Nightingale (Harding & Miller)

product types: 

  • mandolins
  • acoustic guitars


The Nightingale Guitar Company was founded by brothers Isaiah and Charles Nightingale in Evansville, Indiana. In 1893 Isaiah had patented an additional supplemental interior soundboard with a tubular soundhole for guitars, mandolins and zithers. According to Isaiah this gave the instrument a much stronger and sweeter tone. Charles also held a patent on a design for a lyre shaped Mandolin scratchplate. According to the Evansville City Directory, Charles was working as a guitar builder and salesman for the Harding & Miller Music Company, 404 Main Street, Evansville and this is where the Nightingale Company began in 1900. In 1902, however, the Nightingale company was relocated to 208 Upper Third Street (possibly due to a fire on the Main Street premises). By 1904, however, Nightingale were no longer listed in the City Directory. It is not surprising that Nightingale instruments are very rare with only a few acoustic guitars and mandolins remaining. If you do ever encouter one - look through the soundhole you should see the supplementary soundboard and soundhole tube.

Source: Evansville's Own. Evansville Living. September 7, 2015. by Art Woodward.

Source: patent - a design for a pickguard

Source: patent - attachment for guitars


Nightingale company
404 Main Street
Evansville , IN
United States
Indiana US


nightingale guitar

I have one rebuilt by Frank Adkins master wood worker and player he was friends with the great player Chet Atkins as I recall Frank said he hit licks on it....Frank and I did research on archery gear for Indian Industries....i tested the original compound bow ... Frank and I developed Indians first prototype. I started my own business in 1972 till health stopped me at near 74 years old when i had to go to 2 canes. Frank worked near to 90 years old he and his wife were dear friends.

Frank Adkins

That's a great story & thanks for sharing it Allen!

Friend of Frank Atkins

I worked with Frank at Indian Industries until he retired in the mid-80's.He was a good friend and amazingly skilled man. I still have a small hinge that he taught me how to make.