Newly Arrived Preliminary Listing - 28/01/2017 - available for pre-order, pending restoration!
....photos show the guitar itself, prior to restoration.
I sell these superb little Harmony-made 3/4 size guitars as often as I can, most frequently the all Solid Birch Stella H929 3/4 & the all Solid Spruce & Mahogany H162, both from the 1950s & 1960s. They are generally scarce and not easy to get hold off, but now here is another older & even scarcer one - a real Gem, and a real find.....a previous buyer of a Stella 3/4 said - "It's brilliant; I'm completely in love with it. I had bought it for use around the house but I'm now wondering whether I can turn it into a gigging guitar.".....and more recently the buyer of the last Harmony H162 3/4 I restored said - "It's beautiful and inspiring. Thank you very much....Bob, it's absolutely terrific. Haven't been able to stop playing it all evening."
This is the 3/4 version - the little brother! - of one of my favourite guitars, the Harmony H162, the full size version having been in production continuously for over 30 years from 1940 to 1971.....the 3/4 H162 itself was introduced in 1951 & made until 1970. It is very similar in dimensions to the iconic Martin Terz Guitars, and therefore equally suitable for that unique sounding Raised Third/Terz "G" Tuning, or other raised tunings. These are serious guitars, despite their small size, not toys in any sense, and I have sold as many as I can get hold of for some years now, although more frequently the same size 3/4 version of another ultra long-running Harmony Stella all solid Birch model, the H929.
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: VTG1508.
If you have been following my Harmony-made Stella guitar listings, you may have noticed that I refer to the common misunderstanding that the full size Harmony Stella is a Three Quarter Size guitar - well this is why! - this is the real Harmony 3/4 size guitar - same size as the later produced Harmony Stella H929 3/4 & Harmony H162 3/4 guitar, and very near in dimensions to the iconic Martin Terz guitars, as discussed below!!
A Superb Sounding, pre-war, in USA terms, as made in 1940 it pre-dated America's entry into WWII, 3/4 Blues Guitar Of Great Character - do not be deterred by it's diminutive stature this is a serious guitar, and no toy! Nevertheless do please check out the description and photos, so that you are fully aware of the size of the guitar. In order to illustrate this I have included a photo of the same size H162 alongside it's "big brother", a full-size Harmony Grand Concert/OM size model Silvertone S1214. The dimensions of the 3/4 size are as follows:-
3/4 Model:- Overall Length - 32.5"/82.5mm. - Overall Width/Lower Bout - 11.25"/28.5mm. - Upper Bout - 8.5"/21cm. - Body Length - 15.75"/40cm. - Body Depth Front - 2.6"/7.2cm. - Body Depth Rear - 3.375"/8.6cm. - Scale - 21.5"/546mm. - Nut Width - 1.625"/41mm.
On all the similar 3/4 Guitars I have sold, I have been particularly impressed by the unique sound they give, combined with great playability - these are serious guitars, not toys in any way! Small bodied 6 string and also 4 string/tenor guitars were popular in the USA, particularly going back from the 1920s/1930s on, so these 3/4 models were continuing a long tradition in American Music - but of course they are not made now, so are increasingly scarce and sought after by those who appreciate their appeal. You are looking at a guitar of basically similar dimensions to the iconic Martin 5/18 Terz guitar, associated with Marty Robbins and Bobby Gentry, in particular.
The Harmony Guitar Database does not include model description details for either the 3/4 or the full-size "The Prep" model, but if you go to HGD & enter "The Prep" into "Search", there is an Image Page for the model. Slightly blurred but readable S-40 ink date stamp inside the guitar indicates that it was made in one of the 1940 production runs.
"The Prep" 3/4 possesses one feature not available on the later Harmony-made 3/4s I have mentioned, in having a floating bridge & tailpiece, rather than fixed bridge. As with the full-size Stellas and other floating bridge equipped guitars, this is a distinct advantage on a guitar which you may want to use for alternate tunings. Apart from other sonic differences, the ability to make fine adjustments to bridge position to maintain best possible intonation (bearing in mind a vintage uncompensated floating bridge is not going to give spot-on intonation across all 6 strings simultaneously), when tuning or string gauge changes can alter the intonation slightly, is helpful.
The guitar is original and, with the completion of the work I am currently doing, in excellent structural and cosmetic condition for a 77 year old Harmony! Inevitably there are some small chips, scratches and some limited finish loss from normal wear on a vintage guitar, but really minimal for the age of the guitar, and definitely part of it's character. Some gentle cleaning is still required, but the general finish has entirely the right look, and the stencil painted "scratchplate" & soundhole ring are in good shape.
The original black button, square ended, 3-on-a-plate tuner strips are in good order for their age, with some limited, typical, age-related discolouration, but work fine. Original metal tailpiece has some surface corrosion, which will be gently cleaned, and is sound & intact, as is the original dyed Maple floating bridge, of the type standard to so many Harmony Stella and other models.
Prior to sale, work on the restoration will be completed in the workshop of the highly experience luthier I work with, under his supervision. The neck joint is clearly loose will be reset. It will remain to be seen, when the fingerboard is re-fixed, after removal for access to the neck joint, how much treatment it will then need & whether it will require re-levelling, which would involve the removal of original frets and re-fretting. This would be a pity as the original banded finish and stencil painted position markers would be lost, but whereas we will always make every effort to conserve the originality, if push comes to shove the instrument has to be correctly playable, and this has to take priority. In the event that it is needed the fingerboard will be re-levelled, re-fretted, re-coloured and new position inlays installed. The original wooden nut is chipped, and I expect that we will purpose-make a new replacement in Ebony.
As mentioned the neck joint has failed and is very loose, so at rest the 12th. fret action is very high, but gently pressure to push the joint back down readily brings the action down to around 3.5mm., which indeed is not much higher than we will be aiming for on completion of workshop restoration, set-up to be good for combined fretted and bottleneck playing, with just a little more string height than usual at the 1st. fret, aiding Bottleneck play, whilst the shorter scale makes fretting easier.
Although very small, these guitars punch like heavyweights - loud and strident - but with it's own unique rather "old-timey" tone - hard to put into words, but there is a certain element of Banjo-ishness in the sound of the treble strings - but do believe it is not short on either tone or decibels! For full time slide playing, a nut riser can be obtained for a few pounds only!
The decision on what type of strings are fitted when work is completed, is for the customer, and should be in accord with the tuning the buyer proposes to use. It can be strung with either Martin Bronze Light 12s, or Extra-light steels, or Martin Silk and Steel strings, which are probably a better choice if you will be using raised tunings. Depending on how it is played the guitar can produce a very 30s sound you might expect to hear on an old Gospel 78, and a high lilting chime, in a way somewhere between a 12 string acoustic Guitar and a Mandolin.
There is no case included with the guitar, and it is difficult to find cases to fit guitars as small as this, but you may be able to locate a modern alternative on the net. Finally what a great Travel Guitar!!!