Reserved as provisional pre-order for a local customer, pending completion of the restoration.
02/04/2017 - Restoration Completed - Ready to go! Awaiting collection by buyer. Photos now updated to show the guitar after work completed.
Although over the years it has proved difficult to get hold of these scarce and very much sought after Archtop Tenors to sell, I did sell one about 12 months ago to Steve Harrison, a busy gigging Community & Traditional Folk Musician, in West Yorkshire. www.dearmanharrison.co.uk www.facebook.com/AnnieandSteve www.theblackboxband.co.uk
....who was so pleased with the Harmony Stella H929TG that he first had from me, that he came back to me for the Arctone tenor, for the opportunity of the Archtop Tenor.
....and later in 2014 another Archtone tenor sold to Graham Legge, Sound Engineer & Folk at the Salmon Bothy, Portsoy, whose very rewarding feedback is under the "Feedback" heading opposite.
If you follow my listings you will know that from time to time (i.e. as often as I can get hold of them) I do list Tenor Guitars regularly, most often H929TG Harmony made Stellas, which usually don't hang about long at all - with excellent feedback from buyers! Availability of the Stella Tenors is also limited, and I generally don't manage to get more than 2 or 3 a year, and the last one I had in the workshop was pre-sold, and has now been completed and collected by the buyer.
My tenor guitar sales have been fascinating in regard to the quality of the players who have bought them, including one restored as a private project, including levelling the fretboard, re-fretting, re-setting the bridge and new nut, for David Bristow, well-known Midlands-based Bluesman. David is extremely happy with it, and footage of him gigging it is now available on YouTube - David Bristow - Three Fat Ladies! Sound is better on the one recorded at the Musician, Leicester.
Another, partly rebuilt and restored, and in August sold to Richard Hawley, who has since bought another tenor...this time a Harmony Sovereign H1201TG from me, and again I have been in touch with Richard recently, and he is very happy with both of his tenors, and happy for me to use his endorsement.
Also recently one sold to well pleased, and well-known recording artist/singer/songwriter in Munich, Germany, amongst others, including the previous Archtop H1215TGs to both Steve Harrison & Graham Legge.
I am now finding that I regularly "pre-sell" my guitars, at the stage where I am still working on them, and although previously I had my doubts, this arrangement has now worked well in quite a number of cases, so I have decided to list some of the guitars coming through the workshop, in advance of them being fully ready, and welcome further enquiries.
Stock Number: VTG1475.
The Harmony Guitars Database entry for this H950T tenor version of the iconic Monterey archtop is pretty sparse, but the 6-string version had one of the longest production runs in the history of USA guitarmaking, for 34 years from 1938 to 1972, and I believe that the tenor version was made from at least around 1950 onwards. Unfortunately, although the H950 inside ink stamp model identification is clearly visible, it is not possible to locate the usual Harmony Ink Date Stamp. There is the remains of an inside label, which m,ay have concealed it, but I believe that this guitar would probably date from the late 1950s, or if not, from the early 1960s.
In the period when this guitar was made, it seems that the tenor guitar, developed early in the 20th. century as a guitar usable by banjo players, was still quite popular, and still made by a few manufacturers, but it appears that Harmony were about the only maker to be producing Archtop Tenor guitars at this stage, with two models, the Archtone, priced at $34.50 in 1958 & $51.50 in 1972, and the Monterey, priced at $46.00 in 1958 & $71.50 in 1972.
Both the Archtone Tenors I sold last year were sold at £529.00. Although there was a considerable difference in the original maker's pricing at the time this guitar was produced, around 55 years later I don't feel that there is still a proportionate difference in their respective values as playable vintage instruments. As discussed in the "Condition" section below, I am having to restore the finish on this guitar, and whilst it looks like there is good cause for expecting that the finished result will be more than acceptable for a guitar of it's age, I am going to maintain the price of this guitar at the same figure as the two Archtones.
Experts and Tenor Guitar/Banjo players will know far more than I do about the tuning options for Tenor Guitars, but there is also information available on the web, and I previously had a copy of the very useful "Tenor Guitar Chord Bible" by Tobe A. Richards, which I passed on with one of the Tenor Guitars I sold. available on line from Fretted Friends (£10.50 + Postage last time I looked), with chords for CGDA (Standard Tuning) and GDAE (Irish Tuning), as opposed to the Chicago tuning, derived from the 6 string. Various string makers produce string sets specifically for Tenor Guitar, and locally based Newtone Strings produce them in 3 sets:- "Chicago" 13/17/26W/34W, "Standard" 10/13/24W/32W, and "Irish" 12/18W/28W/38W - available on line from the excellent Eagle Music - I will leave the buyer's choice open to fit their own preferred gauge strings, according to the tuning they use, having fitted new Martin Bronze strings from a standard 6 string 12 gauge set....12/16/25W/32W.
In addition to the other Harmony tenors, both Flattop & Archtop, and Stella H929TGs, I have have sold a number of other Tenor Guitars over the last few years - these have included 1960s Kay/Silvertone models and earlier Oscar Schmidt Stella short scale and all Mahogany Kay models. All have been eminently playable guitars and have proved outstandingly popular - so much so that in addition to some of the prominent UK buyers, others have been shipped to Denmark, Germany, Rome and Portugal! Accordingly, as restored examples, like this one will be, are so scarce, I think that this is an opportunity not to be missed by serious Tenor Guitar players!
The condition is essentially original, and on completion of the restoration in progress, I think that the cosmetic appearance will be quite reasonable for an approx. 55 year old Harmony archtop. For this I am indebted to the luthier I work with for some excellent partial refinishing work completed after structural work and the removal of some old, poorly applied over-finish, much of which was like peeling fine Orange peel.....much of it remarkably stubborn Orange peel! Why do people do these things?
There is typical age and use marking, together with some signs of old surface damage & now solidly repaired cracks, which we have not attempted to conceal in just giving the guitar back a serviceable and clean finish, plus small indentations on the back of the neck and other areas of the body, but nothing which in any way hampers the playing of the guitar, or it's overall characterful looks. We will be renewing the original pattern Harmony name headstock logo, which had partly has worn away.
All the components appear original, and in good condition, except for the pickguard, which like most of these, is missing. Fixings holes remain & I can make a replacement 'guard in the style of the original, at modest additional cost, as I did on the last one for Steve Harrison, but the buyer does not require one. The individual tuners, again original, have some marking, but have been cleaned up & work fine, if a little oddly fitted, so the end/corners of the plates project from the headstock slightly, but I noted exactly the same on the previously sold H1215TG, but this does not affect playing.
I could see no sign of other previous repairs to the guitar, other than that it is thought that it may well have benefited from an earlier, tidily completed neck reset. The original nut and the neck angle looked fine, at the outset & this has proved to have been correct, now that work is completed.
There were some old cracks in the top of the guitar, and although there were signs of attempted past repairs, in order to complete effective long-term repairs & reinforcement it was necessary to remove the top, in order to fix cleat reinforcements to the underside, prior to thoroughly cleaning off the edges & linings, before the top was re-fixed/re-glued. New bindings have been fitted to replace the original, which did not survive the removal.
In order to take the top off, it was first necessary to remove the dyed Maple fingerboard. This was rather too thin and has been lined with a hardwood veneer, and re-fixed/re-glued to the neck. Although showing little evidence of play wear to the fingerboard the original frets were not in good shape, so they were removed and the fingerboard re-levelled, only very slightly, before re-fretting. The adjustable bridge and tailpiece are also original, in good condition, with only a little age discolouration to the latter.
Minor further replacement is the new black dot/cream endpin & vintage type ferrules/bushings to the tuners, which Harmony did not factory fit on many models until the late '60s. The original nut has been re-fitted, and final set-up will now be completed adjusting the nut string-slots & the floating bridge.
As mentioned I just have the final set-up to complete, but the action already at around 3mm. at the 12th. fret is fine for a 23" scale tenore guitar, with adjustment on the thumbwheels to raise it if required. It has been strung with Eagle-Newtone "Irish" G tuning 12-38 gauge Tenor string set preferred by the buyer.
There is no case included with the guitar. I may have an contemporary pressed fibreboard case to fit, but old cases of this type, are not generally very robust or well-fitting. However, if you would be looking for a hardshell case, offering better protection, I may have a virtually unused Hiscox Liteflite case to fit at modest additional cost.