20/07/2019 - "Pre-ordered" Restoration now completed, and dispatched to customer in London!
Photos updated showing guitar following restoration.
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: VTG1534.
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 sourcing of original Harmony/Stella parts) and restored condition - an iconic Chicago made, 12 fret-to-the-body, parlor Blues Guitar - all solid Birch, ladder braced construction.
The H929 model identification ink stamp inside is clearly readable, as is the date stamp of S-59, indicating that this one was made in one of the 1959 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.
The guitar is all original, and cosmetically in very, very good shape, really remarkably good for 60 year-old Stella, retaining unusually good depth of colour! Naturally there are minor chips & scuffs to the painted bindings and elsewhere but, in total, one of the smartest I've ever had!
Following inspection in conjunction with the highly respected luthier I work with, to confirm the schedule of works required to fully complete the restoration to ensure the guitars is structurally sound and in correct playing condition & set-up, the restoration has now been completed, mainly in his workshop, and under his supervision. Not unusually it required a neck reset, both in view of the slight looseness in the neck joint, and the poor angle, resulting in the, again not unusual "ski-jump" to the fingerboard extension past the body join. The fingerboard was removed in order to access the neck joint tenon for removal & re-setting.
In some cases an uneven fingerboard would be resolved by removing the frets & re-levelling the fingerboard surface, then installing new frets, but we are always anxious, if at all possible, to avoid losing the the original fingerboard stencil painted markings, frets etc. In the event this was indeed avoided, as after re-setting the neck, it was found that the fingerboard went back on level, without even the need to glue on a veneer lining to the underside of the fingerboard to achieve satisfactory alignment.
Original dyed Maple nut was replaced with new Ebony nut I individually purpose-made. Original tuners show a little age-related discolouration, but work fine. Vintage style bushing ferrules, have been installed, as these were not factory fitted. Similarly original metal tailpiece and wooden floating bridge are in good shape, although the later has had Ebony veneer fillet glued to the underside to adjust the action height correctly.
Following neck reset & other work, we are looking to set a Stella up with an action of around 3mm. 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. In the event the final 12th. fret action is slightly lower at approx. 2.5mm./2.75mm.
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! After consultation with the buyer, it has been strung with Martin Retro Monel 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.