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Help identifying old parlour - Harmony maybe?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by scubadoo, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. scubadoo

    scubadoo Tele-Afflicted

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    Hello,

    I've just bought this little thing....

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    ....and was wondering if anyone could help I.D. it.

    I looks a lot like a Harmony Supertone S200 but without the decoration. Here's a picture of one that was on ebay recently.

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    Here are a few more photos of it. Any opinions would be gratefully received. I'm guessing it's a birch body but not sure about the neck/fingerboard. The seller measured the action at the 12th at 4mm - looks like it might drop off where the neck meets the body.

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    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  2. ASC67

    ASC67 Friend of Leo's

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    I'm going to say probably a Harmony.
     
  3. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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    Look for a stamp inside the soundhole when you get it...
     
  4. scubadoo

    scubadoo Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks. Any thoughts on model or age?

    I haven't seen a bridge like that on a post-war model but then I don't know too much about parlours.

    I haven't seen any with a light coloured fingerboard either.

    Cheers
    Dave
     
  5. scubadoo

    scubadoo Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks. What info should it give? model, date or both?
     
  6. scubadoo

    scubadoo Tele-Afflicted

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    Can anyone help me out with the weight of a guitar like this? I need to organise a courier and the seller doesn't have a clue.
     
  7. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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    It could give you both.
     
  8. zombywoof

    zombywoof Friend of Leo's

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    An all birch guitar with idento tailpiece just is not going to narrow it down much when it comes to Harmonys. Based on the tailpiece I would say the guitar was built anywhere from the late 1930s through the later 1940s.

    But as someone else noted, I have never seen a Harmony flat top with that kind of board. This with the fact there there are no position markers (which on cheaper Harmonys were painted on), leads me to think the fingerboard had originally been stained and later stripped. Given there is no logo or any decoration, it is possible that not only the board but the entire guitar has been stripped of its original finish.
     
  9. scubadoo

    scubadoo Tele-Afflicted

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    That's what made me wonder if it was a stripped 'musical note' supertone s200. Lots of those had a plain headstock with no logo.
     
  10. zombywoof

    zombywoof Friend of Leo's

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    On the cheaper Harmony-made guitars everything including the soundhole and body binding and the pickguard (as you see on the Supertone) was painted on. It is unusual to see any Harmony without any of this decoration.
    Again, there is no saying that the guitar is not something like a Regal.

    Has the neck been reset? From the pics there seems to be alot of glue residue on the upper body around the fingerboard. The board itself also appears to be pulling away a bit from the body which might indicate a neck to body angle change.
     
  11. scubadoo

    scubadoo Tele-Afflicted

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    I wondered that too.

    Well, didn't pay much for it, just though it might be worth a punt. Should at least make an ok slide guitar.
     
  12. scubadoo

    scubadoo Tele-Afflicted

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    That's cool if it is, I'll be very happy!

    So the ones that have dark fingerboards, are they actually stained?
     
  13. scubadoo

    scubadoo Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, I finally have it in my hands, took 2 days by Royal Mail Standard Parcel (£10) so that puts my total spend at £42.

    I was pretty nervous opening it expecting it to be in a right state. The case is very old and beat up, with a blue-ish felt inside, maybe original? I'll post a photo later.

    Actually it's not too bad. It has been stripped and varnished - badly. Obviously done by an amateur, so the grain is really rough through the varnish.
    The top is not completely flat and bows out slightly to the sides of the soundhole. I imagine this is normal? Haven't had a good look yet but the braces feel solid.

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    The neck has been off at some time and has glue spill out that will need removing. I think when they did they damaged the neck and unglued/warped part of the top next to the neck, unless that was a break that was repaired hence the glue, but it doesn't seem to go through/round.

    The top needs glueing back down in a couple of places and the side at the lower bout needs pulling back in and glueing to the top.

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    Someone has filed down the slots in the wooden nut in order to make the action better at the lower frets and as a result the nut has broken in places, simple enough to cut a new bone nut.

    All in all, nothing major and despite all this, I put on a set of custom light elixirs, set the intonation and had a play. Wow! what a lovely sound, it has a roughness to it but also a real sweet sound when played finger-style. And slide obviously sounds great. The action is fine, perhaps a tad too low at the first frets, only the outside bass string buzzes. Again, a new nut will sort this.

    The seller neglected to mention any of this despite me asking specific questions about the condition and finish so I don't feel bad at all about the fact that he didn't know what it was. ;)

    What i was really hoping for was a date and model stamp, and I was delighted to find this which I think dates it to Fall 1947?

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    And this which I can't read

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    It also has a serial number near the heel which reads something like 3105H929 - the 05 is very feint and I'm not really sure about it but at least I know it was an H929.

    I really like knowing that stuff!

    Now I just need to decide what to do with it. I'll do a few simple glue repairs, probably cut the new nut and then decide if I need to do a reset but first impression would suggest not.

    The I need to decide how to refinish it. My preferences:

    1. Remove the varnish, finish sand and apply Tru-oil. The birch top is lovely and this would really make it pop.

    2. Recreate something that pays Homage to the look of an H929 but without the fake tiger stripe, maybe just a light stain and the a nitro sunburst.

    Also need to decide whether to repaint the headstock and re- 'ebonize' the fingerboard and paint on fret markers, or inlay both the Stella logo the fret markers. I'm not intending to return it to original and I'm only doing it for fun as it obviously wouldn't be worth it if I was going to sell it. Does anyone have any photos of an H929 from 47 so I can see exactly what design elements it has? When did the steel reinforced neck come in?

    What do you reckon, which way should I go?

    Anyway, all in all a great guitar that I am delighted with.

    Cheers

    Dave
     
  14. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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    The Soundhole give up the info! Cool.
     
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