Dating stella harmony guitars
Years later a noted Stella historian turned me on to the wonders, intricacies, quirks and myriad variations of these legendary instruments. There are any number of factors, but the biggest difference is in the bracing.I learned a tremendous amount and sold close to a dozen of my rebuilds through him over the course of a year and a half. While working on Oscar Schmidts I saw how similar they were to many Harmonys, along with Kays, Regals, etc…same woods, similar crude construction on the inside, nice looking on the outside. Schmidt braces are trim and widely spaced, Harmony braces are heavy, clunky, and there are too many of them.Old Strads that are being played with modern steel strings have been drastically modified from their original configuration.
Harmonys, Kays, any “second line” brands with ladder bracing, they are the best candidates for this process. No big deal, I’ve got to remove the top or back to get at the braces inside, so if the guitar is coming apart at the seams already, it makes my job that much easier.I now convert other people’s guitars and also buy basket cases on spec, then redo and sell them. And the woodenness of the tone…absolute perfection.———————————————————————— Violin construction (and ultimately, the sound) has interested me for a long time. At times I find myself listening to much more violin (also cello and viola) music than guitar music. Look inside a violin and it’s the opposite of the modern steel-string guitar – simplicity personified, no x-braces, delicate tone bars, sound hole re-enforcement – nothing.That got me on the crusade to bring these Harmonys up to something resembling Schmidt standards.You can look at these redone Harmonys as modern Schmidts – the original Oscar Schmidt company went out of business in the mid 1930s.