John Mueller thing, but I don't recall that name at all right now...

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, cmatthes said:

It's definitely NOT a Hamer.  I'll check about the John Mueller thing, but I don't recall that name at all right now...

I contacted Terry McInturff and Mike Shishkov, and they both kindly responded that they remembered John Mueller, but nothing about whether he built guitars on his own. I'm not saying he definitely made it, just trying to figure out who did. Whoever built the guitar had to have a lot of experience to do work at this level, so it's a real head scratcher that an internet search finds nothing about a Mueller building electric guitars. I did find a Terry Mueller who is known for working on 50s' Gibsons, but he replied to my email that it was not his work. I actually found out about John Mueller from this site. There is a thread with a picture of a cavity cover signed by the workers who made the move to Connecticut, and one is John Mueller.

STDPlate (1).jpg

Edited by HarryQ
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10 hours ago, Ua D said:

This mueller is in Chicago.  Maybe it was a custom build? At least you could rule him out even if it’s not likely  

https://www.pmcustomguitars.com/about

Thanks for the suggestion. I did see this site when I searched, but the guitars he shows look so different from mine that I didn't contact him. I think you're right though, I'll contact him just to be sure!

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18 hours ago, Ua D said:

This mueller is in Chicago.  Maybe it was a custom build? At least you could rule him out even if it’s not likely  

https://www.pmcustomguitars.com/about

Well, I just heard back from Pete Mueller, and he said he couldn't take credit for it. The mystery continues! I was trying to figure out how such a skilled builder could fly under the internet radar, and one possibility was a guitar company worker using at least some of their facilities to build a personal custom one-off. This would explain the high skill level with no other info about them on the internet. I know many years ago, Martin would let their workers build a personal guitar after a number of years service. Terry McInturff told me that, to his knowledge, that was not done at Hamer.  Anyway, maybe that is a possibility.

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It doesn’t look like a Hamer, but there are plenty of ex-Hamer guys who built their own stuff over the decades.

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1 hour ago, HarryQ said:

Terry McInturff told me that, to his knowledge, that was not done at Hamer.

Terry is either not being 100% truthful or is just plain old mistaken. 

I will leave it at that.  

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1 hour ago, kizanski said:

Terry is either not being 100% truthful or is just plain old mistaken. 

I will leave it at that.  

That's out of character.  "I will leave it at that"?  Since when?

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That’s my cavity cover lol……..

John made the trip from Chicago to CT.   If I recall he was the first to move back to Chicago as he didn’t like the area.

I don’t know if he ever built guitars after leaving Hamer.  Good guy.

That doesn’t look Hamer shop built to me.  I would need close ups but the shape of the pickup routs look different and the inlays would not have come from Hamer.  Most guys who built personal instruments at Hamer used the same templates and materials.  It just doesn’t have the “look” to me.

Edited by mirrorimij
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mirrorimij said:

That’s my cavity cover lol……..

John made the trip from Chicago to CT.   If I recall he was the first to move back to Chicago as he didn’t like the area.

I don’t know if he ever built guitars after leaving Hamer.  Good guy.

That doesn’t look Hamer shop built to me.  I would need close ups but the shape of the pickup routs look different and the inlays would not have come from Hamer.  Most guys who built personal instruments at Hamer used the same templates and materials.  It just doesn’t have the “look” to me.

When I get a chance, I'll pull a pickup and take some close-ups.  There are a lot of John Muellers in the Chicago area, and that's assuming he still lives there, otherwise I would try tracking him down and asking directly. I guess at some point, I'll have to give up and just enjoy it as a great guitar, whoever built it!

Edited by HarryQ
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I think it's pretty certain from the information you kind folks have provided in this thread  that the Mueller was not built in the Hamer plant. It's still possible that John Mueller built it after leaving Hamer, but extensive research has found no additional information either way. I guess that the mystery will remain. Thanks everyone for your help! Here's a picture of the Mueller with parts on it.DSCF3653.JPG.6f70727e9d1f63a3742d3ff4af7634d1.JPG

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