7/12/2014

c.1930 Harmony Size 5 Tenor Guitar




Watch it, tenor guitar fans! This is a cutie. I worked on this for a customer back in 2011 (neck reset, fret work, blah blah) and just got it back in trade for work done on more recent finds. Since it's been back I've clamped up one loose seam, given it a fresh fret level/dress, installed some guitar-style tuners at the headstock, added additional bridge plate material, and installed a new fret saddle.

If you're in the market for a full-sounding 12-fret tenor guitar that's only a bit larger than a baritone uke: here she is. I currently have it strung "Chicago" DGBE and it sounds tops. Just like other period Harmony guitar-family instruments, the sound is loud, full, slightly bright, but with a sweet warmth. It begs to be fingerpicked. Also just like other period Harmony guitar-family instruments... even after a neck set the bridge needed to be taken down somewhat in its front area to account for the fact that over time these instruments "belly" a bit directly upward. It's done bellying, however, as the action has remained perfectly at 1/16" at the 12th fret since my original work in 2011.


This is solid spruce (ladder braced) over solid birch back and sides. Isn't it gorgeous?


Original bone nut... classy pearloid wrap... and the tuners fit in perfectly snug right in the old friction tuner shaft holes.


The dots are just bits of paint but this board sure looks nice. All those frets were reseated with glue the last time around so they should be good to go for a long, long time. Celluloid is always hard to work with because the fret tangs don't "bite" as well as they would into a plain-wood board.


I love the look of the cream celluloid next to the UV-yellowed spruce top and that slick purfling. Originally the sort of faded blues and yellows would have been bright but they still look great.


The funky original "shield" bridge also looks great. It's dyed maple and has one tiny hairline crack but is otherwise good to go. There are two very tiny hairline cracks on the top directly fore and aft of this bridge but they're glued up and also good to go. I popped the modern ebony pins in the last time I worked on this.



No cracks on the back or sides...


Maybe it's not 100% faithful to install guitar-style geared tuners on a headstock that originally had friction pegs... but let's face it: no one wants to fuss with friction pegs and steel strings these days... and this headstock supports the look without being awkward about it.



Celluloid binding on the top and back edges...




2 comments:

Greta said...

+sigh+ missed it...

Greta said...

Folks would laugh if they knew how many more times I clicked on the Buy Now button, hoping that maybe the credit card fell through or something. These are really special little guitars.