Cataloging my experiences and encounters repairing and restoring guitars

Home Top Ad

Image Credit:  Reverb - Rock n Roll Vintage Masterson guitars were built by Ernest Leroy Masterson (1915-2006) out of Nappanee, Indiana...

Masterson Nappanee, Ind. Guitars

Image Credit: Reverb - Rock n Roll Vintage
Masterson guitars were built by Ernest Leroy Masterson (1915-2006) out of Nappanee, Indiana in the 70s [2]. His main job was as a spray painter for kitchen cabinets while employed at Coppes Inc but he also taught guitar and built instruments for extra income [1][3]. 

Image Credit: Reverb - Rock n Roll Vintage

Estate Auction Finds

I stumbled across a 2017 auction in Nappanee, Indiana from the estate of a Mr Robert R Hall through Schrader Real Estate Auctions. These instruments were in his collection and were auctioned off for unknown prices. I found a pdf of a flier advertising this auction where they list the instruments that are for sale in no particular order. 

Masterson (Nappanee) Indian 6 string electric guitar 
• Electric Wood guitar 6 string
• Encore 6 string child’s Acoustic guitar
• Wood 6 string Acoustic guitar, no brand
• Blueridge 6 string guitar with case
• Electric wood guitar with case
• Rival Hondo Electric 6 string guitar with case
Standard Masterson (Nappanee) 6 string Electric guitar 
• Hondo 2 Electric guitar with case
Masterson (Nappanee) Base guitar with case (Blue) 

Schrader Auction Flier [4]

  • The light blue Fender P-bass copy is the only bass guitar in the flier and is mentioned by color so we can confirm it is a Masterson build.
  • The middle instrument is a Hondo II semi-hollow Gibson copy which can be distinguished by the headstock and tailpiece and matches the flier's mention of a Hondo II.
  • The naturally finished Gibson Les Paul copy has a brand but is unreadable. Possibly a Masterson build

Image Credit: Schrader Real Estate Auctions

There are now two more instruments:

  • A Fender Stratocaster copy in natural. It has a brand but it is unreadable.
  • A homebuilt body with a Stratocaster-styled neck.
The Stratocaster copy looks most like something that Ernest Masterson would build since his body designs closely followed contemporary instruments.

Image Credit: Schrader Real Estate Auctions

Next we have three acoustics and an electric guitar.

  • The leftmost instrument is the Blueridge acoustic as it looks professionally built and like a typical generic acoustic.
  • The second from left appears to be a homebuilt instrument but looks too sloppy to have been built by Masterson. 
  • The second from the right is a Japanese guitar which I can identify by the "steel reinforced neck" sticker where the truss rod cover should be and matches the flier for an "Encore childs guitar"
  • The guitar on the far right is an Electra which were made for St Louis Music out of Japan. I can recognize the headstock logo and the body shape.
  • Image Credit: Schrader Real Estate Auctions

Finally the flier mentioned a "Rival Hondo" and there was a picture of a Gibson ES-335 copy, I dug and discovered the Hondo "Revival" line of instruments including that instrument so I won't include the photo here. Not a Masterson build.

Other Examples

On the internet, I've seen a few references to his instruments and that he used to teach guitar lessons [3]. All the information has been from locals of the town which implies that he didn't ship his instruments out across the US but that he kept them local.



Be excellent to each other dudes