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Just became the proud owner of a 60's something Stella by Harmony. Needed a project to develop some skills with some of the more advanced repairs.

So, as expected, now I can't get the darned thing out of my head. Bought it from elderly, and they called it an H-3134.

So, as I'm looking at this thing, here's what it appears I have:

Small body parlor guitar
13.25" lower bout
24" scale
The body was advertised as birch (flatsawn) and appears solid throughout
Top is birch as well - ladder braced (looks kind of thin..it measured about 2.3/32")
Top has some crudely painted (stained) in binding (this leads me to believe that it has not been refinished before)
Neck looks like mahogany.
Fretboard is a thick mystery wood with no radius and painted on block inlays
Frets are very thin!
Tuners barely functional
bridge is pinless, screwed-on plastic with what looks like an adjustable saddle (there are screws on each end).
Screw on pickguard

Now, what I'm really after here is some neck reset experience, but as I look at this thing, I wonder if I could make her sing a bit? I haven't strung her up yet for fear that she might fold in half. Maybe I'll go buy some silk&steels?

Has anyone ever made something playable with good tone out of one of these guitars?
Thoughts that have already run through my head are:
Neck reset
New rosewood bridge and new saddle
new radiused fretboard and some wider frets
new pickguard
new tuners
sand and refinish (at least the neck) with TRU-OIL
How about a new spruce top with different bracing?

Anyway, the reality is that I've got a new project guitar and couldn't help but post something. Any thoughts or experience with one of these would be fun to hear.

If I can get it strung up tonight I'll post feedback.

-B

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While I have no experience with the particular guitar you are talking about I can say that in general Harmony made guitars are suprisingly good sounding when hey are treated to some love and attention. And you are right about it being all solid wood...harmony only switched to using some laminates in the mid 70's or later. I have a number of Harmonys for the same reson as you...great guitars to practice on for a low cost and with a decent possibility of a nice playing guitar at the end. What other guitar could you buy for $50 bucks or less that is made out of solid wood...even if it needs some work.

Good luck with your project and report back to let us know how its going.

You may also want to check out this site: http://216.219.212.85/cgi-bin/forums/ikonboard.cgi?s=7e6ff5f756e826...

its full of harmony fantaics and there are some decent threads about rehabing these guitars.

Cheers,

Blue
THanks for the link Blue. Just registered for HArmony guys Board and willcheck it out tonight
That is a lot of work and modifications on one Stella. You'll lose the vintage low end vibe. I have fixed a bunch of Harmony style stuff. I usually try to get them back to being playable and somewhat original. However, my goal is to sell them, and people seem to appreciate originality. Some of those cheap fretboards are fairly punky and more difficult to re-fret than a standard rosewood board. Be very careful pulling the frets, and be prepared for whole lot fret manipulations to get new ones to hold. If your goal is to practice your skills. You might consider fixing a bunch of stuff, and just give them each what they need. Rather than going full-monty on one axe. Best of luck on your project.
Thanks Tom...I appreciate your perspective. My goal is to be able to confidently repair and restore higher quality instruments. Not likely that I will jump into putting a new top and bracing on and old martin anytime soon. Its likely to be the refret, neck reset and new tuners. I've got some fretwire handy, so we'll see if I can get it to work.
Thanks!
Definatly string it up!!! ..The only way you can evaluate any problems i s to find out what they are!!!!
The neck dove tail will come out easily as the old hide glue is usely mostly gone by now. Go for a neck reset!! I have had a lot of junk Harmony's and have knocked out a lot of necks and decided that is to much work and usely the neck will bow and you have a piece of junk again. Pull the finger board by heating ,route in a truss rod and a new finger board. Now make sure the bridge scale is right 12 fret x 2 +about 1/8inch for composition.

The main thing I have learned is to not work on junk and build something new!! Than you have something.

To take a neck out of a good guitar and reset is a major job and best left to the builder of the guitar!!

Have fun is the main thing!!

Robro ROn

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