RARE OPPORTUNITY - Newly Available! - 29/10/2020 - please enquire for price & availability details.
Update - 23/12/2020 - now sold to buyer in Shropshire.
Feedback - new owner sent me a message full of praise for the playability and tone, which he says will encourage him to work at his ragtime skills!
Restoration Completed, and only available due to unexpected change of circumstances! Restoration originally commissioned by a gigging & recording guitarist, who will now sadly no longer be able to use the guitar as intended, so now available for purchase as completed restoration....can't remember when I last had a Stella 12-string available immediately, and that didn't involve a restoration period wait!
I do also have another H922, possibly from 1962 (VTG1556), has the same original model features, and more detailed description can be supplied on request, if I have not first had the opportunity to update the website.
The last example of this very scarce & difficult to locate model I sold went to Perry Foster, Bluesman, Guitarist/Singer - "Big Daddy of British Blues"; "The Old Maestro" - http://www.perryfoster.co.uk.....restoration having been completed in February, 2015 from Perry's pre-order reservation just a couple of months earlier in the December....I have both Harmony Stella H912 & H913 12-string models, which are the successors to the H922, "in the workshop"....if you may be interested in one of these please contact me - Photos showing this actual guitar were taken before Repair/Restoration work commenced.
Apart from being in the ownership of one of this country's foremost & long-established Blues figureheads, the previously restored & sold H922 Stella had some other interesting recent history. In October 2014 I was approached by the prominent London based, Eagle Rock Productions, seeking the loan of that Stella 12-string for filming use in connection with their production in progress and titled "Legend of Lead Belly" film, aired on the 23rd February, 2015 on the Smithsonian Channel in America, and now available on their subscription channel.
Although with the longest production period, the H922 is not only the oldest, but the hardest to find of the three Stella 12-string models that Harmony made in Chicago in the years from 1940 through to 1971....during this period of over 30 years nothing really changed...size, construction, etc. stayed the same...just the paint job changed...but of course the H922 was the only Harmony made 12-String with the pedigree of having been used by Blind Willie McTell, in his later years!
Stock Number: VTG1524.
..........I don't often get to list these when already up & running and ready for sale...they tend to get reserved before we get there! At the time of writing I have four Stella 12 strings in stock, all waiting for me to complete work on them.
Basically, Harmony made Stella 12 strings are either the earlier Stella H922 (the Blind Willie McTell model!), made through from around 1940, when Harmony acquired the Stella name, up to about 1964, which was followed by the sunburst H912 to 1968, and then the natural/blond topped H913 to 1971....still the All Solid Birch, Ladder Braced 12 Fret to the body Stella with that classic slotted open headstock, still reminiscent of the early Stellas way back - designed to be tuned down for that characteristic 12 String Blues sound - and they are loud!
The original catalogues contains the following caution:- "A 12 string guitar should never be tuned up to regular 6 string guitar pitch, to avoid pulling up the top, or bowing the neck. Experienced players recommend tuning three or four half-tones lower." We have moved on of course since, with lighter string gauges, but it is still the case that these guitars were designed for that spine-tingling detuned sound, often achieved by tuning down to C, or other tunings that were commonly used.
In general terms the highly respected professional luthier I work with sees no problem in tuning 12 strings to concert pitch, but the increased tension is great, and these are vintage guitars! I generally fit two alternative stringing options - either with Martin Bronze Light gauge 12-54 gauge needed for the suggested C, or similar tuning, but which must only be used for lowered tunings, or Martin Bronze Extra-light 10-47 gauge, with which you might still want to tune to D and capo.
The model identifier & production date ink stamps are clearly visible. The date stamp reads S-64 indicating that it was made in one of the 1964 production runs.
I think you will see from the photos of the completed restoration, that the cosmetic condition of the finish to most areas is really very good for a 50 year old vintage Stella. Inevitably there is some marking and small areas of localised wear & finish loss, including to the painted edge "bindings" and seams.
At the commencement of the restoration, the guitar has been fully checked-over in conjunction with the very well-respected professional luthier I work with, and much of the work was completed in his workshop and all under his supervision.
RESTORATION ~ included re-setting neck joint, fingerboard removal for access to neck joint tenon, adjust tenon, thoroughly clean socket & tenon, removing all old glue residues to ensure sound new joint, and neck reset completed, reinforcement of removed original fingerboard, lined on the underside with glued on hardwood veneer, which was then sanded to adjust to correct fingerboard alignment, and re-glued to neck, old worn frets removed, top surface of fingerboard re-levelled & re-fretted, new frets stoned, levelled, re-profiled & polished, adjusting & re-fitting original nut.
PICKUP – L R Baggs Lyric pickup (£235) installed, with endpin jack.
FITTINGS - The tuning machines show some typical age-related discolouration, but are working fine. The original tailpiece likewise shows only a small degree of discolouration, but is bright & sound. The original Ebonised floating bridge was replaced with purpose-made new reproduction floating bridge in dense type of Rosewood with new bone saddle. Stringing & set-up completed as below.
When correctly set up, all the Harmony Stella 12-strings play nicely with the distinct "D" profile neck on the later models, as this one, but all with that 2"/approx. 51mm. nut width & 25 1/4"/642mm. scale length. I aim for a 12th. fret action of around 3mm., making it ideal for a mixture of both fretted and bottleneck play.
The sound of these guitars 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!
As mentioned earlier, the usual stringing options are Martin Bronze XL 10-47 gauge strings, necessary if tuning up to or near concert pitch, alternatively Martin Light 12-54, only for lowered tuning, or a third option I used at Mark Braidner#'s request on the H912 restored for him completed around Christmas 2015 are John Pearse Heavy Gauge 13-56 strings, designed for C# tuning.
N.B.....please advise if you want the guitar strung with other than the current 12s, but do please ensure that you are not tuning up to standard/concert pitch, or any alternate tunings which are the equivalent in terms of overall string tension, with the heavier strings!
There is no case included with the guitar. I do have one or two period correct pressed fibreboard cases, or 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 please to agree a combined price for guitar + case.