c.1939 Harmony-made Supertone "Lone Ranger" Cowboy Guitar

Yet another customer's instrument, this is a rare model in the "cowboy guitar" lineup. This one is a typical Harmony all-birch build on their 1930+ 12-fret body shape, but it's of course the decorations that make it cool: in this case the big, bold Lone Ranger stencil, the black finish, red celluloid binding, and high-contrast painted "crystalline" fretboard. The Harmony date label on the inside is faint but appears to read "S-39" for 1939. It might be a S-38, though.

Work on this guitar included a new rosewood bridge (made to fit the old broken one's profile) with fret saddle, fret level/dress, replacement upper bout brace, various brace reglues, seam repairs, setup, tuner lube, yadda yadda. It came out a decent player with a sort of funky tubby fingerpicking tone. It doesn't have the nasal bark that a lot of these old Harmony builds tend to have -- it's mellower.

The stencil on this one is in really good shape. I love how clean it is!

Oops, I forgot to mention that I cleated a couple top cracks, too.

Strings are 48w-10 DR Sunbeams to keep excessive tension off. Check out the saddle placement -- so close to the front of the bridge -- this is because I copied the bridge size and shape from the original and the original saddle was installed too far back originally, throwing intonation flat.

Cute headstock. Wood nut (original).

The fretboard has that weird, mid-late 1930s crystalline-style painted finish. In this case it's a faded, dirty mint green color.

The red binding really pops out. This is only the third instrument I've worked on with the stuff, and I love it when I see it.

The back has plenty of play-wear wounds...!

These tuners were really stiff, but after a bit of WD-40, they're good to go.


NickR said...

It's the Supertone 206 made from 1936 to 1938. It proclaims HI-YO SILVER!Black position markers and "crystalline" board. Fpr 1939 and 1940 a new model the 208 was made- that has HI-HO SILVER! on the body and has red position markers and a "silver splattered board". As far as I can tell the red border is paint -not celluloid. Also for 1939/40 there was a 3/4 sized version for children and women and this was the Supertone 208.
Perhaps, somebody liked that 1937 movie- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and liked the HI-HO song!

hotfoot said...

Mine does not have a date stamp, but an eight digit code stamped inside. My red stripe is pained, not celluloid, either. Mine plays very well, I use it for blues slide because it has a great "Woman's Tone" unlike any of my others. Much prefer it over my 1954 Gibson LG1 for tone.
I added a twisted cord red/black start w/red tassels to mine for authenticity...looks smashing!
There is something about that cheap guitar tone that "better" guitars just cannot capture. I have found this to be true on countless electrics...again for Blues Slide.
Will attach picture if I can figure out how.