23/06/2017 - Reserved as provisional pre-order for a local customer, pending completion of the restoration. Photos are of the guitar itself, in current condition, prior to restoration/overhaul.
This superb guitar is one of the rare early models of Harmony's Monterey line, launched in 1937/1938, at which point it was second only to the then top-of-the-line H1327, which had Maple back & sides, and above the All Birch H950....the model which went on to be the historic longest-running production model, certainly from Harmony, continuing right through to 1972!
I can't find the ink date stamp in this guitar, no doubt faded through time, but the Harmony Guitars Database lists the much shorter production run dates on the H1320 as only 1938 to 1940, which accounts for it's scarcity!
When completed, this will be a fully original, restored and very playable treasure - a "Pre-War" USA Archtop (bearing in mind that in the USA pre-war means up to the end of 1941) model with immense period character, but which we have brought back to full playability....as they say "they don't make 'em like this any more!"
Many of the restored vintage guitars I sell are now "pre-sold" - their restoration is completed for a particular buyer who has enquired from previous sales.
Stock Number: VTG1487.
Both this and the similar period Harmony Cremona IV guitar I currently have in the workshop, are described in the contemporary 1940 Harmony Catalog as "Grand Auditorium" size archtops, and yet this guitar has the 15.5" body, and The Cremona IV has an approx. 16.25" width, so the Harmony Guitars Database is not entirely correct either way when suggesting 16.5" body. Neither could I accept the catalog's "Matchedgrain Rosewood finish back & sides"....the finish is clearly meant to reproduce the effect of Flame Maple, and I would suggest is over Solid Birch back & sides.
Clearly the top is Solid Spruce, with the splendid "Deep Wine Red Sunburst", which just looks superb, complimented by the "Neat top edge inlay of black and white blocked celluloid. White bindings on top and back, fingerboard, and guardplate". As you will see in the photos, another rarity....that Black/White Pickguard has survived....placed loosely for photos, will be re-fixed on completion of restoration.
Original Nickel keyed individual tuners remain, complete with original bootlace ferrules/bushings, original Chrome tailpiece likewise intact & I hope that the original Bone Nut is sound to re-fit. I hope also that the photos of it, prior to restoration completion, do full justice to this exceptionally nice guitar!
To me one of the nicest features of the guitar is the soft "V" profile neck, only found on these late 1930s guitars....as ever the nut width is standard Harmony 1.75"/44.5mm.
As far as I can tell, the guitar is entirely original, and when I finish the schedule of restoration works, it will be in great working condition!
Original Nickel keyed individual tuners remain, complete with original bootlace ferrules/bushings, fully operational and with minimal age-related discolouration. Original Chrome tailpiece likewise intact, with some typical discolouration, but sound and in keeping....again placed loosely for photos, to be fully re-fitted on completion. Original pickguard does have a partial fine crack in the black top ply, typically just by the mounting screw hole. and will be reinforced on the back, before re-fitting. Original Bone Nut appears sound to re-fit, but if not a Bone replacement will be purpose-made.
The floating bridge appears original, complete with the thumbwheel adjusters, but does have a missing chip between two of the string slots which have been cut too low into the upper/saddle section. Although the pre-war & earlier post-war Harmony archtops had a lower fingerboard level & therefore lower floating bridge height, I'm doubtful that this can be remedied, without making at least a new top section, but we which we will purpose-make a whole new bridge in Ebony if necessary.
Even with the lower fingerboard & bridge levels, the current neck angle does not allow for adequate bridge height. Accordingly the geometry needs to be corrected, either by re-alignment of the fingerboard, by removing it & adding a liner fillet to the underside before re-fitting, or indeed carrying out a full neck reset. Either way the fingerboard needs to be removed and this has now been done. The next step will e re-assessed on my next workshop day with the luthier I work with & the work will be completed under his supervision, to his high standards, but at the moment it looks likely that we will be re-setting the neck joint.
Part of the bass-side fingerboard binding is missing, and this will be replaced following re-fixing the fingerboard, old frets will be removed, the fingerboard re-levelled to remove slight wear patches, and new frets installed.
Overall, the condition is considered to be as good as you will find on a near 80 year old vintage archtop acoustic - as I hope you can see in the photos, it remains a superbly handsome guitar! Cosmetically, of course, there are marks & scratches, particularly where the floating bridge posts have projected through the bridge base & scarred the top, but of course covered by the bridge in position, and some other areas of localised finished damage to the top & elsewhere - without which it would not be a genuine 1930s/40s vintage guitar. Overall it is smart for a guitar this age, with a lot of original shine and depth of colour to the superb Deep Wine Red Sunburst!
On completion of the restoration we will be looking to set the guitar up with a good archtop action of around 3mm. at the 12th fret, although some archtop players might like it a bit higher, but hopefully there may scope to raise this on the adjustable bridge to suit. It will be re-strung with a set of Martin Bronze Light 12-54 or similar strings, unless a buyer specifies another type.
There is no case included, but I do have some period covered chipboard and hard cases, but not contemporary to this guitar, or I may be able to lay hands on a virtually new Hiscox Liteflite case, which of course offers much better protection. If I can marry the guitar to a case of your liking, I will be happy to agree an inclusive price for guitar and case.