8/16/2016

1932 Harmony-made Supertone "Terz" Hawaiian Guitar





While terz-size guitars have been around for a long time (whether they're marketed for tuning up G to G or A to A or as student, kids, or travel boxes), not many of them were built specifically for Hawaiian-style raised stringing like this one was. I'd imagine, at this pay grade, it was as an effort to get kids playing rather than a "oh, you can tune this up to a higher pitch!" sales effort.

Regardless, the owner had me convert this to a "regular" guitar and that included a neck reset, bridge modification and reglue, some seam repairs, a fret level/dress, new nut and saddle, new pins and strap buttons all-around, and general setup. These old cheaper Harmony products can be fussy due to their materials (especially the chip-prone stained fretboards), but this one has turned-out grand. It plays spot-on and has a good, chunky sound that I was not expecting.


The body is all-birch but stained to look more like spruce over mahogany. The neck is poplar and the fretboard is stained maple (I believe). The bridge is natural maple and a little on the folksy side. We all know that the green and red stencil job is the highlight, though!


A new bone nut and saddle were added, too. This has a 1 3/4" nut width and a medium V-shape to the neck. I've used, basically, medium strings to tune this to standard E to E pitch. One needs to bulk up the strings as the scale is reduced, to maintain good enough tension to drive the top and keep it from feeling/sounding wobbly. This only has a 21 1/4" scale length.


I also added side-dots.



The old "saddle" was just a fret (really typical for the time) and non-compensated. The pins are old ones I dug out from my bins.












This never had an endpin, so I used vintage strap buttons to sort-of look right on this. I think the owner intends to bring this around for teaching (or at least on-the-go) jobs, so small and portable was the directive.


The faint, red-stamped F-32 indicated 1932 as the production year. Sears, of course, marketed and sold the Supertone brand.

No comments: