VTG LIVE & READY TO GO! - New Listing - 04/02/2017 - showing photos of the guitar with overhaul completed, except for the now completed fitting of purpose-made new Ebony nut.
I have another example of the Harmony Stella H928, of which this is a typical Harmony "branded" version of....a "wartime" model from 1945, the very first year the model was produced, and with the wooden tailpiece fitted during wartime metal shortages, "in the workshop"....if you may be interested in this please contact me.
The very distinctive "Buckeye" brand is a bit of a mystery, in that, although I have found examples of other Harmony-made Buckeye labelled guitars, going back to at least the WW11 years, no other real information about the brand has come to light, except that it seems to have been quite long-running, in that there are references to "Buckeye Brand" guitars from the 1920s, reportedly made by the Oscar Schmidt Company, and possibly also the Richter Company, which did not survive WW11. It was no doubt the brand for a distributor company....Harmony reproduced their standard models under a great variety of distributor's own brandings, and it would make sense if they had continued the connection after acquiring the Stella & other brand names when the OS Company failed in 1939.
Stock Number: VTG1545.
I have sold many '50s and '60s Harmony made Stellas 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.
The Stella H929 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. This is a rare branded variation of the Stella H928...originating in the same year, 1945, as the H929, but only produced until 1962....exactly the same construction, but sporting the distinctive "Ivory Faux Flame Tiger Stripe" finish.
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, but professionally overhauled 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. and a 24.25"/615mm scale.... .standard Harmony Stella dimensions, with the exception of the fingerboard & nut width of 1-11/16th inch in "old money"/1.69"/43mm. - very similar to most modern acoustics, but slimmer than the usual Stella with standard Harmony 1-3/4"/44.5mm. nut - first one I've come across with that width in all the dozens of Harmony/Stella parlors I've handled, dating through from the '40s to the '70s, including other H928s....but I have now found another one in my stock....the 1964 Stella H931, fixed-bridge model - VTG1502!
The H928 model identification ink stamp inside is clearly readable, but although I think I can see a feint indication of where the original ink date stamp might have been, very disappointingly it is not readable, although the very slightly "V" neck profile makes me think that this may be an earlier 1950s model. The livery is mainly the standard Stella H928 Ivory "Faux Flame", but with the added Stencil painted "scratchplate" and fingerboard position markers, together with painted Black "Binding" to the back, as well as to the top. These certainly give the guitar a distinctly 1930s vibe....the "batwing" scratchplate outline is found on quite a few 1930s models, as are the exact same decorative stencil position markings on the fingerboard....see the 1940 Supertone "The Prep" 3/4/Terz guitar I have listed at the moment.
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 condition is clearly all original, except for the one minor replacement I have had to make, to replace the damaged original wooden nut, with a new purpose-made Ebony nut. I was initially doubtful about the stencil painted scratchplate, but despite the rather fuzzy edges, I do think that it may well be original, as described above
Following initial cleaning & inspection, there appears to be no sign of any major work being necessary. Also no sign of past repairs...possible that the neck joint may have been reset in the past...not sure! I think that cosmetically it is as good as you are likely to find on approx. 55/65 year old Harmony acoustic, that has been used at all, and not just sat in it's case for half a lifetime! Some typical age and use marking, as to be expected for a vintage guitar of this age, and I think the full range of photos, when available, will show that this remains a particularly smart and handsome example of it's type.
I have completed basic minor overhaul, including partial stoning & re-profiling of the frets. The original thin Brass frets remain in generally good order, and localised play wear on the fingerboard itself is really only finish deep. The 3-on-a-strip, black-buttoned machineheads have been removed for gentle cleaning. They show a degree of age-related discolouration, but work fine. I have fitted vintage type ferrules/bushings to the tuners to aid tuning stability/operation, as these were not factory fitted until the late 1960s. The original wooden floating bridge has a slight chip, but holds the strings fine, because it had suffered slight damage, the original wooden nut has been replaced with a purpose-made a new Ebony nut.
The guitar has now been checked over fully with the very experienced professional luthier I work with, and the only further work we have done, was of an essentially precautionary nature....the addition of a small piece of Spruce to the underside of the top, as a brace/reinforcement, alongside the bass side of the soundhole, where the top showed a slight rise. We have done this little adjustment on other Stellas on a number of previous occasions....not as an essential repair, but just as reinforcement....the solid Birch timber used in the construction of the guitar, because of the way it as cut from the log, does have this tendency to "ripple" slightly....not a weakness/bowing, but the reinforcement will help counteract any such tendency in this area.
It plays nicely with, as mentioned previously the earlier, slightly "V" profile neck and an action of around 3mm. at the 12th. fret, which with just a tad more than usual string height at the 1st. fret, aiding bottleneck play, on the flat radius fingerboard, designed for that purpose, I reckon is ideal for a Stella "all-rounder". Good for Bottleneck play, but with fretting aided by the shorter 24.25" scale & consequently lower tension, therefore ideal for a mixture of fretting-style and bottleneck play. Also, as mentioned earlier the nut width is slightly reduced from the standard 44.5mm. to 43mm. which may suit some players.
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! Unless other arrangements are made, I will fit Martin Bronze Light 12-54 strings.
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 in a Hiscox Liteflite hardshell case, offering much better protection, but which have to be specially fitted out to take the small bodied guitar, and if I can marry the guitar to a suitable case, I will be please to agree a combined price for guitar + case.