Preliminary Announcement - showing photos of the 1958 guitar before completion of restoration. The "Wartime" version, would be from the 1944-1946 period....same model & construction details, except fitted with wooden "Wartime" tailpiece rather than the typical metal one, during wartime restrictions on use of metal.
I have another Harmony Stella H928 "wartime" model from 1945, with wooden tailpiece "in the workshop"....if you may be interested in this please contact me.
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: VTG1495.
I have sold many '50s and '60s Harmony made Stellas over the years. There are many variations of the same basic model.....both those under Harmony's own Stella name, and also the various branded versions of basically the same guitar, with different liveries, for the major Stores/Mail Order companies, including Sears' Silvertone brand, Montgomery Ward's Airline brand, and also under the Regal brand, by this time owned by Fender. If you take a look at my current listings and previous sales, you will find a number of these models.
The Stella H929 is the iconic original for them all....built for a full quarter of a century, right through from 1945 to 1970, with really no basic change, just minor cosmetic adjustments through all those years. This is the Stella H928...originating in the same year, 1945, as the H929, but only produced until 1962....exactly the same construction, but sporting the distinctive "Ivory Faux Flame Tiger Stripe" finish.
It has the floating bridge/tailpiece which gives an advantage in the ability to make minute positional adjustments in order to optimise intonation, which can vary slightly if altered/open tunings are used. Set up for either Fingerstyle Blues or Bottleneck playing - a superb sounding parlor blues guitar, with great looks, lots of vibe and historic All-American character!
It comes in essentially original (but see further advice under "Condition" below regarding sourcing of original Harmony/Stella parts) and restored condition - 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 a three-quarter size version of the Stella H929 model (one of which I have in the workshop at present) which is much smaller, this being the full size model with standard Stella dimensions:-
Overall length - 36.25"/96cm., body with 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 standard Stella/Harmony nut width of 1.75"/44.5mm. - just a tad wider than most modern acoustics - and a 24.25"/615mm scale.
The H928 model identification ink stamp inside is clearly readable, as is the date stamp of S-58, indicating that it was made in one of the 1958 production runs.
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 guitar is all original, and as I think you can see from the photos, taken before the start of restoration, the cosmetic condition is generally as good really as it gets for an 57 year old vintage Stella, and, on completion of the work outlined below, it will be ready for delivery to my customer.
Inevitably there is some marking and small areas of localised wear & finish loss, including to the painted edge "bindings" and seams, where there is a little separation, and it also may be necessary to take the back off for repairs to internal braces, but this is entirely in keeping and minimal for a vintage Stella of this age. There is no sign that any previous work has been carried out to the guitar, other than 4 small screw-holes in the top, possibly from previously added pickup or scratchplate mountings. These will be filled on restoration.
The guitar has been inspected in conjunction with the very well-respected professional luthier I work with, and works to complete the restoration will be carried out in his workshop and under his supervision. In particular the neck joint is in the process of being reset. The fingerboard and neck have been removed and the joint is being prepared for re-setting. A more detailed examination of the internal construction will be carried out to determine whether any of the braces are loose/damaged....if so it may be necessary to take the back off, in order to complete internal repairs...if not, the existing slight seam separations will be glued & clamped.
The metal tailpiece & tuner machines do show some typical age-related discolouration, but work fine. To complete the restoration, the damaged original wooden nut will be replaced with a new purpose-made Ebony nut, and the also damaged original floating bridge will be replaced by another dyed Maple Stella bridge from my stock of original spares.
On completion of the fingerboard work, we will be looking to set the guitar up with an action of around 3mm. at the 12th. fret, which with just a tad more string height at the nut/first fret in order to aid bottleneck play, I reckon is ideal for a Stella "all-rounder", good for Bottleneck play, but with fretting aided by the shorter scale length and consequent lower string tension, therefore ideal for a mixture of finger-style and bottleneck play.
Additionally it 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 really sounds tremendous - and loud! I would usually set it up with Martin Bronze Light 12-54 strings, but other options are available for the buyer's choice.
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, and adjust the invoice accordingly.