H. Schreurs - Venlonia

Venlonia is a brand founded by the violin maker P.J.H. (Harry) Schreurs from Venlo in the Netherlands.


'Hay' Schreurs (1921-2002) is an avid woodworker who, at the age of 15, builds his first mandolin and two years later his first violin. After that he mainly manufactures mandolins, later also guitars.


In 1939 the company Venlonia was founded, with which he mainly produces guitars after 1945, first in the Molenstraat and later on the Hogeschoorweg in Venlo. In 1959 he moves into a kind of woodworking workshop in the van Millenstraat 4, a location of 1000-1500 m2 with lathes, wood presses, rinsing machines, milling equipment and a (cellulose) paint shop, where he produces several tens of thousands of guitars a year with 16 employees, mainly under the brand names Unicon, Magic and Famos.


Famos mainly tries to profit from the success of the much better quality German brand Framus and the name and logo are therefore strikingly similar.



The guitar I'm restaurating is a guitar built during World War II, in 1943.


It is obvious that there was a crisis going on and that materials were not in short supply. For example: oak has been used, a type of wood that is not usually found in guitars. This is used for both the neck and the heel as well as the attachment of the heel. The cabinet itself is made of plywood. Bracings are not added.


The guitar was badly damaged; the neck was completely askew on the case. Also, the neck was greatly warped from the 12th to the 19th fret. Oak is apparently not very suitable as a material for a guitar neck.


I just started by removing the top of the cabinet, and removing the neck.


That gave insight into the problems. I straightened the attachment of the heel. That went well with some policy (and brute force), and the top will fit again.


The neck was another problem. Bending it back was not an option. I sawed the neck and provided it with a skeg-shaped piece of wood that had to fit exactly. The whole is then glued back together and the neck is now completely straight again.


The fastening of the neck in the body is also of a very questionable quality. It is much too small, it will never hold the power of the strings.


I want to make a new heel mount, but that will be a challange, as it is an archtop guitar, so with a curved top and bottom.


Then I want to do something that is actually 'not done': I want to add bracings.

Adding bracings is 'not done' because you violate the originality of the guitar. But it's probably a one-of-a-kind guitar, as Venlonia wasn't founded until 1945, so it's unlikely a series of this guitar was made in 1943.


The reason that I want to add bracings is that I strongly doubt the sound quality of this guitar. The build quality is so bad that I don't have any faith in it.

I have not been able to test the guitar, because everything was bent and askew. So I may as well be wrong... But since it is my property, and I would like to conduct the experiment, I will do it anyway. I will add a label in the body on which I will mention what has been done to the guitar.


And because of all my other adjustments, the guitar is no longer original anyway.



To be continued...




I couldn't find a video of this exact guitar. I think this is the only specimen of this guitar in existence. I haven't finished the restoration yet so I can't record a video of this guitar myself.


The video shows a Unicon guitar (a sub-brand of Venlonia). So from a much later date (about 1960). But if I can match this sound, I will be satisfied.