Restoration to be Completed Listing - fully restored the price will be £429.00 - meantime, photos show the guitar itself, after completion of minor bridge work, and fitting new purpose made Bone Nut & Saddle, but prior to fingerboard re-levelling work.
Another in a long line of Harmony made Stellas, and Stella type guitars I have sold in recent years! Another "Redburst" Stella H931 version identical, except for the bridge modification, to a number I have sold recently, and the same in all but colour/finish as the H604 and H608 Silvertones H604 model I also have.
Although just over 50 years old, it is in good & sound condition, and retains it's original character, although with a past bridge change, and now with the Bridge modification and Bone Saddle & Nut replacements I have carried, it is ready for another 50 years....but with the vintage character & sound you will not get from any new guitar!
I sold an example of the identical except for colour Silvertone H604, along with a tailpiece/floating bridge style Stella H929 a little time ago to Rick Astley, who has been since, with the following testimonial quote:-
"Bob is very knowledgeable and is a pleasure to deal with.
I bought a 1963 Stella and a 1966 Silvertone from Bob a while back and love them both.
Stock Number: VTG1502.
I have sold many 1950s and 1960s Harmony made Stellas over the years, which come in various styles and brandings, details of some of which can be picked up from my eBay Shop "Vintage and Traditional Guitars", and eBay ID "vintagetraditionalguitars" feedback history. Now we have another of the variants - the fixed bridge version, in the form of a Harmony made Stella H931, with great Redburst Faux-flame finish looks, lots of vibe and historic all-American character, setup for fingerstyle or bottleneck play.
It comes in mainly original condition, but with a replacement bridge, installed before it came to me, but which I have since modified/improved slightly, and added individually purpose-made Bone Saddle & Bone Nut - an iconic Chicago made, 12 fret-to-the-body, parlor Blues Guitar - all solid Birch, ladder braced construction. Sometimes these guitars are mistakenly described as three-quarter size - there is in fact a 3/4 size version of the long-running Stella H929 model, an example of which I have available currently. The true 3/4 is much smaller, this being the full-size model with standard Stella dimensions of overall length - 36.25"/96cm., body width lower bout - 13.25"/33.5cm., upper bout - 9.5"/24.2cm., body length - 17.8"/45.2cm., body depth front - 3.25"/8.2cm., rear - 3.7"/9.3cm., with the exception of the fingerboard & nut width of 1-11/16th inch in "old money"/1.69"/43mm. - very similar to most modern acoustics, but slimmer than the usual Stella with standard Harmony 1-3/4"/44.5mm. nut - only the s econd one I've come across with that width in all the dozens of Harmony/Stella parlors I've handled, dating through from the '40s to the '70s, the first being the earlier Stella "Buckeye" H928 floating bridge model - VTG1545.
It is recorded that the H931 model was produced from 1964 to 1966, and the usual Harmony ink date stamp reads S-64, which would indicate that this particular example was made in one of the 1964 production runs.
I have heard it argued that this fixed bridge Stella style model gives a better tone than the typical floating bridge type H929/H927 Stellas, but being a fan of both variants, and having sold both in numbers, I think that they are both fantastic, and would prefer not to take sides - just to say that this is an ideal bottleneck guitar, with just "that sound" for Delta and Country Blues.
Apart from the slimmer neck, this particular H931 is now unique in another respect - the original string through and bolted bridge had been replaced with Rosewood bridge before it came to me, which the luthier I work with described as a Lowden style bridge....still string through type, and which I have now modified to remove much of the radius from the bridge top, which did not match the essentially flat fingerboard of the Stella, and add a corresponding new purpose-made Bone Saddle.
If you are an acoustic blues player and wonder why that top line guitar you bought doesn't sound authentic when you play blues like those of Blind Blake, Blind Willie McTell, or Blind Lemon Jefferson, I can tell you why it doesn't and never will! All of those guys and many others from the 30s through to the 60s played Birch bodied guitars, some of them with Spruce tops, some all Birch, but it is the Birch which gives that unmistakable sound. No guitar made today, American or otherwise can give you that sound, for Delta and Country Blues!
If you want a fully functioning, great sounding piece of American musical history, this is it - a really exceptional addition to any collection of Blues/Vintage Guitars.
The overall condition is very good for a just over 50 year old guitar. Inevitably there are edge wear, minor finish loss & small chips to the painted body binding and finish elsewhere. Any previous major work to the guitar was carried out elsewhere before it came to me, including bridge replacement and possibly also a neck reset. The guitar has been inspected by the highly regarded professional luthier I work with, and the further adjustment and overhaul work is being carried out in his workshop, under his supervision.
The original bridge, with it's original factory fitted bolts had been replaced before the guitar came to me with the string-though Rosewood bridge mentioned earlier. I have carried out work to adjust the radiused top of the bridge a little to be more in keeping with the flat fingerboard and purpose made and installed a new Bone Nut. The dyed Maple fingerboard, which has traditional inlayed dots, rather than the usual Stella painted position markers, is being re-levelled & re-fretted, from which an improvement in the fingerboard alignment and action will be achieved, so the playing feel will be much nearer to playing a new guitar, but with a sound that no new/modern guitar will give. That is not to say that we will be producing an ultra-low action, that is not suited to the guitar, or anticipated playing style.
The photos show the guitar after the installation of new purpose-made Bone Nut & Saddle, but before fingerboard levelling/refret. This will not significantly alter the appearance, and I hope that you will agree that they show that it remains a really handsome and characterful vintage guitar! The original tuner machines remain bright...there is a very slight bend on one of the key shafts, but hardly noticeable, and not affecting the operation as they work fine.
When correctly setup, these guitars play nicely with typical "C" profile rounded neck, and are best setup with what I consider to be an excellent and ideal Stella action of approx. 3mm./3.5mm., with just a little more than usual string height at the nut, aiding Bottleneck play. The action is currently at the upper end of that range, at around 3.5mm. at the 12th. fret, and some degree of relief in the fingerboard, and the re-levelling & refret work in progress will be beneficial, as described above in the "Condition" section.
In conjunction with the shorter scale length, giving lower string tension, I reckon the 3mm. action is ideal for a Stella "all-rounder", capable of being played readily for a mixture of finger-style and bottleneck, but could still be used for full-time slide with a nut riser costing no more than a few pounds. The sound is typically loud and pokey, just as a Stella should be - a great Bluesy voice! It has "That Sound" in spades - even, woody, bright, clear, ringing tone! It is strung with Martin Bronze Light 12-54 strings, and the sound is tremendous - and loud!
There is no case (although the guitar will be well packed and securely boxed for posting), but I do have the odd period case, and may be able to supply one of the type these guitars originally came in, or alternatively I may be able to supply it with a virtually unused Hiscox Liteflite hardshell case. These cases of course do offer much better protection, but even the smallest case produced by Hiscox does require a couple of their extra internal pads fitting, in order to hold the small guitar correctly. I will be happy to advise whether I can marry the guitar to a suitable case, at the time of purchase, and if so agree with you an inclusive price for Guitar + Case.