7/28/2012

c.1925 Oscar Schmidt "Stella" Tenor Guitar


I worked on a similar model Stella back in 2009, but this one's even a bit classier with the all-black finish and pearloid headstock as well. It's all original (so it seems), though the pickguard has been sloppily reglued at some point in time. This came to me in nearly ready-to-go shape, though it did need a cleaning and light setup.

It plays great and has that warm midrange OS "Stella" tone that's so desired for old-timey groups these days. These pearloid-wonder, blues-box Oscar Schmidts are really in vogue now, and no wonder -- they're sturdy, dependable, and have "that sound" one hears on old blues and country recordings. Plus they look super cool!

This one is roughly an oversized baritone ukulele (Martin calls these a "size 5" shape) with a 12 fret neck and pin bridge. It's got a 21" scale which makes it on the shorter side for a tenor guitar, but not absurdly short at 19-20" like some were made. 21" gives good tension for DGBE or CGDA on regular 34w-10 strings.


Woods are: poplar neck and solid birch back, sides, and top as well as a birch fretboard covered in pearloid. The bridge is rosewood with a celluloid...? saddle and also nut. The top and soundhole are also bound in white celluloid.


Cool blue Stella logo. Tuners are Grover Champion friction pegs -- typical on most OS banjo and uke makes from the 1920s.


Fun embossed and colored (blue) fret markers.


Rosewood bridge. The bridge pins, with their white circle and green interior, are really cool and probably original or period judging by their shape.


Somewhat wrinkly and messily reglued pickguard, but still fun.


Cute multicolor decal for the rosette as well.








Here are those Champion pegs.


Strap button was added sometime recently. Pearloid heel cap, too.


Original endpin with pearl dot.


...and a beat-up but functional original chip case, too!


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