Restoration to be Completed Listing - fully restored the price will be £479.00.
Just Arrived & Inspected! - immediately reserved on pre-order for a customer in East Sussex!
Update - 25/10/2020 - Restoration Completed & Guitar Sold & on it's way to the buyer! New set of photos added of completed restoration.
Following the many '60s Harmony made Stellas I have sold, in all their many variations, this is the original H929 sunburst/"faux flame" model produced for a quarter-century from 1945 to 1970....another of these real "Little Gems" - both are particularly clean and smart - not completely blemishless, but you wouldn't expect a 58 year old Stella to be completely mint, would you? Just professionally restored, with full structural soundness, properly playable set-up, superbly original colour to the finish, and full of historic all-American character!
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: VTG1578.
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 & date ink stamps inside are both very clearly readable, with the date stamp reading F-63, which indicates that this particular example was made in one of the 1963 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 generally good shape, certainly good for a near 56/57 year-old guitar, retaining unusually good depth of colour! Naturally there are minor chips & scuffs to the painted bindings and elsewhere, together with some wear finish loss, but overall minor for a vintage Stella.
It has been inspected 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. Tt will require a neck reset, as in most cases, either in view of slight looseness in the neck joint, or poor angle, possibly resulting in the, again not unusual "ski-jump" to the fingerboard extension past the body join.
In some cases, if the neck joint is stable & the angle not too a problem, the "ski-jump" can sometimes be resolved by re-levelling the fingerboard surface & re-fretting, but on these guitars we are anxious to, if possible, avoid losing the the original fingerboard stencil painted markings, frets etc. In the hope that this can be avoided, after re-setting the neck, in the past we have veneer lined the underside of the fingerboard, before re-attaching to the neck, hoping this way to achieve the re-levelling we need.
Original nuts are retained if possible, but may need to be replaced, and if so we will purpose-make a new Bone replacement. Original tuners show a little age-related discolouration, but work fine. Similarly original metal tailpiece and wooden floating bridge are in good shape.
On completion of the neck & fingerboard reset, 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! Unless otherwise requested, it will be 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.