05/02/2019 - Completed & on it's way to long-standing customer & repeat VTG buyer in Germany, who pre-ordered, pending restoration! New photos now added of the guitar following restoration completion.
One of several models in the "Colorama" range of Stella Sundale models, produced between 1955 & 1958, which as Jake Wildwood points out in his Blog, the link to which is below, "featured bright, automotive-inspired painted finishes rather than the usual natural or sunburst look."
Of those several colour schemes this is the iconic one that is widely known as the image on the front cover of Ron Rothman's excellent little book, "Harmony, the People's Guitar", on this link....http://harmony.rothguitar.com/
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: VTG1423.
An iconic Chicago made, 12 fret-to-the-body, parlor Blues Guitar - all solid Birch, ladder braced construction. 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 H902 model identification ink stamp inside is clearly readable, and the date stamp of F-56, is just about readable, within some blue over-spray via the soundhole,indicating that it was made in one of the 1956 production runs.
Restoration work carried out to date, in the workshop of the highly respected professional luthier I work with, includes removal of body back panel, which was already partly detached, cleaning off back, rib edges & linings, re-gluing braces and re-fixing back.
Finish is mainly good/intact for age, but there are some scratches, chips and other markings, and areas of limited finish loss, typical for age, as shown in photos. Otherwise there are small pin hole adjoining the perimeter of the back, where some one previously attempted re-securing the back panel, without aid of professional assistance, or glue!
There will be no attempt at any re-finishing or attempted making good where there is a little finish loss, as to tamper with such an iconic original finish would be entirely inappropriate.
The back panel re-fit is one of the closest aligned we have ever achieved. Slight back panel crack, visible as a finish score line, at treble edge, lower bout, has been re-glued, but did not require cleating in view of proximity of re-glued brace.
Original fittings are generally good....original tuners, which show only modest age-related discolouration, have been cleaned and, although a couple of the keys are slightly bent, this does not affect operation and they work fine. Original wooden nut is chipped has been re-fitted and adjusted. Original metal tailpiece is intact, generally bright & shiny. Original wooden floating bridge is intact, and on re-assembly was re-checked and found not to require any adjustment. It could be raised if required....see "Action..." section below.
Work has progressed, in consultation with the buyer in Germany, regarding his preferences for his "Blue Guitar" project, and the result can be seen, now that I have been able to post the series of photos of the completed job. The fingerboard had to be levelled and re-fretted to correct misalignment of the extension section beyond the body-join. Harmony Stella fingerboards are either pressure-dyed, in which case the colour is retained when levelling sanding is carried out, or alternatively they are surface treated to look like Rosewood, as in this case. Accordingly on this one the sanding revealed the very nice original blond Maple colour.
Usually this would have been re-coloured to resemble the original, but in this case (as we have done once or twice before) it was decided to retain the blond fingerboard, and to replace the original painted on position markers, with actual inlays in the same "three-bar" pattern. The novelty of this decision was increased by the decision, in line with the "Blue Guitar" thinking, was to install inlays of Paua.....a type of Abalone from New Zealand, which, amongst a beautiful variation of other colours, does include strong blue shades. This has now been completed, with the aid of Colin Keefe, the luthier, for which I am very grateful, and the re-fretting and clear finishing of the fingerboard completed.
Action at the 12th. fret is around 2.75mm., following the fingerboard re-levelling. It can easily be raised by adding hardwood veneer fillet to the underside of the bridge. It has been strung with Martin Bronze Light 12-54 strings....with which these guitars sound 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, and agree with you an inclusive price for Guitar + Case.