Restoration to be Completed Listing - fully restored the price will be £499.00 - meantime, showing photos of the guitar, prior to restoration, as it came to me.
Having previously sold 1954 & 1958 vintage examples of this same model, here is another 1950s H930 - a further great example in the long line of Harmony made Stellas, and Stella type guitars I have sold in recent years!
A much rarer find than the more usual '60s-made models, these 1950s Stellas hark back to similar late 1930s, pre-war models. In this case the great similarity is to a 1938 Harmony H1030 I have, which has almost identical cosmetics - uncannily, at a glance you would take them for the same guitar! In remarkable condition for an approx. 60 year old - the guitar has that even earlier period look.
This particular guitar has the added interest of intact inside label reading "Bruno Musical Instruments - Established 1834"....the label for C.Bruno & Sons, the widely respected distribution company with links right back to C.F.Martin in the 1830s!
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: VTG1453.
Following the many '60s Harmony made Stellas I have sold, now we have a 1950s, altogether scarcer variant - a Stella H930. Cosmetically, this seems to me to be an almost straight copy of the pre-war (and pre-Harmony's acquisition of the Stella name) Harmony H1030, a 1938 example of which I currently have in my store.
The characteristics generally are very similar to the late 1930s Harmony made model. It has the same painted scratchplate, soundhole Rosette, and dot fingerboard position markers as the pre-war model. It has great looks, lots of vibe and historic all-American character - a superb sounding parlor blues guitar, finger-style or for bottleneck playing.
It comes in all-original 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 in fact a 3/4 size version of the long-running Stella H929 model, an example of which I have coming through the workshop currently. The true 3/4 (I have a 3/4 H929 Stella on sale at the moment)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 standard Stella/Harmony nut width of 44mm. - just a tad wider than most modern acoustics - and a 24.25"/615mm. scale.
The H930 model identification ink stamp inside is just about detectable, and although the date is not clear, I have a feeling that it is likely to read 1954....this model was made from 1951 to 1962 & this one has the characteristics, including the "V" profile neck, of one from the early '50s. It also has the added interest of the C.Bruno & Sons inside label:-
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.
Harmony Guitars Database page - Stella H930:-
The guitar is all original, and the cosmetic condition is generally as good really as it gets for an approx. 60 year old vintage Stella, and, on completion of the restoration work needed, it will be in excellent structural & playing condition, ready for delivery to a customer.
Inevitably there is some marking and small areas of localised wear & finish loss, including to the painted edge "bindings" and seams, but this is entirely in keeping and minimal for a vintage Stella of this age.
The guitar will be 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 will need re-setting, and a small area of seam separation between the rear part of the back & side will be re-glued. The fingerboard will be removed for access to the joint. A more detailed examination of the whole guitar will be carried out to determine whether any further works are required....if so these will be fully completed, in addition to any additional fingerboard work found to be needed once this is re-glued after the neck reset is completed...it may be necessary to re-level the fingerboard, which would also then require re-fretting.
The metal tailpiece & tuner machines do show some typical age-related discolouration...these will be checked over, but they work fine. To complete the restoration, the nut will be checked & if needed replaced with a new purpose-made Ebony or Bone nut, and the original floating bridge will be checked & adjusted if necessary.
On completion of the neck reset and any other work found to be necessary, 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! 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.