6/27/2012

c.1968 Harmony H927 Stella "Parlor" Guitar


Blog follower Mr. Ben and I have done some trading/selling back and forth and this Harmony-made "Stella" H927 (the non-sunburst version of the more usual H929 like this one) came by way of him. It's one of the cleanest examples of this type of guitar I've ever seen -- crack free and the only telltale signs of use are the slightly worn paint of the "faux binding" here and there and the scratches on the pickguard from playing.

My work on it was just a fret level/dress, new strings (I suggest 52w to 11 max on these guys since they're ladder braced and lightweight), light cleaning, and a bit of setup at the nut and bridge. It plays super nice and easy and has a warm, sweet, sustained tone to it with decent volume. Compared to a 30-year+ older variant of the same design (this Bluebird) this one is mellower and better for strumming/fingerpicking and less gutsy (the Bluebird is like a gypsy guitar!) but one sort of expects that as guitars age even more and open up.


This guitar is all solid birch with a nice natural-finish top and dark-stained back and sides. I personally prefer to see birch left natural as it gets a lovely golden "maple" color when just finished and not stained, but of course the popular thing to do in Chicago was make birch resemble everything else except birch!


Cute headstock stencils. These 1960s Stellas are the de-facto student guitar people pull out of closets and whatnot to show off for company. Beware, though, because regular "factory setup" on these right from manufacturing is generally not great. Even if you have one in good shape, it's really worthwhile to have it setup properly at least, since they're so intensely enjoyable once they're ready to go and not "lagging behind" with a bad setup.


Cute fretboard stencil-marks. Brass frets. The board has been stained to resemble rosewood, but it's not.


I shimmed the original bridge up slightly with a very thin piece of hardwood to get proper action.



See how glorious the finish is? It's so clean!


Unlike the earlier Kluson-made tuners on these Stella models, this one sports Japanese-made tuners as original equipment.


Good neck set.




The only non-original part on this is the third screw for the tailpiece. It's a little longer than the original one that was on it so that it holds the end of the tailpiece down nicely.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jake

When you make the sound clip for the Stella you might want to try a glass slide. She seems to like that.

Ben