collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

The church bell a' tolling, hearse comes ridin' slow. Somebody's gone over yonder, won't never come back no more - Skip James, Cypress Grove

Author Topic: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas  (Read 1840 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline frailer24

  • Member
  • Posts: 336
  • Good Mornin', Judge
Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« on: November 02, 2014, 07:17:12 PM »
I've a late 50's early 60's Harmony made Stella, set up with floating bridge and tailpiece. This thing actually doesn't sound too bad! Sustain is similar to a National singlecone, and plays like butter. I have heard them being cast off as junk, just wondering what y'all think. -Larry
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline waxwing

  • Member
  • Posts: 2517
    • Wax's YouTube Channel
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2014, 07:46:37 PM »
If you mean it frets like butter I'd say someone has done a recent neck reset, or it has been unstrung for 50 years. If your hands like the playing and your ears like the sound, it's a musical instrument. I looked for the one I first played on, and learned to fingerpick back in the '60s, when we cleared out the house, but my mom must have passed it on to some neighborhood kid, which is cool.

Wax
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline frailer24

  • Member
  • Posts: 336
  • Good Mornin', Judge
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 01:12:10 AM »
Indeed, when I found it, the neck was off the guitar. Had to reset the neck, cut a new bridge, and replace the rusted tailpiece. I am just amazed at how good a tonewood birch is.
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline harriet

  • Member
  • Posts: 488
    • www.harrietgoldenslide.com
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 01:27:53 PM »
IMHO they are great intimate little guitars for slide with character, loudness and sustain - I have 2 ladder braced stellas from that era and then other brands from the 50's but I don't play chorded in standard so don't know if there is anything distinctive to playing them without a slide. Not had to do a neck reset on any of mine for slide. And they are cheap from ebay.

Offline Kokomo O

  • Member
  • Posts: 194
  • Howdy!
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2014, 06:26:30 AM »
My recollection from my first bout with guitar playing in the late 60s/early 70s, when I had a 000-sized Harmony, is that back then playability was not their strong point. But if you've reset the neck and it came out nicely playable, that's a real bonus, as Wax says, because they certainly could sound good--mine did, and I wish I still had it. Some that I've played in recent years sound downright great, albeit quite different from the older Oscar Schmidt Stellas.

Offline frailer24

  • Member
  • Posts: 336
  • Good Mornin', Judge
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2014, 03:44:12 PM »
Agreed. They have a sound all their own. Took a bolt and wingnut through the heel, but action at the 12th is 5/32. Works for me!
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline onewent

  • Member
  • Posts: 382
  • Mr. So and So
    • vintagebluesguitars.com
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2014, 04:46:54 PM »
I've found the post WWII Harmony guitars to be lacking in tone for blues or fingerpicking style .. takes a lot of right hand effort to get any semblance of tone, and nothing close to the ladder braced tone of the pre WWII concert-size Stellas and Regals.

  However, played open with a slide, I think they sound great!

Set up properly, they can be as playable as any guitar, and the metal truss rod is a big plus to gain that playability.

frailer, 5/32 (10/64) is considered 'high' action when assessing the geometry of a guitar setup, but if it works for you, than it's not a problem.  I usually shoot for 4/64 - 6/64 measured from top of 12th fret to bottom of string.

For a dedicated slide guitar, these are cheap and available, and readily replaced if lost or stolen!  Tom



Offline frailer24

  • Member
  • Posts: 336
  • Good Mornin', Judge
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2014, 07:53:39 PM »
The worst action I have is 1/4 on an old Sovereign. My left hand frets heavy anyhow.
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline harriet

  • Member
  • Posts: 488
    • www.harrietgoldenslide.com
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2014, 02:16:44 PM »
Here's what my blond stella sort of sounds like,

This a sample of some slide I have been working on - first a north hill rhythm Michael Messer taught me then it goes into an attempt at Fred McDowell's John Henry learned basically from the SGGW and then referring to the original recordings. 

The guitar cost about $75 on ebay several years ago and has had nothing done to it other than swapping the bridge with another from that era.


Offline frailer24

  • Member
  • Posts: 336
  • Good Mornin', Judge
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2014, 09:42:03 PM »
Harriet, yours sounds a good deal like mine. Plastic or wooden bridge?
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline harriet

  • Member
  • Posts: 488
    • www.harrietgoldenslide.com
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2014, 03:02:46 AM »
Hi frailer24 - wooden. It came with a plastic bridge with screws on each end  and I swapped it for the  skinny wooden one in the pix that I got on Ebay. :)

Offline frailer24

  • Member
  • Posts: 336
  • Good Mornin', Judge
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2014, 03:16:59 PM »
Great job!
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline harriet

  • Member
  • Posts: 488
    • www.harrietgoldenslide.com
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2014, 04:52:06 PM »
Thanks :).

Offline frailer24

  • Member
  • Posts: 336
  • Good Mornin', Judge
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2014, 05:52:32 PM »
Carved mine out of an old archtop base that snapped. They do sound great for slide.
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline RobBob

  • Member
  • Posts: 246
  • Blues is truth.
Re: Opinions on 50's/60's Harmony Stellas
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2014, 06:29:58 AM »
I remember these guitars when they were new.  Glad they work for you, we suffered in owning them back then.

Tags:
 


anything