1967 Harmony H941 Stella Electrified 000-Size Guitar

This oddball Harmony-made Stella is like a very-downmarket take on a Harmony H162. I sometimes see this same basic guitar but in a reddish finish under the Silvertone and Barclay brands. It's solid birch throughout the body and has a poplar neck and ebonized maple/whatever-wood fretboard (and bridge, originally).

A customer brought this in and told me to, "do it up as you see fit, but add a [soundhole] pickup." I was happy to oblige. Work thus included the neck reset, and fret level/dress you might expect... but then I also replaced the split original bridge with a custom rosewood one, too, and reglued various braces, seam separations, and hairline cracks.

For the electrification side of things, I added a Burns-style pickup at the soundhole -- cutting into the top to get it to fit at the end of the fretboard on normal screw-adjusters. I added a volume pot and vintage knob on the upper-bout, too. The best part, however, is that I used a big brass saddle at the bridge so that I could put a ground wire underneath it and thus ground the strings to the circuit in the guitar -- just like it should be.

Acoustically, it sounds just like what you'd expect a birch, bigger-bodied Harmony to sound like -- woody, somewhat sustained, and very funky. I like these kind of guitars a lot tuned to open tunings and that's what you're hearing it in here in the videos -- open D.

Electrically, it sounds really cool. The Burns-style pickup definitely has its own thing going on -- it's a bit like a DeArmond soundhole pickup voice but it has more of a jangly burr to its sound. Once you hit it with a bit of breakup or drive it bursts to life, too, sounding very retro in a purring sort-of-way. It's not dark at all -- but the breakup is smooth and yet metallic at the same time. Odd but pleasing as heck...

The tall saddle is due in part to the fact that the neck's heel had been previously cut-up willy-nilly to a fairly steep back-angle. I have no doubt the guitar will settle-in with the top bellying-up just a bit, however, so it will be able to come down a bit before the owner even has time to pick it up from the shop.