c.1960 Harmony-made "Stella" H929 Guitar

Update 2017: I'd originally worked on this in 2012, but it came back to me in trade and so I've completely updated the post with new photos, a new description, and a new soundclip.

These all-solid birch, faux-binding, faux-woodgrain, little beauties were the "first guitar" for generations of guitarists. In 1938 Harmony acquired the old Oscar Schmidt brand names for their own use and in 1939 the original version (but not the same model number) of this model "Stella" came out and was in constant production until 1970.

This one is in amazingly good shape considering these were take-anywhere student instruments. Most that I see come through with all sorts of wonky home repairs and minor (and major) damage. This one has only a couple of hairline cracks that don't go through to the inside -- one I cleated for safety's sake on the upper bout and one 1/2" one near the waist on the back -- but is otherwise unmolested.

My work included a neck reset, replacement (ebony/bone) bridge, fret level/dress, one brace reglue, and a good setup. The neck is dead straight, it has 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret, and is ready to go. Aside from the replacement bridge, it's also all-original. During the neck reset I knocked the angle back traditionally and then also bolted it internally for extra security. The dovetail joints on old Harmony products are only so-so, so I like the extra insurance. The strings are a 50w-11 set.

The body is all made from solid birch. This particular guitar has a more woody, darker tone compared to the bright, snappy tone that I usually expect from these.

This has a 1 3/4" nut width. The back of the neck is a medium, C-shaped profile. The board itself is flat and stained poplar or maple and the neck itself is poplar.

I also added side dots to "modernize" it. The deco-style, sprayed fret markers always look pretty hip on these old Harmony boxes.

The new bridge has an ebony base, bone saddle, and proper compensation. Note the two "set screws" I added in the wings. This solves the usual "moving-around" issue the average guitar player has with tailpiece, flat-top guitars bridges.

Perhaps it's not elegant, but it's in line with the way the rest of the guitar is made -- the pickguard is held down with three screws, after-all!


Anonymous said...

Is this guitar for sale? How much?

Anonymous said...

Is this guitar still up for sale?