PAGE 1 - VTG RESTORATION - BLUES, JAZZ & SWING VINTAGE ARCHTOP - HARMONY H955 BROADWAY, CHICAGO, USA 1944-1946 ALL SOLID WOODS ACOUSTIC GUITAR - VTG1567.
Rare Early H955 Model, rather than more numerous H954 Broadway, "Wartime" Wooden Tailpiece - waiting to go "In the Workshop" for restoration & available for reservation on "pre-order".
POA
Intro
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15/12/2018 - Preliminary Announcement - showing photos of the guitar, as it arrived, prior to restoration process.
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I always look forward to being able to offer another vintage Harmony Archtop....particularly the rarer 1930s & "Wartime" models, like this one. Having sold over the years many other examples from that era, together with others from the 1950s & 1960s, including Montereys, Masters & Broadways from the range in of USA Harmony Archtop Guitars.

The Broadway model in three different forms was in production for 31 years, from 1940 to 1971. Previous sales have included later H954 Broadways, but this is the much rarer & more interesting H955 Broadway, which the Harmony Guitars Database logs as produced from 1940 to 1945, but quite possibly continued to 1946, after which the slightly plainer, but very long-running, H954 model appeared.

Many of the restored vintage guitars I sell are now "pre-sold" - their restoration is completed for a particular buyer who has enquired from previous sales.
Description
Stock Number: VTG1567.

A superb vintage Harmony Archtop Acoustic Guitar, from the era of some classic Harmony Archtop models through the late 1930s, early 1940s, and what they they call "Wartime" years in the USA, i.e 1942 to 1946. Similar in many ways to the top-of-the-line Monterey models from the same period, like the late '30s/early '40s H1320 Monterey I restored & sold earlier this year, and the 1946 H1456 Monterey, which was an earlier restoration/sale, and which also sported the "Wartime" wooden tailpiece.

All original & constructed from All Solid Woods, Birch Top and Maple Back and Sides, the top grained to resemble Spruce. This guitar gets it's "special" look from, as it is described in the Harmony Catalog at the time, "Inlaid at top edge with striking woodblock marquetry. Both edges and finqerboard bound with white celluloid", with classic Sunburst Finish, and Original Black Pickguard (very often long gone on these guitars). I have not yet located the usual original inside ink date stamp is visible, but the "Wartime" wooden tailpiece used through 1944 to 1946, confirms that it was made in one of the production runs from those years.

Again as described in the original catalog "Auditorium size", therefore 15.5" body, slightly more compact than the 16.25"/16.5" "Grand Auditorium" body of some of the other Harmony archtops of the era.

On completion of the restoration this will be a fully playable archtop guitar with all the character that can only come with a vintage 1930s/1940s guitar. Unlike some of it's contemporaries, the neck is a very comfortable "C" profile with the standard Harmony 1.75"/44.5mm. width nut.
Condition
As far as I can tell, the guitar is entirely original, and it looks as if this originality can be maintained in completing the restoration. I have assessed the guitar along with the professional luthier I work with, and the repairs found to be needed will be carried out mainly in his workshop, and entirely under his supervision. Meantime, particularly for a guitar of 72/74 years old, it is in great cosmetic condition....you would expect some limited & minor scuffs & chips, plus very limited & localised finish loss, but I would suggest as good as it gets for it's age!

Original rivet-cogged Nickel 3-on-a-plate tuners remain, complete with what I'm sure are the original buttons, showing only slight shrinkage to one or two, but sound. They appear to operate well, are generally clean, with only slight age-related discolouration, but will be removed & checked over, before refitting, with period type bootlace ferrules/bushings, omitted by the factory originally. Original "Wartime" wooden tailpiece, fitted in place of the usual metal tailpieces during wartime metal shortages is sound & in good shape. Original sturdy plain black pickguard is in remarkably good shape considering that pickguards on most '40s archtops you come across have long gone. Original Bone Nut appears sound, and will be retained, provided that it removes and re-fits satisfactorily.

The original floating bridge may have been cut down slightly.....it will be retained, provided removal & inspection confirms it's soundness, and provide that it gives the correct string height following neck reset.

The main restoration repair will be re-setting the neck joint, which has failed. The bound fingerboard will first be removed for access to the joint & will then be re-fixed after joint reset, when it will be reassessed for levelness, but most likely it will need to be re-levelled & re-fretted.

The second area of restoration work relates to the slight displacement to the bindings, both top and back, and the purfling to the top, in limited sections, mainly to the body waist. No doubt partly due to minor shrinkage over the years, but ironically that splendid top marquetry purfling has probably also been partly responsible. Some slight movement/displacement suggests that there is not good adhesion between the top & the internal linings, probably due to inadequate connection as a result of he wide decoration. Looks like we will have to open up the guitar, if possible by removing the back, in order to access & carry out all reinstatements/reinforcements needed.
Action, strings & cases
On completion of the restoration we will be aiming for an action of around 2.75mm./3mm. at the 12th fret, of course with scope to raise this on the adjustable bridge to suit some archtop players who prefer higher action. Unless otherwise requested, it will be strung with a set of Martin Bronze Light 12-54 strings.

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 a virtually unused Hiscox Liteflite hardshell case, offering much better protection, and if I can marry the guitar to a suitable case, I will be happy to agree a combined price for guitar + case.
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Delivery details
PLEASE SEE THE DETAILS ON UK & EUROPEAN DELIVERY OPTIONS, INTERNATIONAL SALES, FEEDBACK & TESTIMONIALS, OTHER GUITARS, PICKUP INSTALLATIONS, ETC. SECTIONS OF THE TWO "BOXES" AT THE HEAD OF PAGE 1.....HEADED "AVAILABLE GUITARS INVENTORY & ARCHIVE" AND "SALES & GENERAL ENQUIRIES".

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*** YOUTUBE ***
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I have embedded a YouTube clip of a later H954 Broadway, entitled "Vintage Harmony Broadway Acoustic Archtop Guitar So Clean" by "Brad", because, although brief, it gives the best musical summary of what these guitars are about in an appropriate playing style. There are other demos I would have liked to have been able to use, which show exactly the same H955 model as this, right down to the "Wartime" wooden tailpiece, but there is so much off beam commentary, that I did not feel comfortable to link them here.

In order to include a guitar from the same era, of similar type, and with the "Wartime" wooden tailpiece.....again with commentary, I have linked another YouTube video below, from GibbonsGuitars....you will find also a couple more lower range Harmony Archtones, also wooden tailpiece equipped.

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Video
Useful links
Harmony Guitars Database - Harmony H955 - Broadway
Demonstration of 1943 Harmony Wartime Archtop Guitar by GibbonsGuitars
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