Preliminary Announcement - 21/11/2016 - available for pre-order, pending restoration!
Photos will be updated to show the guitar following restoration completion, but meantime a photo of the last H912 Stella 12 string is included.
That guitar, VTG1507, was sold on "Pre-order", completed just into the New Year, and sent to Mark Braidner in Belfast - https://markbraidner.bandcamp.com/releases - "Mark Braidner specialises in finger style blues and slide playing"....
....AND THE FEEDBACK!
"Yes of course that would be no problem at all quoting for my last email. I meant every word of it and loving the guitar more and more the more that I play it. I must say that it really comes to life when I get the finger and thumb picks on, almost pianoesque if there's such a word and sounding great with the slide.".......and the original feedback verbatim.....
"I'm happy to report that the guitar arrived with me here in Belfast this afternoon.
It was exciting opening the box, I was like a kid at Christmas you could say and I wasn't disappointed when I opened the box up.
First impression was that the guitar looks stunning to me and I could have swore it said 'hello'!
I've now tuned it up, to the open 'C' that I had mentioned and have been playing away on it with it sounding better all the time as the strings bed in.
The action is all but perfect for me. It allows me to play slide easily and also fret the guitar in a conventional way very comfortably.
The neck is smooth to run along and not too wide, I wouldn't have the biggest hands in the world.
I can see the slight blemishes that you mentioned where the binding had separated after the removal of the top but that isn't really an issue at all.
The guitar is in great nick for it's age and I look forward to enjoying many happy hours playing it both at home and in a gigging situation (after fitting a pick up) and I will definitely get a you tube video or two up for anyone interested to take a look at!
Anyway thank you so much for your time and effort into restoring the guitar to such a high standard.
It has been a pleasure dealing with you too Bob. On the ball with your knowledge and concise assessments and always 'keeping me in the loop'. If anyone comes up to me and says to me 'I'm looking a vintage acoustic like that one can you recommend anyone?' I'll most definitely and gladly point them in your direction.
All the best with your future projects, I'm sure you have requests and instruments coming in all the time. I'll keep an eye on your website too and you never know in the future something might grab me! Meantime take care and all the best.
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.
I have two other Harmony Stella 12-string models "in the workshop", another H912 and an H913....exactly the same construction guitar, but with natural finish top....if you may be interested in one of these please contact me.
Stock Number: VTG1516.
..........I rarely get to list these when already up & running and ready for sale...they tend to get reserved before we get there....as this one has! However, as mentioned above, at the time of writing I do have a couple of further Stella 12 strings in stock, waiting for me to begin work on it.
Basically, Harmony made Stella 12 strings are either the earlier Stella H922 (the Blind Willie McTell model!), made through from around 1940, when Harmony acquired the Stella name, up to about 1964, which was followed by the sunburst H912 to 1968, and then the natural/blond topped H913 to 1971....still the All Solid Birch, Ladder Braced 12 Fret to the body Stella with that classic slotted open headstock, and floating bridge/tailpiece configuration, still reminiscent of the early Stellas way back - designed to be tuned down for that characteristic 12 String Blues sound - and they are loud!
The model identifier & production date ink stamps are clearly visible. The date stamp reads S-67 indicating that it was made in one of the 1967 production runs. Although it has needing some typical restoration attention, as detailed in the "Condition" section below, the cosmetic finish & hardware condition is really very good for a nearly 50 year old Stella.
The approx. dimensions are as follows:-
Overall length: 40"/101cm.
Top Bout: 11.75"/29.8cm.
Depth: Front: 3.375"/8.6cm.
Scale:- 12 frets to the body 25.25"/642mm.
Nut Width: 2"/51mm.
Fingerboard 12th fret width: 2.375"/60mm.
Floating Bridge string spacing: 2.9"/62.5mm.
Tailpiece: string spacing 2.5"/57mm.
The guitar is all original, and as I think you will see when the photos of this actual guitar are added, the cosmetic condition of this H912 is really very good for a near 50 year old vintage Stella. Inevitably there is some marking and small areas of localised wear & finish loss, including to the painted edge "bindings" and seams.
Slight age cracking is visible to the scratchplate & truss-rod cover. The tuning machines themselves show only a little of the usual age-related discolouration, remaining bright & working fine.
The guitar will be restored in conjunction with the very well-respected professional luthier I work with, and work will be carried out in his workshop and under his supervision. In particular the neck joint will be reset. In order to access the neck joint, the fingerboard will be removed. The fingerboard and frets show only minor wear for age, but a decision as to whether re-levelling and re-fretting may be needed will have to be delayed until the fingerboard is re-fitted, after the neck reset has been completed it's levelness checked, and if needed a refret & re-levelling will be completed, together with any other work required to complete full restoration.
On the final set-up following completion of restoration work, I will be looking for an action of around 3mm at the 12th. fret., which is just where I would want it to be, and will consult with the buyer regarding his anticipated tunings and string it up accordingly....usual options being Martin Bronze XL 10-47 gauge strings, necessary if tuning up to or near concert pitch, alternatively Martin Light 12-54, only for lowered tuning, or John Pearse Heavy Gauge 13-56 strings, designed for C# tuning.
There is no case included, but I do usually have some vintage cases of the type these guitars were originally sold with, although they are covered pressed fibreboard, not intended to last a lifetime, and in variable condition. Alternatively I may be able to supply a virtually unused Hiscox Liteflite hardshell case, offering much better protection, and if I can marry the guitar to a suitable case, I will be please to agree a combined price for guitar + case.