Preliminary Listing - Photos are of this guitar, part way through restoration, after replacement of missing original fittings - the "Wartime" version, made with wooden tailpiece rather than the typical metal one, during wartime restrictions on use of metal, in 1945 & 1946.
Update - 14/07/2020 - Pre-ordered for a customer in Sussex.
This is a much rarer and earlier example of the long-running production Stella H929, in continuous production from 1945 to 1970, without major changes....so this is that rare bird.....from first year of production!
I regularly "pre-sell" my guitars, at the stage where I am still working on them, or indeed before commencing the restoration. This arrangement has now worked well in very many cases over the years, and I welcome further enquiries.
Stock Number: VTG1445.
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 identifiable, but not readable, so I'm afraid we are denied the exact dating, but it would certainly say pre-1954, because that is the latest date Stella on which I can recall a similar "V" neck, but it could indeed be earlier, as the guitar's other characteristics are of one from the late 1940s/early 1950s.
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.
Harmony Guitars Database page - Stella H929:-
Excellent essentially original condition....finish & colour in my view as good as any I've seen, whether from the '60s, 50s or '40s! - inevitably there is just a very little edge wear to the painted bindings and headstock, plus the "reverse shadow" where the bridge has been, but otherwise virtually no finish loss, the very minimum of minor surface chips/scratches...really the minimum I have seen on a Stella of this type and age, and I've seen quite a few! I hope that you will agree that the photos show that this remains a handsome & characterful vintage guitar.
I have checked the guitar over in conjunction with the highly-respected luthier I work with, and all work found to be needed will be completed, mainly in the luthier's workshop, under his supervision.
I say "essentially" original as the guitar arrived minus some fittings, and will be restored with the addition, particularly of a set of tuners from my stock of original Harmony & Stella parts. The original tuners on these early "Wartime" models were poorer quality, reflecting wartime metal restrictions -particularly riveted cog fixings had not survived on the units this guitar came with, which had to be discarded. Originals had a slightly different shape base plate, which will leave a shadow, but otherwise spacings are the same.
The bridge is the standard dyed Maple unit factory fitted to all these guitars from 1945 to 1970. The wooden tailpiece, original to this guitar is also pressure-dyed Maple. These were fitted only on guitars from the years of 1945 & 1946, used in place of the standard metal units, during wartime shortages. Again the original wooden nut is also dyed Maple, and will be checked to confirm whether it is serviceable & can be re-fitted. If not a replacement Ebony nut will be purpose-made.
Work to be completed will include neck joint reset. In order to access the tenon the fingerboard will be removed, and after the neck joint has been reset and the angle slightly adjusted the underside of the fingerboard will be lined with hardwood veneer and levelled, with the aim that when it is re-glued to the neck, the top surface of the fingerboard will be level, and hopefully we can avoid the need for re-levelling from above, thus hoping to save the original fingerboard finish & factory painted position markers, ready for re-fretting.
On completion of all work found to be necessary, we will be looking to set the guitar 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.
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! It is strung with Martin Bronze 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.