VTG LIVE & READY TO GO! - RESTORATION COMPLETED!
Update - 02/12/17 - Sold and and collected by local buyer.
.....Recently arrived, checked over in conjunction with the luthier I work with, and the restoration work required completed.....see under the "Condition" heading for details of the work carried out.
This guitar is identical to the 1967 model I sold a few months ago....the buyer phoned me within a couple of hours of the guitar arriving, to say that he had been playing it ever since it arrived & loved it!
Prior to that in the long series of these guitars I have sold over the last decade, a structurally identical Regal R200 from the same period sold to buyer in Newcastle earlier, whose feedback was....
"The guitar looks and plays fantastic, it has exactly that authentic Blues sound I was looking for. Many thanks for getting it to me so prompt and packaged well for a safe transit. It will be getting used in Blues clubs and events around the North East in the very near future.
The set up and playability is great for such an old girl."
Following the many '60s Harmony made Stellas I have sold, in all their many variations, this one is in the original H929 sunburst/"faux flame" produced for a quarter-century from 1945 to 1970....another of these real "Little Gems" - this one particularly clean and smart - not completely blemishless, but you wouldn't expect a 52 year old Stella to be completely mint, would you? Just as near to that as you could get, with superbly aged colour to the original finish, and full of historic all-American character!
Stock Number: VTG1553.
I have sold many '50s and '60s Harmony made Stellas over the years. There are many variations of the same basic model.....both those under Harmony's own Stella name, and also the various branded versions of basically the same guitar, with different liveries, for the major Stores/Mail Order companies, including Sears' Silvertone brand, Montgomery Ward's Airline brand, and also under the Regal brand, by this time owned by Fender. If you take a look at my current listings and previous sales, you will find a number of these models. This model, the Stella H929 is the iconic original for them all! Built for a full quarter of a century, right through from 1945 to 1970, with really no basic change, just minor cosmetic adjustments through all those years.
It has the floating bridge/tailpiece which gives an advantage in the ability to make minute positional adjustments in order to optimise intonation, which can vary slightly if altered/open tunings are used. Set up for either Fingerstyle Blues or Bottleneck playing - a superb sounding parlor blues guitar, with great looks, lots of vibe and historic All-American character!
It comes in essentially original (but see further advice under "Condition" below regarding the restoration work carried out) and restored condition - an iconic Chicago made, 12 fret-to-the-body, parlor Blues Guitar - all solid Birch, ladder braced construction, with non-adjustable steel-reinforced neck and flat profile, dyed Maple fingerboard. Sometimes these guitars are mistakenly described as three-quarter size - there is a three-quarter size version of the Stella H929 model (one of which I have in the workshop at present) which is much smaller, this being the full size model with standard Stella dimensions:-
Overall length - 36.25"/96cm., body with lower bout - 13.25"/33.5cm., upper bout - 9.5"/24.2cm., body length - 17.8"/45.2cm., body depth front - 3.25"/8.2cm., rear - 3.7"/9.3cm, with standard Stella/Harmony nut width of 1.75"/44.5mm. - just a tad wider than most modern acoustics - and a 24.25"/615mm scale.
The H929 model identification ink stamp inside is clearly readable, as is the date stamp of S-64, indicating that it was made in one of the 1964 production runs.
If you are an acoustic blues player and wonder why that top line guitar you bought doesn't sound authentic when you play blues like those of Blind Blake, Blind Willie McTell, or Blind Lemon Jefferson, I can tell you why it doesn't and never will! All of those guys and many others from the 30s through to the 60s played Birch bodied guitars, some of them with Spruce tops, some all Birch, but it is the Birch which gives that unmistakable sound. No guitar made today, American or otherwise can give you that sound, for Delta and Country Blues!
If you want a fully functioning, great sounding piece of American musical history, this is it - a really exceptional addition to any collection of Blues/Vintage Guitars.
Excellent essentially original condition....finish & cosmetics generally in my view as good as you could possibly expect for a 52 year old Stella guitar - inevitably there is just a very little edge wear to the painted bindings and headstock, but otherwise virtually no finish loss, the very minimum of minor surface chips/scratches...really the minimum I have seen on a Stella of this type and age, and I've seen quite a few! Very slight, line visible at the base of the headstock front of the nut is not in fact a crack, just in the facing only, purely superficial, where a small amount of facing came away when the nut was removed, and not into the headstock itself. I hope that you will agree that the photos show that this remains a handsome & characterful vintage guitar.
I say "essentially" original as the guitar includes all the original fittings, but the restoration has included re-levelling the stained Maple fingerboard, which has been recoloured with stain, and dot inlays instead of the original painted position markers. The bridge is original...the standard dyed Maple unit factory fitted to all these guitars from 1945 to 1970. The tuners, also original, have received a gentle cleaning, show a little age-related discolouration, with just the very slightest bend in one of the key shafts, but work fine. The only other non-original fittings are the ferrules/bushings to the tuner posts, which Harmony did not originally fit on many of their guitars at this date, which I have added to aid tuning operation. The original factory fitted white scratchplate is sound & clean, with just minor usual play wear.
Now for the work found to be needed, after inspection with the renowned luthier I work with & completed mainly in his workshop, under his supervision. The back was taken off in order to access the two loose internal braces, which have been cleaned off and re-glued, and two further lifted brace ends have been re-glued. At the same time two small lengthwise braces were added above & below the soundhole, where there is just a very slight "shaping" in the top....not considered to be essential work, but just a prudent little extra reinforcement, and a further small cleat/reinforcement has been added under a very fine surface crack line, no more than in the finish, just to the treble side, at the front edge of the soundhole, as a further precaution. The linings and back have been cleaned off to remove all old glue and re-glued....the refit on an unbound joint like this can never be perfectly aligned, but this one is close to be as good as it gets.
There was no movement in the neck joint, but as a precaution we have additionally stabilised the joint, thus together with the fingerboard re-levelling, we have managed to avoid the need for a neck reset.
It plays nicely with the typical "C" profile rounded neck and an action of around 3mm./3.25mm. at the 12th. fret, which with just a tad more string height at the nut/first fret in order to aid bottleneck play, I reckon is ideal for a Stella "all-rounder", good for Bottleneck play, but with fretting aided by the shorter scale length and consequent lower string tension, therefore ideal for a mixture of finger-style and bottleneck play.
Additionally it could also be used for full-time slide with a nut riser costing no more than a few pounds. The sound is typically loud and pokey, just as a Stella should be - a great Bluesy voice! It has "That Sound" in spades - even, woody, bright, clear, ringing tone! It is strung with Martin Bronze Light 12-54 strings, and really sounds tremendous - and loud!
There is no case (although the guitar will be well packed and securely boxed for posting), but I do have the odd period case, and may be able to supply one of the type these guitars originally came in, or alternatively I may be able to supply it with a virtually unused Hiscox Liteflite hardshell case. These cases of course do offer much better protection, but even the smallest case produced by Hiscox does require a couple of their extra internal pads fitting, in order to hold the small guitar correctly. I will be happy to advise whether I can marry the guitar to a suitable case, at the time of purchase, and if so agree with you an inclusive price for Guitar + Case, and adjust the invoice accordingly.