05/12/2017 - Preliminary Announcement - ready to go "In the Workshop" for restoration & available to "pre-order"!
Photos are of the guitar, as it arrived, prior to repair/restoration.
I sell these superb little Terz, 3/4 size guitars as often as I can, both from the 1920s/1930s like this one, and the later Harmony made ones, from the 1940s to the 1960s, including the Spruce & Mahogany H162 & the all solid Birch Stella H929 3/4, but they are scarce and not easy to get hold off......now here is another one - a real little Gem, and a real find! The most recent 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."
This is the 3/4 version - the little brother of guitars like the Lyon & Healy "Columbus" I have available at the moment! It is very similar in dimensions to the iconic Martin Terz Guitars (Marty Robbins, Bobby Gentry, etc!), 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: VTG1474.
This is a real "little Gem"! All solid timber construction, of course, with very nicely marked book-matched Spruce top, with really superb, multi-coloured rope-style, cream bound purfling & soundhole ring inlays, centre inlay stripe to the stained Birch or Maple back, matching sides, with single Cream bounding, a distinctly "V" neck, which as mentioned below is quite wide, yet does not feel "big".
There is no certainty to the age-estimation, and in fact similar guitars are often seen advertised with older age attributions....certainly if indeed it is correct to attribute the manufacture of the guitar to the Lyon & Healy/Washburn conglomeration, they were a major force in the Chicago Music/Manufacturing industry, certainly producing fretted stringed instruments from the 1880s onward.......
If you have been following my Harmony-made Stella and other similar 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, the full-size Harmony Stella is much the same size as the Parlor guitars from all USA makers - this is the real 3/4 size guitar - same size as the Harmony Stella H929 3/4 guitar, and very near in dimensions to the iconic Martin Terz guitars, as discussed below!!
A Superb Sounding, probably 1920s Terz/21.75" Scale 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. The dimensions of the 3/4 size are as follows:-
Overall Length - 32.5"/82.5mm. - Overall Width/Lower Bout - 11.125"/28.2mm. - Upper Bout - 8.0"/20.2cm. - Body Length - 15.375"/39cm. - Body Depth Front - 3.0"/7.7cm. - Body Depth Rear - 3.58"/9.1cm. - Scale - 21.75"/552mm. - Nut Width - 1 27/32"/1.84"/46.8mm. - note the wide neck on this small guitar!
On all the similar Terz 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 guitar appears to be all original and, with the completion of the restoration work I will be carrying out, in excellent structural and cosmetic condition for a c.90 year old guitar!
Inevitably there are some small chips and scratches from normal wear on a vintage guitar, but really minimal for the age of the guitar. Possibly there may have been some thin over-finish applied to the body, but apart from gentle cutting back & polishing to remove some minor surface imperfections, no cosmetic work is appropriate and the over-finish is subtle & not evident. It even retains the original, reverse-mounted, black-button, square-end plate tuner strips. These have some typical age-related discolouration, but work fine.
Prior to sale, work on the restoration will be completed in the workshop of the highly experience luthier I work with, under his supervision. This will include resetting the neck joint, which has not untypically risen slightly. 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 will involve the removal of original frets and re-fretting. It is pretty straight at the moment, but there are some raised fret ends and flattened spots on the frets, which may not be capable of satisfactory stoning/levelling/re-profiling. so a re-fret may be needed anyway.
There was some discussion with the luthier, about whether the ebonized bridge is original, with 10mm. height + (currently very low) saddle, it does seem quite substantial, and appears secure. However, just checking on the internet something in the back of my mind, has confirmed the reference to this style of bridge as the "Chicago Style".....see the www.vintagemartin.com article on this link......
.....confirming the "Chicago Style" bridges, with flat, raised wings, and a long, through-cut saddle were made by Lyon & Healy, and even supplied to Martin during the Hawaiian guitar boom. The only difference on this one is that possibly the saddle has been altered....it will need to be replaced again, following the neck reset change of angle, so I think we may revert to the through-cut style.
The wooden nut is ill-fitting and I'm expecting to be purpose-making an Ebony replacement. A couple of fine "checks"...you can hardly call them cracks in the top, will be glued, if possible, but certainly internally reinforced as a secure precaution.
Following the neck reset, and saddle replacement/height-adjustment, we will be looking to finish with a 12th. fret action is of around 2.5mm./3mm., which should 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 as mentioned previously the neck is wide, the distinct "V" profile makes it very comfortably playable
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 I may have one of, or near, the original type & size, which would be adequate for home storage, if you are not concerned about it's condition, but no doubt you may be able to locate a modern alternative on the net.