Selection of "Restoration to Completed" "Depression Era" Into "Wartime" Harmony 12 Fret Parlor Guitars - fully restored prices indicated below or available on request - meantime, showing photos of the selection of models available, before start of restoration - ready to go "In the Workshop" for restoration & available to "pre-order"!
A Full Set of Details of each of the guitars listed can be provided on request, but I have felt for some time that I needed to rationalise the amount of information confronting folks....hope it works for enquirers!
These "Depression Era" guitars are always interesting....unlike the more structured post-war production from Harmony, the 1930s & early '40s, pre-war production fits very well into the old saying about 1930s Chicago guitars production...."Many makers, large & small, all making similar guitars, using similar materials & often the same parts, sometimes making guitars for each other, all making guitars for numerous distributors, usually using distributors own brand names....and nobody was taking notes!"
Hence even sources like the very useful Harmony Guitars Database is lacking detail on many a guitar model which left the Harmony factory in those days.
An example of this is the HGD details of the H1009.....interesting both for what it does say & what it doesn't say. It gives the production date as 1940, but I read the date stamp in the guitar I have as 1936, and I have a feeling that I have read somewhere of a Laurel Leaf design connection to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The Harmony Guitars Database also shows a "Wartime" example with the wooden tailpiece, introduced at the time of metal shortages in 1944....so I think that is likely to be the production span for that model.
These guitars are furthermore interesting as the templates & forerunners of the many Parlor models Harmony produced in the Post-War years both under their own Stella name, which they acquired from the failed Oscar Schmidt Company in 1940, and a great number of identical construction but branded versions.
I am now finding that I "pre-sell" the majority of my guitars, certainly the vintage restoration Stellas and other guitars from the same era. Hence many, but not all of the guitars I have in stock are now listed on the website, in advance of restoration, or the stage where I am still working on them. This "Pre-Order" arrangement has now worked well for a good number of years....buyers reserving guitars coming through the workshop, in advance of them being fully ready, without any formal or binding commitment, and I welcome, and thankfully receive a steady stream of enquiries.
I have sold many 1930s & 1940s Harmony-made guitars, including several Supertone models (Supertone was the pre-war brand of Sears, Roebuck) over the years, and the selection I currently have available is shown in the list opposite, under the heading "CURRENTLY AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER".
Set up for either Fingerstyle Blues or Bottleneck playing, or mixture of both - these are superb sounding parlor blues guitars, with great looks, lots of vibe and historic All-American character - all original condition - an iconic Chicago made, 12 fret-to-the-body, parlor Blues Guitar - all solid Birch, ladder braced construction!
Links are provided to The Harmony Guitars Database, which unfortunately does not currently include full description pages for the guitars Harmony made for other brand names, but searching "Silvertone H or S604" or the other non-Stella/Harmony branded guitars in the HGD search box does usually still bring up a series of photos, if no further description.
Individual condition report and repair/restoration schedules can be supplied for each of the guitars mentioned, on request.
All are in either entirely or essentially original condition....finish & colour in my view as good as you are likely to find on any guitars of this type, ranging between 75 & nearly 90 years old - inevitably there is a little edge wear to the painted bindings and other edges and minor surface chips/scratches...in the main, really the minimum for a vintage guitar of this type and age, and I've seen quite a few! I hope that you will agree that the photos show that these remain handsome & characterful vintage guitars.
All the guitars are inspected in conjunction with the professional luthier I work with, in order to determine the schedule of restoration works required, whether it may include a neck reset or the need to re-level the fingerboard, on which if we cannot avoid losing the painted position markings, we do have stencils in order to replace them, or alternatives to install dot markers, etc. to retain the character of guitar as much as possible. Major jobs are carried out in the luthier's workshop, and the whole restoration completed under his supervision.
The original tuners & tailpieces do generally show some typical age-related discolouration but, in the main they work fine, amd are retained wherever possible, but if that is not practicable there are good options for repro parts or I do have a stock of original parts to call on. Original wooden floating bridges, wooden or very good original hard plastic nuts, are re-used whenever possible, but if not practicable replacements are individually purpose-made in Ebony or Bone.
Following whatever restoration/repair works are required on the individual guitar, on completion of the set-up adjustments we will be looking for an action of around 3mm. at the 12th. fret, which I reckon that 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. Within reason it can be a degree higher or lower to suit individual requirements.
Additionally these guitars 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! They are usually strung with Martin Bronze Light or Martin Retro Monel Light gauge 12-54 strings, and really sound tremendous - and loud!
There is usually 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 somee 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.