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Hummingbird Pickguard Art


SirNed
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Hello Bird lovers,

I spent some time wondering if people were curious about who did the art on these guitars. I found out there was some interest here and even fanatics (talking about you, E-minor7 [biggrin] ), so I just wanted to get the info out to you.

The Hummingbird art was created by Hartford Snider. The book, Gibson's Fabulous Flat-Top Guitars, had it almost right... just misspelled.

 

He made musical instruments before and after his time at Gibson, and worked in the custom / service departments from 1943 to 1974. During his career there, he made good friends, and even met his wife-to-be! He was an avid nature-lover, who enjoyed drawing and painting. These interests led him to create the pickguard art for the Gibson Hummingbird, Gibson Dove, and the Epiphone Excellente. He worked on many custom projects during his time at Gibson, and had a ball doing it.

If anyone has questions, I'll do my best to answer them. Thanks!

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Oh well, , , yes, Mr. Snider has been mentioned many a time here, , , but for my part always with a Y.

Remember seeing his cousin chiming in somewhere on the web a few years ago and he seemed reliable. Then again pretty hard to tell.

 

He should be recognized and praised more, H. Snider - as the significant alternative-canvas folklore pop-artist he is.

 

Glad to know he also did the Dove.

The 200 was before him, one guesses.

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Oh well, , , yes, Mr. Snider has been mentioned many a time here, , , but for my part always with a Y.

Remember seeing his cousin chiming in somewhere on the web a few years ago and he seemed reliable. Then again pretty hard to tell.

 

He should be recognized and praised more, H. Snider - as the significant alternative-canvas folklore pop-artist he is.

 

Glad to know he also did the Dove.

The 200 was before him, one guesses.

 

The 200 was created in 1937 (proto)

Availability was wider as of 1938.

 

 

 

JC

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Hello Bird lovers,

I spent some time wondering if people were curious about who did the art on these guitars. I found out there was some interest here and even fanatics (talking about you, E-minor7 [biggrin] ), so I just wanted to get the info out to you.

The Hummingbird art was created by Hartford Snider. The book, Gibson's Fabulous Flat-Top Guitars, had it almost right... just misspelled.

 

He made musical instruments before and after his time at Gibson, and worked in the custom / service departments from 1943 to 1974. During his career there, he made good friends, and even met his wife-to-be! He was an avid nature-lover, who enjoyed drawing and painting. These interests led him to create the pickguard art for the Gibson Hummingbird, Gibson Dove, and the Epiphone Excellente. He worked on many custom projects during his time at Gibson, and had a ball doing it.

If anyone has questions, I'll do my best to answer them. Thanks!

 

Thankyou for doing the research! Is Mr Snider still with us? I agree with Em7, he should be praised for giving identity to some of the most memorable and iconic acoustic guitars ever made.

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Thankyou for doing the research! Is Mr Snider still with us? I agree with Em7, he should be praised for giving identity to some of the most memorable and iconic acoustic guitars ever made.

 

Thank you for the kind words, Jinder! The research has been my pleasure (I'm his grandson). Unfortunately, he passed away on July 4, 1991. He lived a full life (almost 83 years), and still enjoyed his passion of woodworking/instrument-making, even after retirement. I have fond memories of watching him in his workshop and the smell of the wood.

 

I agree with both of you, and wanted to be sure people knew who he was. It wasn't until relatively recently that I realized how much of an impact he had on the music community. It's cool to think of all of the musicians who have held his art in their hands.

 

Did you know that he hand-engraved the pickguards in the early years? He used to do it at home on the weekends, with hand tools!

 

Em7:

You might be thinking of his nephew, who I think is reliable. My grandma's sister left her son in their care for a summer, while they traveled, so it might be him. I will have to look him up, as I haven't seen him since I was a kid.

As for the 200, I do think it was before his time, which makes me curious about that artist. No doubt that it inspired him.

I also wanted to say that I appreciate your affection for the his art, and think you represent the spirit of it quite well. Thank you!

 

Here he is on the cover of Gibson's newsletter:

post-86977-074787700 1503543326_thumb.jpg

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Thank you for the kind words, Jinder! The research has been my pleasure (I'm his grandson). Unfortunately, he passed away on July 4, 1991. He lived a full life (almost 83 years), and still enjoyed his passion of woodworking/instrument-making, even after retirement. I have fond memories of watching him in his workshop and the smell of the wood.

 

I agree with both of you, and wanted to be sure people knew who he was. It wasn't until relatively recently that I realized how much of an impact he had on the music community. It's cool to think of all of the musicians who have held his art in their hands.

 

Did you know that he hand-engraved the pickguards in the early years? He used to do it at home on the weekends, with hand tools!

 

Em7:

You might be thinking of his nephew, who I think is reliable. My grandma's sister left her son in their care for a summer, while they traveled, so it might be him. I will have to look him up, as I haven't seen him since I was a kid.

As for the 200, I do think it was before his time, which makes me curious about that artist. No doubt that it inspired him.

I also wanted to say that I appreciate your affection for the his art, and think you represent the spirit of it quite well. Thank you!

 

Here he is on the cover of Gibson's newsletter:

 

Very Cool, SirNed. Every Hummingbird and Dove owner loves that pickguard! Thanks for sharing!

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Thank you for the kind words, Jinder! The research has been my pleasure (I'm his grandson).

So you, Newbie SirNed, is the one and only Hartford Snider's grandson !!!! , , it blows my hat off. .

 

If you knew how many times I saluted your old-old man here, you would see why.

The artist created an iconic image within modern pop-culture, which to this day has mesmerized, and in some strange galaxy, united so many people.

I sure hope he realized that before leaving the planet.

And he - if any - must have been close to the development of the new squares just before 1960 and 2 years forward.

The legend has it that Kalamazoo wanted a D-28 as the next decade was coming, , ,

and wound with this totally unique short-scaled mahogany creature colored like a tequila sunrise.

I believe we are many who would like the detailed story, but it seems to stay behind the trumpet-flower leaves.

One thing must be certain : When they heard the sweetness, sensed the rolling nectar of this hovering kid they must have said, , , "it's like a hummingbird".

From there mister Snider took over. .

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"The Gibson Amplifier" newsletter? Love it.

 

Very cool, Ned- thanks so much for coming aboard to share your info, and that charming newsletter, looking to be made with not much more than a Smith-Corona and a copy machine. The quality of light coming in through the window of that cover photo is quite familiar to those of us who've studied the Banner-era photos also taken at 225 Parsons.

 

Emin7 raises the point: which came first- the guitar, or the name?

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Em7 & 62burst:

The chicken or egg story behind the name is something that I have not unraveled yet. My Mom and Grandma have been filling me in on some of the work he used to do at Gibson. I have also talked to some local retired Gibson employees, and have plans to meet with some more. Unfortunately there aren't too many around anymore. I hope to find out someday! Until then, Em7's imagining of the story works for me.

One thing that I do know is that he did a lot of nature studies (watercolor paintings) of birds and butterflies in the 1930s before his time at Gibson.

 

JCV:

I do have some artifacts. Unfortunately, I haven't seen a left-handed PG among them.

However, on my last tour through Heritage (the old Gibson factory), one of guys there showed me a Hummingbird PG mold that he found. He hadn't realized that they we hand-engraved before they were pressed. I don't recall if it was left or right-handed. They are currently renovating the building, but the next time I stop by there, I will ask about it.

 

Here is one of his prototypes / variations:

post-86977-084269000 1503580222_thumb.jpg

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Wow that's nice, thank you much for sharing about this SirNed.

He would deserved to have his name signed on these piece-of-art pickguards. Wish my hummy was older with a hand-made pièce by this Master.

 

 

He did at least sign these. If you look closely at the lower right corner, you can see an overlapping H & S. I don't know if he ever signed any early Hummingbirds or Doves, but I keep looking. He did get his initials on production Epiphone Excellentes, though. Sadly, the pickguards curled on many of them, so they are replaced by Mirabella reproductions. I grabbed a pic off of an old reverb.com sale (you can see the initials at the base of the tree branch):

post-86977-094813900 1503669928_thumb.jpg

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Thank you everyone for your kind words. Even though he was a humble man, he would be proud to know how much you've enjoyed his work over the years.

I was looking through the 1962 Gibson catalog that he kept and found this description of the Hummingbird. According to the ad copy, the artwork named the guitar.

post-86977-020427000 1504149508_thumb.jpg

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Thank you everyone for your kind words. Even though he was a humble man, he would be proud to know how much you've enjoyed his work over the years.

I was looking through the 1962 Gibson catalog that he kept and found this description of the Hummingbird. According to the ad copy, the artwork named the guitar.

 

Fascinating! I've enjoyed his work ever since I first saw a Hummingbird, I had an early '70s Kiso Suzuki Hummingbird copy in my early teens and always lusted after the real thing as a youngster. The pickguard design always gave the Bird and Dove a sense of regal splendour in my eyes. I've been lucky enough to own three Hummingbirds and two Doves, eventually settling on my two keepers, a 1990 Hummingbird and a 2011 Dove, two of the best guitars I've ever played.

 

I was recently chatting to Frank Turner about his love for Hummingbirds, he has a huge number of them and plays them exclusively now after moving on from his previous Patrick James Eggle acoustics.

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Fascinating!

. . . . . . . .

I was recently chatting to Frank Turner about his love for Hummingbirds, he has a huge number of them. . .

Highly fascinating little piece of 1962-paper. A time where the Bird had found a branch and landed on it.

So the name came from the pick-guard, but from where came the idea for the motif, , , , the sound. . . ?

This mr. Turner - did he say anything remarkable bout the model. As a player, , , , or an acoustic-guit philosopher. .

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Highly fascinating little piece of 1962-paper. A time where the Bird had found a branch and landed on it.

So the name came from the pick-guard, but from where came the idea for the motif, , , , the sound. . . ?

This mr. Turner - did he say anything remarkable bout the model. As a player, , , , or an acoustic-guit philosopher. .

 

He mainly said he loved them and that it was the "ultimate acoustic", that he keeps so many around because he "hits them hard and they can take it". His favourite, and the one that he keeps for the bus rather than the stage, is a cherry burst with tulips and Maple back and sides. Sounded super sweet in his hands. He was routining a song with the chap I TM for before they played it together at a festival, and that guitar just rang out like sweet bells. Plenty of nectar at play there for sure.

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The legend has it that Kalamazoo wanted a D-28 as the next decade was coming, , ,

 

Not a legend. Gibson President Ted McCarty asked Chief Engineer Larry Allers to come up with a Gibson version of the Martin D style. If I recall the story, Allers assigned the job of penciling out the initial guitar design to the head of the repair department, even dropping a Martin dread off on his desk. Gibson's first attempt was the Epiphone Frontier in 1958 followed by the Hummingbird in 1960. While the acoustics tend to get lost amongst all of the now legendary electrics McCarty's team came out with, that shop not only gave us the Hummingbird but a new version of the LG-2 - the CF-100. They also came up with new takes on the J-45 resulting in the

J-160E and the B45-12.

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  • 5 months later...

Thank you for the kind words, Jinder! The research has been my pleasure (I'm his grandson). Unfortunately, he passed away on July 4, 1991. He lived a full life (almost 83 years), and still enjoyed his passion of woodworking/instrument-making, even after retirement. I have fond memories of watching him in his workshop and the smell of the wood.

 

I agree with both of you, and wanted to be sure people knew who he was. It wasn't until relatively recently that I realized how much of an impact he had on the music community. It's cool to think of all of the musicians who have held his art in their hands.

 

Did you know that he hand-engraved the pickguards in the early years? He used to do it at home on the weekends, with hand tools!

 

Em7:

You might be thinking of his nephew, who I think is reliable. My grandma's sister left her son in their care for a summer, while they traveled, so it might be him. I will have to look him up, as I haven't seen him since I was a kid.

As for the 200, I do think it was before his time, which makes me curious about that artist. No doubt that it inspired him.

I also wanted to say that I appreciate your affection for the his art, and think you represent the spirit of it quite well. Thank you!

 

Here he is on the cover of Gibson's newsletter:

 

Very many thanks to you SirNed for your search & for the important informations you made available to all Hummingbird fans and players. Some people just love the guitars they use to play and that's all; but many players are much interested in the history of the guitar they use to play also and i am one of those: the one who knows nothing about history wouldn't ever be able to understand a faintest thing regarding our present times, that seems quite obvious to me. The Gibson Hummingbird is definetely the Queen of all Guitars to me and i just can't find my words to tell you how much i love my 2017 Gibson HB: To be aware of the history of this beautiful lady matters much to me as well and you did a wonderful job here; thanks also for the picture attached which is relevant and much helpful. Best wishes.

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Very many thanks to you SirNed for your search & for the important informations you made available to all Hummingbird fans and players. Some people just love the guitars they use to play and that's all; but many players are much interested in the history of the guitar they use to play also and i am one of those: the one who knows nothing about history wouldn't ever be able to understand a faintest thing regarding our present times, that seems quite obvious to me. The Gibson Hummingbird is definetely the Queen of all Guitars to me and i just can't find my words to tell you how much i love my 2017 Gibson HB: To be aware of the history of this beautiful lady matters much to me as well and you did a wonderful job here; thanks also for the picture attached which is relevant and much helpful. Best wishes.

 

My absolute pleasure, James! They are wonderful guitars.

 

DENtswo.jpg

 

Here is one of the custom jobs he did. This also shows his workbench area.

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Very many thanks to you SirNed for your search & for the important informations you made available to all Hummingbird fans and players. Some people just love the guitars they use to play and that's all; but many players are much interested in the history of the guitar they use to play also and i am one of those: the one who knows nothing about history wouldn't ever be able to understand a faintest thing regarding our present times, that seems quite obvious to me. The Gibson Hummingbird is definetely the Queen of all Guitars to me and i just can't find my words to tell you how much i love my 2017 Gibson HB: To be aware of the history of this beautiful lady matters much to me as well and you did a wonderful job here; thanks also for the picture attached which is relevant and much helpful. Best wishes.

 

Well spoken ^ every historic detail is gold.

JT did his splendid job on the war-slopes, but the information on the modern classics from 1955 and up to Norlin is sparse.

Even what may seem as banal details are important pieces in the puzzle.

Small questions discussed at the plant, thoughts on pin-material'n'colour, probs with a burst-airbrush technique, cherry-pigment types, new mother of pearl suppliers etc. -

all highly interesting

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

 

SirNed - Excellent new shot as well.

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My absolute pleasure, James! They are wonderful guitars.

 

DENtswo.jpg

 

Here is one of the custom jobs he did. This also shows his workbench area.

 

Thanks for this much interesting picture. To be perfectly honest with you, i believe that Mr Hartford Snider definetely desserves a book to be written on him & his art; i do mean it. All the best to you.

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