06/11/2017 - Preliminary Announcement - Already "In the Workshop", in the course of restoration & available to "pre-order"!
Photos are of the guitar, as it is at the time of listing these details, prior to repair/restoration. I have been working on the guitar in between other jobs for some time....just hadn't got round to listing details....as these Stella tenors are a very regular favourite restoration (and I have another two in stock, waiting to be started), it came as a bit of a shock to realise that it is well over a year since I last completed one!
If you follow my listings you will know that from time to time (i.e. as often as I can get hold of them) I do list Tenor Guitars regularly, most often Stellas, but also Harmony Sovereigns & Archtones, none of which seem to hang about long at all, and in most cases "pre-sell", before I have completed the work on them - see excellent feedback from buyers!
I am now finding that I regularly "pre-sell" my guitars, at the stage where I am still working on them. This arrangement has now worked consistently well on a steady stream of restoration sales, so I am continuing to list some of the guitars coming through the workshop, in advance of them being fully ready, and welcome further enquiries.
Stock Number: VTG1526.
The Harmony made Stella H929TG is the 4-string/Tenor version of the iconic H929 6-string, of which I sell many, but the Tenor is the scarcer animal! Same size body, but with 14 frets to the body join, rather than 12 on the 6-string - actual dimensions are 91.25cm./36" overall length, 45.3cm./17.875" body length, 33.5cm./13.25" max. body width/lower bout, 24cm./9.5" upper bout, 8cm./3.2" body depth front, 9.3cm./3.7" body depth rear, 582mm./23" scale, 31.5mm./1.25" nut width, 37.5mm./1.5" fingerboard width @ 12th. fret.
It has great looks, lots of vibe and historic all-American character - a superb sounding parlor blues guitar, set up for finger-style or for bottleneck playing - an iconic Chicago made, tenor Blues Guitar - all solid Birch, ladder braced construction. The usual Harmony ink date stamp is not readable...I think I can see where is is, and I have an idea that it might possibly read S-60, which if it did, would indicate that the guitar was made during one of the 1960 production runs...but I am guessing, although from the style of the guitar, I can be pretty sure it comes from either late 1950s, or early '60s.
I have sold a good number of 23" scale Tenor Guitars over the last few years, including Tenor versions of the Harmony Sovereign, Archtone and Stella models, all eminently playable guitars, which have proved outstandingly popular, and include ones I have shipped to buyers in Denmark, Rome and Portugal, as well as to U.K. buyers! The Tenor Guitar has a long and strong heritage in American Music, following early development as an alternative for Banjo players - not only in Blues, but also Bluegrass and Country Music - but excellent for a variety of playing styles, as anyone else who has heard Irish/Celtic tunes played on a Stella Tenor, will appreciate.
Experts and Tenor Guitar/Banjo players will know far more than I do about the tuning options for Tenor Guitars, but there is also information available on the web, and I previously had a copy of the very useful "Tenor Guitar Chord Bible" by Tobe A. Richards, which I passed on with one of the Tenor Guitars I sold, available on line from http://www.frettedfriendsmusic.com/userimages/procart24.htm, with chords for CGDA (Standard Tuning - referred to as the appropriate tuning in the original catalogues) and GDAE (Irish Tuning), as opposed to the Chicago tuning, derived from the 6 string. Various string makers produce string sets specifically for Tenor Guitar, including those available on line from Eagle Music in 3 sets:- "Chicago" 13/17/26W/34W, "Standard" 10/13/24W/32W, and "Irish" 12/18W/28W/38W.
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 components are essentially original....the only major departure is the purpose-made replacement bridge, we have individually made in Pau Ferro & fitted, to replace the original, which had completely split in two. The photos show the new bridge already glued in place, with the saddle-slit already routed, but awaiting bone saddle, again will be individually purpose-made, and the drilling of the four bridge pin holes, into which the original bridge pins will be fitted. Remarkable how the bridge timber colour blends with the original "Faux-flame" finish!
The general condition of the guitar & it's finish is really excellent for a vintage Stella of 55/60 years. The only other parts not original to this particular guitar, are the machineheads/tuners. The guitar arrived with mis-matched tuner fittings, one original 2-on-a-plate unit, with a little damage, and a pair of non-=original individual units. Over the years, when the opportunity has arisen, I have bought in original tuner sets from the Stella & Harmony guitars I specialise in for just this eventuality. So you see in the photos on of my stock sets of the exactly correct original tuners, loseley in place & to be fitted. Also tuner post bushings/ferrules will be have added... none were fitted originally.
The guitar has been inspected in conjunction with the very experienced and highly respected professional luthier I work with, and all the restoration/repair work needed to restore the guitar to fully sound structural & playing condition will be completed, under his supervision, mainly in his workshop.
Cosmetically this is one of the smartest Stella Tenors I have seen....the guitar inevitably shows some edge wear, but otherwise exceptionally good for it's age, with fine lines visible from the repaired cracks, minor chips and scratches, and wear to the painted "bindings", and elsewhere from normal usage, as you would expect, but really minimal for a vintage Stella. I'm sure that you will agree that the photos show that it remains a smart and handsome vintage guitar.
The original period & correct type machineheads/two-on-a-strip tuners, to be fitted, continue to look bright, only a little age-related discolouration, and work fine, & will be aided by the added ferrules. The original wooden nut remains, and if it remains sound & I can, I will hope to retain it, but should it need to be replaced, the replacement will be individually purpose-made in Ebony.
There is only a very little play wear to the frets and fingerboard, on which I am doing a minor repair to a couple of small divots/nicks. As the fingerboard is really pretty straight, I am hoping that it wuill not be necessary to re-level & re-fret the fingerboard and that thus the original frets & painted dot position markers can be retaining. On others where we have re-levelled the fingerboard, the dots have been replaced with corresponding inlays.
I will be expecting to set the guitar up with good 12th. fret action, around 2.75mm./3.25mm. which I think is ideal for a Stella tenor. The neck is necessarily very slim, with 1.25"/32mm. width nut, but with a proportionally deep profile, somewhere between a "D" shape and a gentle "V", making playing very comfortable.
If "Pre-ordered", strings will be fitted in accordance with the customer's intened tuning.....as indicated above, typica lly, "Chicago" 13/17/26W/34W, "Standard" 10/13/24W/32W, and "Irish" 12/18W/28W/38W.
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, with additional factory-fitted internal pads to accommodate the small Stella body size. 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.