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Orphan Instruments

For years I’ve been fixing and restoring old instruments, both as a hobby and as a way to afford vintage guitars, mandolins and banjos. As a a matter of fact, I used about 16 of these instruments on my CD The Last Day of Winter. Now I love bringing old instruments back to life, but I’ve reached the point where I have way too many to keep them all!  

Orphan Instruments is my solution to that problem. My plan is to offer restored, vintage instruments for sale directly to folks at very reasonable prices. Like an old man once told me when I commented on the very affordable prices in his antique store, “There’s the sell it price and the keep it price. I want to sell ’em and move on to the next thing.”  Well that’s my philosophy too. My goal is to price things below market price and in such a way that everyday people can afford them. I’ll get my investment back out, make a little money and be able to move on to another project.

All instruments I offer will be repaired, restored and set up for playing. Most will receive much more time and attention than they might normally deserve but everyone will be a unique piece of musical history. Best of all, they’ll be priced to sell.

Below you will find links to the instruments I currently have available, and past instruments I’ve sold, visit those pages for more pictures, details of the instrument history, and a recap of the work I’ve done on it. Feel free to email with questions (vallillo@macomb.com). Final prices will include actual shipping and insurance costs which will be determined at the time of sale.

Chris Vallillo

View the instruments I currently have available for sale here.


You can also view past instruments I’ve sold, here.


RECENTLY ACQUIRED:  I have a large backlog of vintage parlor guitars, flatback and taterbug mandolins in a range of qualities and a few banjos and fiddles.  I’ll start posting shots here.  If there’s something that you’re interested in, let me know and I can move it to the head of the line for restoration. Email me at vallillo@macomb.com if you are looking for something special.


Washburn double point Rosewood Mandolin Style 2422

Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, Mahogany neck, ebony fretboard.  I love these instruments and buy them whenever I can.  I have 2 of these, one which I am currently working on.


Washburn Standard Size Solid head circa 1887

90, Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, Spruce top, Ebony fingerboard.  This is one of the rare flat head Washburns from the late 1880s. Ladder braced, Stele bar in the neck.  This will be a fine guitar.  Don’t know if I’ll let that one go!


Washburn 1896 New Style guitar

Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, spruce top, ebony fingerboard.  Ladder braced, but nice workmanship. Inspection shows that there is a thick (1/4″?) piece of rosewood glued underneath the bridge plate and a cleated crack on the back. Does not appear to have a steel bar in the neck.  Will definately need a neck re-set and probably need to pull the top to access back and inside for repair.


Washburn 1897 Style New Model 123

A very nice, small bodied guitar, Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, Adirondack Spruce Top, Ebony fingerboard.

Round label (1896-1905) Washburn Parlor guitar. Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, Adirondack Spruce top, bound ebony fingerboard. Instrument shows some damage, but is in largely decent condition structurally.

Higher calibre workmanship typical of the better Washburns, ladder braced, a steel bar in the neck. it probably does not need a neck re-set.

Non original, mismatched period tuners. Non original bridge screwed into the top (split), cracked binding on the trebleside of neck, a few loose spots on body. Little or no fret wear. Significant splits in the top which will require splinting. One fairly large crack on the lower bout on the bass side.


Unnamed Rose\wood Potato Back mandolin.

This is an unmarked but high quality Potato back Mandolin which shows some traits similar to a Larson Brother’s instrument though it is impossible say for certain.  I can say it’s a high quality Chicago made mandolin fro the early 20th century.  Brazilian Rosewood back with spruce trop, ornate inlay in Mother of Pearl purling on the pick guard, around the sound hole and around the edges.  One of about 1/2 dozen similar instruments I have in the backlog.