6/22/2013

c.1930 Harmony 3/4 Hawaiian Guitar


This cute Harmony-made thing is a "size 5" guitar, meaning an 11" lower bout and a 21 1/4" scale length in this case. It appears to have been intended for Hawaiian lap play when it was built as it lacks an endpin, has an obvious stencil scene, and the fretboard at the nut showed the typical wear-mark of a slipped-on metal extender nut. So, before restoration, I decided I would keep it that way rather than convert it into a regular guitar.

Work included a new bridge, new bone nut and saddle, new bridge pins, neck reset, brace reglue jobs to the back, seam repairs, and some drop-filling of a few tight hairline cracks on the back (and one on the top).

It has a charming, chimey tone with a very fundamental sound and due to the short scale length it plays just like an electric lap steel rather than a full "acoustic lap guitar" with a traditional longer scale.


The instrument is birch through-and-through though the bridge (new) and fretboard are some sort of dyed hardwood of a different sort. The stenciled island theme on the front is great!


New bone (tall) nut. The original tuners work fine but one button is a modern ivoroid-material replacement.



I bought this bridge a long time ago and I've been wanting to use it on something ever since. This was the first instrument I've had that it really looks appropriate on.





There's plenty of wear and scuff-marks on the back.




Overall, a darling little thing that would work great for someone coming from lap steel who wants to double on an acoustic and not feel unfamiliar with the size. It's also particularly suited to higher tunings (C7th -- CEGACE or open G "bluegrass" style -- GBDGBD -- comes to mind) because of the smaller size.

No comments: