8/30/2014

c.1969 Harmony-made Silvertone Parlor Guitar




I picked this up locally and couldn't resist because other than a couple loose braces and a split bridge this guitar was actually in decent structural shape. This one has a very faint 1969 date stamp on the back and while its model number is unclear it's a lot like a Harmony Stella or similar parlor model (H929) but with a pin bridge rather than a tailpiece load. It's solid birch throughout (but poplar neck) with a 12-fret neck join and except for cosmetic changes it could've been built in the 40s with the same general makeup. This has a 24" scale and a 13 1/4" lower bout so it's sort of like a squashed 0-size guitar.

Work included a fret level/dress, new (parts bin) rosewood Martin-style belly bridge, reglue of the two main top braces, new bone saddle and new bridge pins, a bit of cleaning and seam repairs, and setup. It plays perfectly (3/32" bass and 1/16" treble action at the 12th fret) and has that sort of old-time blues or fingerpicking sound that's associated with the birch and ladder bracing. Being relatively late in the game the bracing is a bit stiffer than the older (30s, 40s) Harmony makes of similar specs but that also means it'll string up fine with 12s even though I have it setup with 11s currently.


The rosewood belly bridge gives this a bit more class maybe than was deserved but it's certainly a tone enhancer compared to the painted-black bolted-on maple mess with a straight saddle that was on here in the first place.



Just like Harmony student models since the 30s... the board is actually painted to look like rosewood.


The espresso-brown translucent pickguard is kinda neat.



The back and sides (painted "faux" black binding, by the way) are stained a medium red.


There are two very tiny hairline cracks on the guitar (1" or less) -- one on the top and one on the back -- and I doubt you'd even see them. They're stable and pose zero threat.



While the neck joint was fine I simply don't trust any old Kay, Harmony, or Regal guitars that I haven't reset the neck on... so I did my old "bolt through" thing with a strap button on the outside. There's a big hex nut on the inside that serves to tighten the joint in the future if need be.




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