Preliminary Announcement - showing photos of the guitar, prior to the commencement of the restoration process.
I always look forward to being able to offer another vintage Harmony Archtop - having sold over the years other similar 1950s, 1960s and older model Montereys, in addition to other models from the same "family" of USA Harmony Guitars, including the Master and Broadway - this one is still in the workshop, but will shortly be completed and ready for sale - meantime the photos of the actual guitar, prior to restoration shows that it already looks very smart, and will be absolutely splendid when completed.
I have added a link to the Scotty Moore website where you can see Elvis Presley pictured with various Harmony H950 Monterey Guitars in various film scenes, including a 1960s model from the 1964 film "Roustabout".
Stock Number: VTG1402.
A superb classic Harmony Archtop Acoustic Guitar, from the "Family" of Harmony models, including the Broadway and Master models, in addition to the Monterey, and other Harmony-made branded models including S S Stewart....made in Chicago, from All Solid Woods, Birch Top, Back and Sides. The usual original inside ink date stamp is not visible, but the Headstock/Name Logo design indicates that it is earlier than the 1963 model I restored & sold last year, and the Harmony Guitars Database images include 3 examples with the same headstock design, dated as 1944, 1954 & 1957. We can rule out the 1944 model, with a "wartime" wooden tailpiece and although we can't exclude the possibility of it being made still in the '40s, but after 1946, I think that we can be fairly confident in describing it as 1950s".
N.B....now that I have the back off the guitar, I have been able to locate the very faint date stamp, & through magnifying glass, unless I am mistaken the date stamp probably reads F-53....which would date it to one of the 1953 production runs....entirely possible as this headstock design was current on images of a 1944 model, as it is on 1954 & 1957 models on the Harmony Guitars Database.
It has what became the standard post-war Harmony archtop body size, comfortably manageable 15 3/4" width, whereas some earlier Montereys were 16 1/2", or n the case of early H950 models, a more compact 15 3/8". Monterey production continued all the way through from 1938 until 1972, making this one of the most successful and longest in production models in the history of American guitar making, with the distinctive Faux-flame Redburst finish becoming an iconic image of the '50s and 60s - to the point of inclusion in the Presley films!
The guitar is essentially original throughout, except that the bridge has been replaced with a wooden-based Tune-O-Matic unit, which the buyer wishes to retain, rather than switch back to one of original type, and there may be a need to replace the frets in order to level the fingerboard. Otherwise it is in great working condition! The pickguard and tailpiece are original...something of a rarity on an archtop of this age! The only "upgrade", is that like many Harmony guitars from this era, the tuning machine posts were not fitted with ferrules. I will be adding vintage type eyelet bushings, which will help to improve the operation/stability of the tuners. The original tailpiece and the tuners show just a little age-related discolouration, but remain generally bright and the machine heads work fine.
There are slight signs that work has been carried out on the guitar, and I believe that previously the neck had been reset and the back panel has been taken off and refixed...which is usually only done in order to carry out repairs to refix/re-glue braces - this is indicated by very slight difference in binding colour, with signs of a small insert, and just minor cosmetic signs of some limited over-finishing....but really neither very obvious nor of any concern, although I will be hoping to tidy-up the finishes slightly, without undertaking any extensive re-finishing, but clearly some more minor making good will be needed. This will be done in character & will not be obvious.
The guitar has now been further inspected jointly with the highly respected professional Luthier I work with, for an assessment of any further work required, in particular a decision as to whether or not we do need to re-level the fingerboard & re-fret the guitar. Unfortunately on closer scrutiny we find that the previous work has not been completed satisfactorily, we can see through the F-holes that the neck block is not adequately glued and the back of the body has not be re-fitted well. We will therefore be taking the back off again, both in order to deal with the internal issues & to refit it properly.
The question of the need to re-level the fingerboard arises again from short-comings on the previous neck reset, which has adjusted the neck angle, without corresponding corrected alignment of the fingerboard extension section beyond the body join. We are hoping that we can remedy this, without the need for re-levelling the entire fingerboard and consequent re-fretting, but it has yet to be determined whether this will indeed be feasible.
Overall, the condition is considered to be as good as you will find on a 64 year old vintage archtop acoustic, and you can see already see from the pre-restoration photos, that as with the example in the embedded YouTube clip, the finish colour remains vibrant, and it remains a very handsome guitar!
The guitar already plays nicely with a decent archtop action of around 3mm. at the 12th. fret. It has the standard Harmony 1.75"/44.5mm. width apparently Original Nut, just a tad wider than the typical modern acoustic, replaced Tune-O-Matic bridge to be retained, and 25.25" scale length. It will be re-strung with a set of Martin Bronze Light 12-54 strings, unless otherwise requested.
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 a virtually unused Hiscox Liteflite hardshell case, offering much better protection, and if I can marry the guitar to a suitable case, I will be please to agree a combined price for guitar + case.