1960s Harmony Stella H912 12-String 000-Size Guitar

It's funny because, after you've worked on enough of the same model, they all start to blend together. This H912 was pretty down on its luck when it arrived (via a local customer) but now that it's back to health again, I can see why I always enjoy these when they've been done-up. They're very Leadbelly-friendly instruments.

They all need the usual: a neck reset, fretwork, and new bridge. This one also needed some structural work to a crack and neckblock shifting on the upper bout (I put in a big mahogany block to help there). The original bridges on these are pretty daft -- they're like a pin bridge but pinless -- and have almost no break-angle from the tailpiece over the saddle. It's a recipe for a terrible sound.

Once the neck angle is improved you can get a taller bridge on it and I always opt for a fully-compensated, mandolin-style bridge (like I've made here) when I'm allowed. This is the way to get the most oomph out of these rather-stiffly-made boxes.

The owner wanted it in open D tuning and so that's what it's strung for and what you're hearing in the video.

Other details? It's built like all the rest of these -- solid birch body throughout, too much ladder-bracing, a poplar neck with truss rod (thankee-gods) and an ebonized-maple fretboard, and a clumsy, bigger D/C neck profile. At least the board is radius at ~12" or so and the 25 1/8" scale is fairly short. Someone in the past also went to the trouble of fitting $90 StewMac repro tuners at the headstock but they, apparently, painstakingly fit all of the original tuners' shafts to the new plates. And why? We may never know... but at least it's easy to tune the thing up, now. The original tuners are good-looking garbage on these.