Preliminary Announcement - showing photos of the guitar before completion of restoration.
This is a much rarer 1950s Silvertone branded variant of the long-running Stella H929, in continuous production by Harmony from 1945 to 1970, without major changes. Silvertone was, from 1940 on the brand of the guitars sold through Sears stores & mail order, for which Harmony made large many guitars, based on their own branded models.
The H605 has some of the characteristic features of the earlier examples from the 'late '40s & early '50s...including a very slightly "V" profile neck, combined with a quite older looking vintage style sunburst finish....the cosmetic condition is superb for a guitar approaching 60 years old!
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 - VTG1504.
I have sold many '50s and '60s Harmony-made Stella guitars 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. This model, the Silvertone H605 is identical construction to the Stella H929, which 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.
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 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 H605 model identification ink stamp inside is clear, as is the S-58 date stamp, indicating that the guitars was made in one oh Harmony's 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 Harmony Guitars Database lists the model as S605, but being a Silvertone, rather than Harmony or Stella branded guitar this link is not a full description page on the Database, only a photo page:-
Excellent essentially original condition....finish & colour in my view as good as any I've seen, whether from the '60s, 50s or '40s! - inevitably there is just a very little edge wear to the painted bindings and other edges, but you will not find one with less.... the very minimum of minor surface chips/scratches...really the minimum I have seen on a Stella of this type and age, and I've seen quite a few! I hope that you will agree that the photos show that this remains a handsome & characterful vintage guitar.
I say "essentially" original as the guitar arrived minus the original wooden endpin. A minor detail & I will be fitting a replacement from my stock, of either a correct original wooden pin, or an appropriate cream one. The bridge is the standard dyed Maple unit factory fitted to all these guitars. The tuners appear in exceptionally good condition....very clean with hardly any age-related discolouration, and working fine. The original standard Stella type metal tailpiece, is in good condition, with hardly any finish marking.
The guitar will shortly be inspected with the highly-experienced professional luthier I work with, and all work found to be necessary will be completed as a professional restoration of the guitar to fully stable structural and good playing condition. In particular a decision will be made on the regular issue of the neck joint...at present it appears stable, but I would like to review that with the luthier in a couple of weeks time.
If we feel that there is any uncertainty about the stability of the joint, then the neck will be reset in the luthier's workshop, under his supervision. After removing the fingerboard in order to access the neck joint, and re-fitting it, we will then need to assess whether it needs re-levelling. If it does we may need to re-colour the stained Maple fingerboard, depending whether it was originally pressure dyed or surface stained, hoping that the original inlay dot position markers will survive, or installing replacements as needed. I am also hoping that the original dyed Maple nut will survive removal/refitting, but if not a purpose-made replacement will be made in Ebony & fitted.
The only other issue noted at present, is a very fine hairline in the back of the guitar, running down from just by the neck heal. This is so fine, I am cautious of using the word crack. It will be carefully inspected with the luthier, but it may well be that the hairline, which I can't pick up inside, may neither need or be capable of any attention. As mentioned the missing endpin will be replaced.
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. It already sits at 3mm./3.5mm., which is fine for this type of guitar, to my own thinking.
Additionally it could also 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!
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.