Irving Ashby's Stromberg Guitar

Description (Brief)
This guitar was made by Charles A. Stromberg and Son of Boston, Massachusetts around 1939-1941. Responding to requests from jazz guitarist for an instrument that could cut through and be heard over the horn section of jazz bands, Elmer Stromberg developed his giant, 19-inch wide Master 400 model. It is one of the loudest acoustic guitars ever made. Elmer Stromberg made about 600 guitars with his father, Charles, a Swedish immigrant.
Charles and Elmer Stromberg’s shop was a popular hang-out for local guitarists who would break in new instruments before they were sold to customers. One such local was Irving Ashby, a Boston native who went on to play with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and the Nat King Cole Trio. This six course (6x1) guitar, Master 400 model, and serial #507, was custom made for American jazz guitarist, Irving Ashby (1920-1987).
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
guitar
date made
1939-1941
user
Ashby, Irving
maker
Charles A. Stromberg and Son
Measurements
overall: 43 1/4 in x 19 in x 4 1/2 in; 109.855 cm x 48.26 cm x 11.43 cm
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Boston
ID Number
1988.0421.01
accession number
1988.0421
catalog number
1988.0421.01
subject
Music & Musical Instruments
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

9/21/2013 5:04:03 PM
Greg Leroy
I was a student of Irving Ashby's in the 1960s. Irving let me play this Stromberg on several occasions during lessons when working on swing rhythm playing. It is truly an amazing instrument. Irving actually owned two Strombergs; this one and a blond cutaway version which he can be seen playing in some early video of the Nat King Cole trio. Unfortunately, according to Irving the cutaway guitar was stolen out of a dressing room when he was working in Las Vegas and never recovered. I'm currently writing an article on Irving and wonder if you have any other biographical information on him. Thank you, Greg LeRoy
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