Selection of "Restoration to be Completed" 1940s to 1960s Tenor Guitars, both Flattop & Archtop - 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 are scarce guitars, getting harder to find....in the case of one of the Harmony Archtone tenors I am currently working on, I had to check records to confirm whether the 1948 dating was possible/correct, as the Harmony Guitars Database states that although the 6-string version of the H1215 was made from 1944, the Tenor only went into production in 1956.....this is clearly an error, as low & behold the photo archive to the HGD details includes another 1948 example....same headstock/logo/date stamp....my doubts settled....you live & learn!
Previous Archtone tenor restorations & sales have included to a Traditional Folk Musician, in West Yorkshire, who had previously bought one of my Stella H929TG tenors. Another went to Graham Legge, Sound Engineer & Folk at the Salmon Bothy, Portsoy, far up in North East Scotland...fullsome feedback was a delight....you might gather that I have been up there & seen some of the musicians he works with.....see his feedback under the heading below...........
If you follow my listings you will know that from time to time (i.e. as often as I can get hold of them) I do list Tenor Guitars regularly, most often H929TG Harmony made Stellas, which usually don't hang about long at all - with excellent feedback from buyers! Availability of the Stella Tenors is also limited, and I generally don't manage to get more than 2 or 3 a year.
My tenor guitar sales have been fascinating in regard to the quality of the players who have bought them, including a Stella restored as a private project for David Bristow, well-known Midlands-based Bluesman. David is extremely happy with it, and footage of him gigging it is now available on YouTube - David Bristow - Three Fat Ladies! Sound is better on the one recorded at the Musician, Leicester.
Another, partly rebuilt and restored sold to Richard Hawley, who has since bought another tenor...this time a Harmony Sovereign H1201TG from me, and again I have been in touch with Richard recently, and he is very happy with both of his tenors, and happy for me to use his endorsement.
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.
During the post-war years & into the 1960s, it seems that the tenor guitar, developed early in the 20th. century as a guitar usable by banjo players, was still in demand, but production had dwindled to a few manufacturers, and in the more affordable end of the market, only Harmony & Kay continued to produce them...Harmony had just two archtop models the Monterey & the Archtone, plus the flattop tenor version of the Sovereign, so renowned in the late '60s for the 6 & 12-string versions in the hands of messrs. Page, Townsend etc., and the tenor version of the iconic, long-running Stella H929. Kay had a couple of flattop tenors including the version here made for the Sears, Silvertone brand.
Links have been include to the info. in the Harmony Guitars Database, in respect of the armony & Stella models, and various online information suggests that Kay-made model is the Silvertone 661, only available for a short period from 1964 to early in 1966...rather a late-in-the-day response to the early 1960s folkie boom, I'd have thought! It seems very similar to the Kay K3900 which appears in the 1966 Catalog, but that model has a Mahogany top, rather than Spruce...I sold one of those 4 years ago.
In recent years to use and demand for the Tenor Guitars I restore & sell has revived strongly, with some prominent players.
*** GENERAL TENOR GUITAR INFO. ***
Experts and Tenor Guitar/Banjo players will know far more than I do about the tuning options for Tenor Guitars, but there is also information available on the web, and I previously had a copy of the very useful "Tenor Guitar Chord Bible" by Tobe A. Richards, which I passed on with one of the Tenor Guitars I sold. available on line from Fretted Friends, with chords for CGDA (Standard Tuning) and GDAE (Irish Tuning), as opposed to the Chicago tuning, derived from the 6 string.
Various string makers produce string sets specifically for Tenor Guitar, and the excellent Huddersfield based Eagle Music sell their "Eagle-Puretone" dedicated Tenor Guitar Strings in 3 sets:- "Chicago" 13/17/26W/34W, "Standard" 10/13/24W/32W, and "Irish" 12/18W/28W/38W - in both loop end & ball end Nickel & Bronze - I will consult the buyer as to their choice of preferred string gauges, according to the tuning they use.
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 50 & 60 years old - inevitably there is a little edge wear and minor surface chips/scratches...in the main, really the minimum for a vintage 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 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 very good 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 2.5mm./3mm. at the 12th. fret. Within reason it can be a degree higher or lower to suit individual requirements.
I usually fit strings from the Eagle-Puetone range of dedicated Tenor Guitar sets for the recognised tuning options mentioned in the Main Description section above.
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 superior protection to the guitar, but in the case of the small-bodied Stella tenors, even the smallest case produced by Hiscox does require a some 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.