1937 Harmony-made Supertone Mahogany Parlor Guitar

I used to work on this style of Harmony-built guitar all the time, but the profit margins on these guys are really, really slim (or nonexistent) so I've avoided buying them for resale. This one came in via customer repair for sprucing-up and modification to a lefty (as a gift to a friend), so it was nice for me to get to work on another "oldy-but-goody" Harmony.

It has an S-37 date stamp in the body and lore on the guitar says that it was played as a Hawaiian (raised-nut slide) guitar until it was tucked-away many years ago. At some point, someone tried to revise it for use as a normal "Spanish"-style guitar, but the job was not so tidy and the action left high and painful.

The body and neck are all-solid-mahogany throughout, though the fretboard is ebonized maple and the bridge is rosewood. There's some nice, still-clinging-to-its-color purfling along the top edge an dsoundhole, too, and the pearl inlay in the neck dresses it up a bit. Sound is sweet, mellow, and clean and it makes a good fingerpicker. I find that the mahogany-top Harmony guitars from this era hold-up a lot better than their spruce counterparts -- the stiffer top wood combined with the extra-light ladder bracing is a better mix than the usual extra-thin spruce with extra-light bracing. Still, due to an unreinforced neck and that light bracing, I suggest only 46w-10 strings if the owner wants to keep the guitar healthy.

This has a short, 24 1/8" scale length and a 12 3/4" lower bout width -- so it's not even a full 0-size.

Work included: a neck reset, fret level/dress, mod of the bridge to a lefty saddle, new bone nut and saddle, and a setup. The neck is straight, the action is 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret, and it's holding steady and has room for saddle-height adjustment in the future.

I'm pretty sure someone refretted this some time ago. The job was not very good, so I knocked them all back down and wicked superglue into the slots so they'd hold nicely and then gave them a heavy-handed level/dress to sort-out uneven height issues.


Nick R said…
That label is from the very early 30s- used up to 1933 and the number appears to have 57 in it. I think it predates the Harmony date stamping- some batch numbers are the most likely explanation for that number. The first Harmony date stamp is F32 while this guitar has more than the usual quota of inlays!