acoustic guitars

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Otwin was established in 1886 in Shilbach, Germany by Franz Otto Windisch (born in 1866). Franz Otto Windisch had previously apprenticed as a violin maker and worked in Markneukirchen for Gläsel & Herwig. In 1903 Windisch opened another Otwin factory in Schöneck. This branch quickly became the main factory, with up to 120 employees making stringed and plucked instruments. Franz Otto died in 1935 but his son Johannes took over the company, and his cousin Friedrich Paul Windish joined him as a partner in 1937. Otwin also used other brand names including: OW, Owi and Owophone. The company carried on until 1973 when it was taken over by  VEB Musima. In 1984 the Schöneck Otwin factory was closed, and Musima itself filed for bankruptcy in 2004.

Source: Schlag Gitarren - Otwin (31 October 2018).


Anton Ostrizek was born in 1889 in Brno in the Czech Republic where he trained with luthier František Trávníček from 1904 to 1909. He then left for Vienna, Austria where he worked at Viktor Enzensberger's workshop. In 1921 he opened his own workshop where he made and repaired violins and other stringed instruments until his death in 1951.

Source: Brno Encylopaedia - Anton Ostrizek (31 October 2018)


Osmond Guitars have been made in Taiwan since 1978. The range includes classical, acoustic, electric and bass guitars.


Richard Osborne has been making instruments since 1997, when he completed a classical guitar under the tuition of Stephen Hill. He then rented a bench in Hill's workshop and worked with Hill doing repairs and restorations. He went full time in 2003, opening his own workshop in the Star Brewery in Lewes where he made and repaired acoustic guitars. In 2006 he moved to bigger premises and also started teaching guitar making. 2015 saw another move to mid Wales where he continues making instruments and teaching instrument making courses.

Source: Osborne Guitars and Mandolins website (30 October 2018)

SammO (SammoS)

SammO and SammoS were brand names of the Samuel C. Osborn Manufacturing Company of Chicago, Illinois. Samuel Osborn opened a music tuition and instrument distribution company around 1900. By 1906 he had shops in Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles as well as music teaching conservatories around the country. His music schools needed a lot of instruments and in 1916 he started his own manufacturing company in Chicago. The company made acoustic guitars, mandolins and banjo-ukes often using koa. In 1919 he opened an ambitious new factory using production line techiques to make pianos - this led to cash flow problems for Osborn who was forced to restructure his company. In 1922 Osborn died of complications following an appendectomy operation, aged just 47, and his company finally ceased trading.

Source: Samuel Osborn catalog 1920

Jose Ortega

José Ortega was a Granada guitar maker in the latter half of the 19th century. His workshop was located on Mesones, 4. The brand name Jose Ortega was revived by CMI Music & Audio - an Australian musical instrument distributor, for a range of Chinese made classical and acoustic guitars.


Ortega was established in 1994 by the German musical instrument distributor Roland Meinl (Meinl Cymbals & Percussion). At the beginning Ortega Guitars was a classical guitar company with a range of 6 classical guitar models all made in Spain using traditional methods. By 2018 their product line had expanded considerably and included acoustic & classical guitars, acoustic basses, mandolins, ukuleles and banjos as well as accessories and effects for acoustic instruments. By this time most Ortega instruments were made in China although there was still some Spanish manufacture.

Source: Ortega Guitars website (25 October 2018)


Juan Orozco (born 1937 in Spain) is a guitar maker, guitar shop owner and concert promoter. He ran a guitar shop in New York from the 1970s until the 1990s. Orozco was also a consultant for Japanese guitar makers in the 1970s on the design of classical guitars. He founded the Aranjuez brand - high quality Aranjuez classical guitars were made in Japan (in the 1970s and 1980s). Juan Orozco, now based in Puerto Rico, still sells Aranjuez classical strings.

Source: Aranjuez website


Orlando acoustic & electric guitars, basses and ukuleles were made in Japan in the 1970s. Some also made in Korea. The electrics at least were supposedly made by Matsumoku.


The Orpheum brand started in the late 19th century as American banjo company. In the 1930s Orpheum added acoustic guitars and other instruments to their line up, but the brand was discontinued during World War II. From the late 1940s to 1960s the Orpheum brand was owned by Maurice Lipsky Music Company Incorporated of New York who sold Orpheum electric and acoustic guitars as well as mandolins and banjos. At the start of the 1960s Orpheum ceased manufacture of American instruments and production was moved to Italy where Wandré made Orpheum branded Tri-Lam, Rock Oval and other guitars. From 1963 manufacture switched to Egmond, then from 1967-1968 Welson made a violin shaped Orpheum model.


Oriskany acoustic guitars were made by Curtis Rockwell and Johanna Mutti in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania from around 2000 to around 2008.


The Orville by Gibson brand was launched in 1988 when Yamano Gakki (Gibson's Japanese distributor) and Gibson decided to expand the Epiphone Japan model range to include solid body models. The Orville brand was used for these new solid body electric guitars, in honour of Gibson's founder Orville Gibson. These models were a step up from the Korean made Epiphone models but cheaper than the Gibson USA guitars. By 1992 the Orville range include electric, bass, acoustic and classical guitars. The Orville brand was discontinued in 1998, when the Epiphone range was epanded.

Source: Orville by Gibson catalogs 1988 - 1992.


Gibson made inexpensive Oriole branded tenor banjos in the 1920s. There were also a few Kalamazoo Oriole branded acoustic guitars made around 1940.

Source: Catch of the Day: 1940 Kalamazoo KGN-12 Oriole. Fretboard Journal. May, 2014

Hound Dog

The Original Hound Dog brand was founded in 1967 by Rudy and Emile Dopyera as a stop gap for the period 1967-1970 when the Doperya family did not have control of the Dobro brand name. The Dopyera family had invented the resophonic guitar back in 1928. Their Original Musical Instrument company (OMI) built Original Hound Dog branded resophonic guitars in Long Beach, California until they regained the Dobro brand name in 1970 and stopped using the Original Hound Dog brand. When Gibson bought Dobro in 1993 they resurrected the Hound Dog brand for a line of more affordable American and Chinese made resonator guitars.

Source: Gibson Hound Dog press release. Wednesday, November 6th, 2002.


Diego Grinfeld and Dan Orr founded Orfeld Guitars in 2016.  Diego Grinfeld began designing guitars in 2008, focusing on a composite electric guitar design - which he later patented. Dan Orr has been building musical gear since 2006 with an emphasis on guitar electronics, effect pedals and pre-amps.

Source: Orfeld Guitars website (18 October 2018)


Opus was a Harmony acoustic guitar brand. By the early 1970s as a budget guitar maker Harmony was suffering from competion from Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese imports. Mandell Kaplan became  president of Harmony and decided to upgrade the product line, as they could no longer compete in the budget guitar marketplace. The Opus brand was meant to be a move up-market and Opus guitars were hand crafted from good timber. Despite the quality of the Opus instruments, guitar buyers associated Harmony with budget instruments. Opus did not turn around the company's fortunes and Harmony ceased trading in 1976.  The Opus series included four models - all had select spruce tops, block inlaid rosewood fingerboards and Grover Rotomatic machine heads.


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