Preliminary Listing - photos of actual guitar, prior to commencement of work added, together with interim details - See also the later 1963 H1215T (VTG1543 - see Current Restoration/Recent Sales/Archive details), which has recently been completed & sold. This one is the same model, some 15 years older, slightly different headstock shape/name logo & tuners, but essentially the same model....this time even complete with the original pickguard.....a real find!
These are scarce guitars....in the case of this particular one I had to check records to confirm whether the 1948 dating was possible/correct, as the Harmony Guitars Database states that although the 6-string version of the H1215 was made from 1944, the Tenor only went into production in 1956.....but it is!
This is clearly an error, as low & behold the photo archive to the HGD details includes another 1948 example....same headstock/logo/date stamp....my doubts settled....you live & learn!
Until the one I completed & sold at the end of January, 2017, the previous last two I sold were in 2014, when I was lucky enough to be able to get two in....one sold to Steve Harrison, Community & Traditional Folk Musician, in West Yorkshire, bought the 1964 example we made the pickguard for....his second purchase, having previously bought a Stella H929TG tenor from me.
The second, a 1969 made one, went to Graham Legge, Sound Engineer & Folk at the Salmon Bothy, Portsoy, far up in North East Scotland...fullsome feedback was a delight....you might gather that I have been up there & seen some of the musicians he works with.....see his feedback under the heading below...........
If you follow my listings you will know that from time to time (i.e. as often as I can get hold of them) I do list Tenor Guitars regularly, most often H929TG Harmony made Stellas, which usually don't hang about long at all - with excellent feedback from buyers! Availability of the Stella Tenors is also limited, and I generally don't manage to get more than 2 or 3 a year, and the last one I had in the workshop was pre-sold, and has now been completed and collected by the buyer.
My tenor guitar sales have been fascinating in regard to the quality of the players who have bought them, including one restored as a private project for David Bristow, well-known Midlands-based Bluesman. David is extremely happy with it, and footage of him gigging it is now available on YouTube - David Bristow - Three Fat Ladies! Sound is better on the one recorded at the Musician, Leicester.
Another, partly rebuilt and restored sold to Richard Hawley, who has since bought another tenor...this time a Harmony Sovereign H1201TG from me, and again I have been in touch with Richard recently, and he is very happy with both of his tenors, and happy for me to use his endorsement.
Stock Number: VTG1546.
A superb classic Harmony Archtop Acoustic Tenor Guitar, made in Chicago, from all solid Birch. It carries the original inside ink date stamp of S-48, indicating that it was made in one of the 1963 production runs, this model, the Archtone Tenor guitar, previously thought to have been made only from 1956, although the 6-string version commenced production in 1944, but now confirmed to have been made from at least as early as 1948, through to 1971.
Experts and Tenor Guitar/Banjo players will know far more than I do about the tuning options for Tenor Guitars, but there is also information available on the web, and I previously had a copy of the very useful "Tenor Guitar Chord Bible" by Tobe A. Richards, which I passed on with one of the Tenor Guitars I sold. available on line from Fretted Friends, with chords for CGDA (Standard Tuning) and GDAE (Irish Tuning), as opposed to the Chicago tuning, derived from the 6 string. Various string makers produce string sets specifically for Tenor Guitar, and locally based Newtone Strings produce them in 3 sets:- "Chicago" 13/17/26W/34W, "Standard" 10/13/24W/32W, and "Irish" 12/18W/28W/38W - available on line from the excellent Eagle Music - I will consult the buyer as to their choice of preferred string gauges, according to the tuning they use.
In addition to the other Harmony and Stella H929TGs I have have sold a number of other Tenor Guitars over the last few years - these have included 1960s Kay/Silvertone models and earlier Oscar Schmidt Stella short scale and all Mahogany Kay models. All have been eminently playable guitars and have proved outstandingly popular - so much so that in addition to some of the prominent UK buyers, others have been shipped to Denmark, Germany, Rome and Portugal! Accordingly, as good examples, like this one, are so scarce, I think that this is an opportunity not to be missed by serious Tenor Guitar players!
The condition is yet to be assessed in terms of the extent of work I will need to do to restore the guitar to the standard of full structural soundness and playing condition that all VTG guitars are completed to. Now it has arrived, I think that I can confirm that cosmetically it is as good as you would expect a 70 year old Harmony acoustic to be. May I say what a fine vintage 1948 was! Really good year, including a number of my lifelong pals & I, and some other quality guys, such as one lad name of Robert Plant, from not too far from here! Some typical age and use marking, as to be expected for a vintage guitar of this age, and I think the photos of the actual guitar show that this remains a particularly smart and handsome example of it's type.
Again, all the components appear original, and complete, except for the non-standard replacement bridge it came with, but including the pickguard, which is missing on many of these. I will be checking whether I can obtain an original bridge, or whether we purpose-make an adjustable replacemnt. However, the individual tuners, again original, are very corroded & although I had thought that they may need to be replaced, they do appear to work OK, so jury is still out on that one. It is clear that both the front and back body seams have been extensively re-glued, but remain slightly displaced in parts, and still are partly separated.
The work is progressing, the back having been taken off, and the linings and seam joint areas thoroughly cleaned off, removing both the original glue, and the difficult to remove additional adhesive which had been inserted by someone with no idea of what they were doing. This has enabled us to glue down the ends of the full length top braces, which had lifted, before re-fixing the back, which has now been entirely successfully re-glued back on.
The same process is now underway for the top, but this has the added complication that in order to remove the top, you first have to remove the fingerboard. The removals have been completed, and the underside of the fingerboard has been lined with a glued on hardwood veneer, necessary because, as we have found on many occasions, older pressure dyed Maple fingerboard do become fragile, and of course for the tenor they are much less substantial in any case. The lining will both stabilize, strengthen and help maintain levelness of the fingerboard. Once we are able to glue it back onto the neck, we will be able to determine whether it will be necessary to re-level and re-fret the fingerboard or not
The guitar will be checked over fully with the very experienced professional luthier I work with, and the restoration work identified as being needed will be completed in his workshop & under his supervision.
Tenor guitar action does not really need to be particularly low for a 23" scale tenor, and on completion of the restoration, we will be aimimg for an action of around 3mm. at the 12th. fret, with adjustment on the thumbwheel adjusters on the floating bridge.
If "pre-ordered" strings will be fitted to the customer's request, depending on the tuning to be adopted. I have a couple of sets of dedicated Eagle/Newtone tenor guitar strings gauged for "Standard" Tenor Guitar Tuning, but strings for "Irish" or Chicago" tuning can be fitted.
There is no case included, but I do usually have some vintage cases of the type these guitars were originally sold with, although they are covered pressed fibreboard, not intended to last a lifetime, and in variable condition. Alternatively I may be able to supply in a Hiscox Liteflite hardshell case, offering much better protection, and if I can marry the guitar to a suitable case, I will be please to agree a combined price for guitar + case.