Pre-owned Lark in
This instrument was purchased used from Lark in the Morning a few years ago in this basic condition and configuration. Inquiring about the different, somewhat cruder shape of the headstock and strange refinish of same, LIM technician David Brown describes it as a "one-of-a-kind alteration...which would have been sold "as-is" or as a second." The nut posts for the sub-bass strings were removed and filled in. They can easily be put back in, but some players (myself, for one) prefer to have the strings come straight off the posts anyway. The m-o-p inlaid dots on the sub-bass headstock have also been painted over - no small loss, as they only cheapen the appearance of the instrument. The m-o-p star (originality unknown) is not inlaid into the headstock, but sits on the surface. The hole front surface of both headstocks have been rather poorly refinished with glossy black paint. The owner's intention (and my suggestion): simply strip the two headstocks and refinish them properly.
Upgrades: The current owner had the tuners - which are unsuitable for professional performing - switched out for Stewart MacDonald 5-Star gold/perloid banjo tuners for the basses and Schaller gold/perloid tuners for the 6-string head. He also had the neck professionally set up with a truss rod added under the fretboard.
Nut width is 2", with string spacing at nut (E to E centers) about 1-11/16". Scale length is 26-1/8". Sound hole is 4-5/8" diameter and likely helps put out a lot of sound. Soundboard is amazingly flat (unlike many specimens found), yet puts out quite a fair amount of tone. The entire instrument has typical playing wear - finish checking, areas of discoloration, small nicks and scuffs, but nothing too serious.
There is no case included.
Bottom line: The headstock construction and later refinish is not the most attractive thing in the world, but the body is fine and has proven to be robust enough over several years to handle serious steel-string tension (currently medium gauge PB). The neck plays very well (for a Mexican-made instrument) and it sounds plenty loud and balanced for an instrument under $2000. Though I might finesse the nut a tad for even better playability, it is basically a ready-to-go semi-pro instrument.
What are you waiting for? New LIM's cost $1600. Discounting for used condition and headstock anomalies, and then adding back on about half of the $500 that was spent on upgrades, this instrument is listed at $1100.
|Click images for full-size, high resolution files.|
|Discoloration on bass headstock in this photo is from lighting, not instrument.||Some finish wear and scratches on sides.||Top is very flat, neck is quite playable.|
|Discoloration from refinishing seen on bass headstock in this image is fairly accurate. Mother-of-pearl inlaid dots have been painted over. String posts have been removed, filled and painted over. Star is floating on top of surface.||Some finish wear/discoloration can be seen at top of arm. Tuners are all professional upgrades.|
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