Ladder Braced, Excellent, Professionally Restored Condition, Great Sound, 4-String Blues/Folk/Banjo Player - In Course of Restoration & Available for "pre-order".

06/11/2017 - Preliminary Announcement - Already "In the Workshop", in the course of restoration & available to "pre-order"!

04/01/2018 - Now reserved on "pre-order" for a customer in N.Ireland!

12/01/2018 - Restoration work now completed, and on it's way to the updated to show the finished job!

BUYER'S FEEDBACK!....."She's here all safe and sound Bob, a little beauty, delighted with it......thanks very much for all your help, will most definitely recommend your site to others, all the best"

I have been working on the guitar in between other jobs for some time....just hadn't got round to listing these Stella tenors are a very regular favourite restoration (and I have another two in stock, waiting to be started), it came as a bit of a shock to realise that it is well over a year since I last completed one!

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 Stellas, but also Harmony Sovereigns & Archtones, none of which seem to hang about long at all, and in most cases "pre-sell", before I have completed the work on them - see excellent feedback from buyers!

I am now finding that I regularly "pre-sell" my guitars, at the stage where I am still working on them. This arrangement has now worked consistently well on a steady stream of restoration sales, so I am continuing to list some of the guitars coming through the workshop, in advance of them being fully ready, and welcome further enquiries.
Stock Number: VTG1526.

The Harmony made Stella H929TG is the 4-string/Tenor version of the iconic H929 6-string, of which I sell many, but the Tenor is the scarcer animal! Same size body, but with 14 frets to the body join, rather than 12 on the 6-string - actual dimensions are 91.25cm./36" overall length, 45.3cm./17.875" body length, 33.5cm./13.25" max. body width/lower bout, 24cm./9.5" upper bout, 8cm./3.2" body depth front, 9.3cm./3.7" body depth rear, 582mm./23" scale, 31.5mm./1.25" nut width, 37.5mm./1.5" fingerboard width @ 12th. fret.

It has great looks, lots of vibe and historic all-American character - a superb sounding parlor blues guitar, set up for finger-style or for bottleneck playing - an iconic Chicago made, tenor Blues Guitar - all solid Birch, ladder braced construction. The usual Harmony ink date stamp is not readable...I think I can see where is is, and I have an idea that it might possibly read S-60, which if it did, would indicate that the guitar was made during one of the 1960 production runs...but I am guessing, although from the style of the guitar, I can be pretty sure it comes from either late 1950s, or early '60s.

I have sold a good number of 23" scale Tenor Guitars over the last few years, including Tenor versions of the Harmony Sovereign, Archtone and Stella models, all eminently playable guitars, which have proved outstandingly popular, and include ones I have shipped to buyers in Denmark, Rome and Portugal, as well as to U.K. buyers! The Tenor Guitar has a long and strong heritage in American Music, following early development as an alternative for Banjo players - not only in Blues, but also Bluegrass and Country Music - but excellent for a variety of playing styles, as anyone else who has heard Irish/Celtic tunes played on a Stella Tenor, will appreciate.

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.
The components are essentially original....the only major departure is the purpose-made replacement bridge, we have individually made in Pau Ferro & fitted, to replace the original, which had completely split in two. A bone saddle, again individually purpose-made, has been installed, and following the drilling of the four bridge pin holes, the original bridge pins have been re-fitted. Remarkable how the bridge timber colour blends with the original "Faux-flame" finish!

The general condition of the guitar & it's finish is really excellent for a vintage Stella of 55/60 years. The only other parts not original to this particular guitar, are the machineheads/tuners. The guitar arrived with mis-matched tuner fittings, one original 2-on-a-plate unit, with a little damage, and a pair of non-original individual units. Over the years, when the opportunity has arisen, I have bought in original tuner sets from the Stella & Harmony guitars I specialise in for just this eventuality. So you see it in the new photos of the complted guitar the exactly correct tuners, as originally fitted, which I have added from my stock of original/vintage parts. Also tuner post bushings/ferrules have been added... none were fitted originally.

The guitar has been inspected in conjunction with the very experienced and highly respected professional luthier I work with, and all the restoration/repair work needed to restore the guitar to fully sound structural & playing condition has been completed, under his supervision, mainly in his workshop.

Cosmetically this is one of the smartest Stella Tenors I have seen....the guitar inevitably shows some edge wear, but otherwise exceptionally good for it's age, with fine lines visible from the repaired cracks, minor chips and scratches, and wear to the painted "bindings", and elsewhere from normal usage, as you would expect, but really minimal for a vintage Stella. I'm sure that you will agree that the photos show that it remains a smart and handsome vintage guitar.

The original period & correct type machineheads/two-on-a-strip tuners, to be fitted, continue to look bright, only a little age-related discolouration, and work fine, & will be aided by the added ferrules. The original dyed Maple wooden nut is sound and has been retained.

There is only a very little play wear to the frets and fingerboard, on which I have just done a minor overhaul/dressing is not perfect, but very good for a near 60 year old guitar & perfectly playable. Signs of a couple of small nicks remain, but a couple of previous small divots have been removed, leaving the fingerboard level. Indeed, as the fingerboard was already really pretty straight, I did hope that it would not be necessary to re-level & re-fret the fingerboard and that thus the original frets & painted dot position markers could be retaining. This is in fact what has been completed with some local dressing work to the fingerboard, and a light stoning to the frets, followed by re-profiling & polishing.
Action, strings & cases
I expect to set tenor guitars of this type up with a 12th. fret action of 2.75mm./3.25mm., which I think is ideal for a Stella tenor.....this is exactly where the guitar has ended up, so I am entirly happy with the outcome! The neck is necessarily very slim, with 1.25"/32mm. width nut, but with a proportionally deep profile, somewhere between a "D" shape and a gentle "V", making playing very comfortable.

If "Pre-ordered", strings will be fitted in accordance with the customer's intened indicated above, typically, "Chicago" 13/17/26W/34W, "Standard" 10/13/24W/32W, and "Irish" 12/18W/28W/ the event Eagle Music Standard "C" Tuning - CDGA Pure Nickel 10/14/24W/32W strings have been fitted.

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, with additional factory-fitted internal pads to accommodate the small Stella body size. 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.
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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 the excellent Huddersfield based Eagle Music sell their "Eagle-Puretone" dedicated Tenor Guitar Strings in 3 sets:- "Chicago" 13/17/26W/34W, "Standard" 10/13/24W/32W, and "Irish" 12/18W/28W/38W - in both loop end & ball end Nickel & Bronze - I will consult the buyer as to their choice of preferred string gauges, according to the tuning they use.


The list of professional musician buyers of my tenor guitars is growing and includes David Bristow, well-known Midlands-based Bluesman (footage of him gigging it is available on YouTube - David Bristow - Three Fat Ladies! Sound is better on the one recorded at the Musician, Leicester), Richard Hawley, who has since bought a second tenor guitar from me, this time a Harmony Sovereign, and is very happy with both, and happy for me to use his endorsement, a well-known recording artist/singer/songwriter in Munich, Germany, and another to Steve Harrison, in west Yorkshire. Steve is a Melodian player and multi-instrumentalist, who only recently took to Tenor Guitar, having first bought a modern instrument and then one of my Stella Tenors, has now fallen in love with the Harmony Archtone Tenor I sold to him last year, so his Stella then went to a regular buyer in northern Italy, who has also bought two 6-string Stellas from me.

Another one in late 2015, sold to a customer in Buckinghamshire, following reservation pending restoration completion....and the buyer's feedback:-

"Hi Bob, Guitar arrived and sounds great! Very pleased with it so thanks very much. The customised case is great too. When she eventually makes it into a track or a video clip I'll send it along. Cheers"

Last one completed last year included left-handed set-up for excellent gigging player from Nottingham, to add to his interesting & varied family of vintage & luthier made guitars, dobros, mandolins & ukes.

**** YOUTUBE ****

In addition to the video, which I have embedded here, of David Bristow playing the same model Stella H929TG tenor guitar I restored for him...."Three Tat Ladies" at the Musician, Leicester, you can find more really exiting clips on YouTube, showing what can be done with a Tenor Guitar! We also have the link to the Scotty Moore site, showing "The KIng" Elvis with his identical Stella Tenor!
Useful links
Harmony Guitars Database - Stella Tenor H929TG
Elvis with Stella Tenor in Frankie and Johnny
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