8/19/2013

c.2000 Korean Harmony Stella 12-String Guitar Reissue



In the late 90s and early 2000s there was definitely a renewed interest in old Harmony products that's still going on. This repro 60s Harmony "Stella" 12-string is certainly testament to that. Unlike the original, which had massive necks and all-solid birch construction, this has a wide but thin (front to back) neck with a truss rod and all-laminate birch construction. The jury's out on which one I'd rather play for tone, but I can tell you right now that if I wanted to play a gig with one of these guys, I'd probably grab for this one first. It's much easier on the left hand!


With a big old auditorium-sized body and tailpiece string load, this has a big, warm, and projecting tone. It's got a lot of rich bottom and a good thick treble which I don't expect from most laminate guitars. Usually the highs are ice-picky but this one seems to have been made of better-grade ply. The internal work is also a lot cleaner and more respectable than the original 60s model of this guitar.

That isn't to say there wasn't "wrong" with this when it came in: it needed a good setup and the bridge needed to be shaved for proper action. This is the typical area of "skimp" on Asian products and is to be expected.


The strings on this seem a little heavy so I've got it tuned down a step to D, but with regular extra light (10s) strings this would easily tune up to concert pitch.


The rosewood, lightly-radiused board is comfy but wider (side to side).


While the soundhole rosette is sprayed-on, the binding is actually the real deal.


The adjustable saddle makes setup easier than average. Note that the tailpiece hangs slightly askew, which means the bridge looks more "extra compensated" than normal.


This is a really clean guit -- it's like it hasn't been played. The satin finish also feels a lot nicer than your usual Korean import stuff: it's not dipped!




This has flamey-birch ply on the rear.



If you're after vintage looks but want something that can fight in the trenches, this would not be a bad option at all. It also sounds better than most of the same-price laminate 12-strings currently in production. Very, very few of these were made, too, so it's sort of hard to find them.

This instrument comes for sale via the Skanktone Collection.

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