All Solid Birch "Redburst" 23" Scale, Professional Restoration overall inc. finishes to be completed - "In the Workshop" and already "pre-ordered"!
Preliminary Listing - now been reserved on "pre-order" for a customer!

30/08/2019 - Restoration Completed & ready for collection - Photos, originally showing the guitar as it arrived, now replaced with photos of the finished job!

07/09/2019 - Collected.

12/09/2019 - Feedback! - "Hi Bob. I am absolutely delighted with the Harmony Monterey!!! It's a perfect fit for me and infinitely more comfortable and playable than my other tenor and sounds much nicer, it's more mellow and 'pleasant'?. An added bonus is that my wife thinks it looks and sounds great too! My thanks to you and Colin for the great efforts to make it what it is, my pride and joy!!!.......
Hi again Bob, sorry but I forgot to mention the pickup you've installed. It sounds great through the little Vox amp I've got and look forward to hearing it through a better amp when I get the opportunity. Thanks again."


Although over the years it has proved difficult to get hold of these scarce and very much sought after Archtop Tenors to sell. One previous sale was to Traditional Folk Musician, in West Yorkshire.....who was so pleased with the Harmony Stella H929TG that he first had from me, that he came back to me for an Archtone Tenor.

....another Archtone tenor sold to Graham Legge, Sound Engineer & Folk at the Salmon Bothy, Portsoy, whose very rewarding feedback is under the "Feedback" heading opposite.

My tenor guitar sales have been fascinating in regard to the quality of the players who have bought them, in addition to the Archtones mentioned above, I have restored a Harmony Stella tenor for David Bristow, well-known Midlands-based Bluesman. David was 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, after being 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 since, and he was very happy with both of his tenors, and happy for me to use his endorsement.

Amongst further restoration and sales of both Archtone & Monterey archtop tenors, is the Monterey restored and pickup equipped for Mat Barwick of Rusty Shackle....see Archive notes.

I am now finding that I regularly "pre-sell" my guitars, at the stage where I am still working on them, and although previously I had my doubts, this arrangement has now worked well in quite a number of cases, so I have decided to list some of the guitars coming through the workshop, in advance of them being fully ready, and welcome further enquiries.
Stock Number: VTG1551.

The Harmony Guitars Database entry for this H950T tenor version of the iconic Monterey archtop is pretty sparse, but the 6-string version had one of the longest production runs in the history of USA guitar-making, for 34 years from 1938 to 1972, and I previously believed that the tenor version was made from around 1950 onwards, but have now found reference to a 1948 example. The H950 inside ink stamp model identification is clearly visible, but smaller date stamp was only found when the back was removed, and sure enough reading F-48, so made during one of the 1948 production runs....possibly one of the earliest Monterey Tenors produced? The lower height of the fingerboard extension above the body is typical for the earlier date models, same as the H1215T Archtone of the same age, which I have in the workshop currently.

In the period when this guitar was made, it seems that the tenor guitar, developed early in the 20th. century as a guitar usable by banjo players, was still quite popular, and still made by a few manufacturers, but it appears that Harmony were about the only maker to be producing Archtop Tenor guitars at this stage, with two models, the Archtone, priced at $34.50 in 1958 & $51.50 in 1972, and the Monterey, priced at $46.00 in 1958 & $71.50 in 1972.

In addition to the other Harmony tenors, both Flattop & Archtop, 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 restored examples, like this one will be, are so scarce, I think that this is an opportunity not to be missed by serious Tenor Guitar players!
The condition is essentially original, except that tuner post holes had previously been enlarged to fit modern heavy diecast enclosed tuners, entirely unsuitable to the guitar, which have been removed, and replaced with a set of vintage, but apparently never before used Klusons, together with a new set of Kluson conversion bushings to fit the enlarged holes.

The body and neck of the guitar had been over-painted black, except for the top which retains the original "Redburst" finish. In addition to the structural and other restoration works required, the finish has required considerable work, cutting back the over-painting, in order to get an acceptable basis for refinishing work. Having established that the original Redbust finish of the back & sides could not be retrieved, and need to remain black, Colin Keefe has completed an excellent finishing job, including replacing the Harmony headstock name logo.

On examination of the guitar, jointly with the professional luthier, to establish the schedule of restoration works need, it appeared that the guitar has already benefited from a neck reset, and the neck joint does appear stable. Although the angle of the neck itself is satisfactory, fingerboard re-levelling was needed to remove unevenness & wear, prior to re-fretting. Prior to that the back of the body, the joint seam to which had separated in a number of places, had to be taken off, linings etc. cleaned off before re-fixing/gluing. This gave the opportunity for inspection of the internal structure & completion of any repairs/re-fixing which may be needed to braces etc.

We also needed to make an entire new floating bridge out of Ebony, both as the original has broken in two, and also because the customer has asked for a pickup to be fitted. The bridge has been fitted with purpose made saddle, under which the Fishman PRO-AG0-UKE pickup has been fitted, wired to replacement endpin jack.
Action, strings & cases
Now restoration has been completed I have set the guitar up with set of Eagle-Puretone Tenor Guitar Chicago tuning strings, with excellent, low action, around 2.25mm./2.75mm. at the 12th. Please refer to Main Description section for an outline of tunings & string set gauge options available.

There was no original case with the guitar, and I have sourced a virtually unused Hiscox Liteflite case for the customer.
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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.

*** YOUTUBE ***

I have not been able to find much in the way of YouTube clips of the H950T Monterey tenor, but have embedded this rather droll & brief clip "Harmony Tenor Archtop Acoustic Guitar" by "Dave's World of Fun Stuff". Also I have attached, as Additional Link #1, YouTube clip titled "Hard Luck Child" by "gadaya", originally sent to me by the customer who bought a Stella Tenor I restored. Although played on an older 1920s/30s Stella, to me it is a great piece of Tenor Guitar Blues playing.

*** FEEDBACK ***

Feedback from Graham Legge, Sound Engineer & Folk at the Salmon Bothy, Portsoy, on his Archtone tenor was as follows:- "Guitar delivered on Friday - Totally chuffed with it..By all means quote me - It ain't no lie - it's a cracking wee guitar....

​Thanks again - remember the Folk at the Salmon Bothy open mic nights are on the 3rd Friday of every month so if you're ever up this way for the hillwalking ...

And keep looking at the Glenbuchat Hall facebook pages - they have some superb acts lined up for the coming few months..​

Useful links
"Hard Luck Child" Blues on tenor guitar by gadaya
Harmony Guitars Database - Harmony Monterey H950T
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