1966 Harmony Stella H1141 Electrified 000-Size Guitar

Above: the electric sound of the instrument

Above: the acoustic sound of the instrument

A customer sent this red-burst, pretty-dang-clean old Stella in for service. He was thinking on selling it but is currently on the fence after taking a listen, hah hah.

It's got a '66 date-stamp inside and is marked as an H1141 model. This instrument's bigger than your average Stella and is roughly Martin 000-style in size. It's built like the smaller Stellas, though, with a tailpiece setup, floating bridge, and all-solid-birch body construction with ladder bracing.

These honestly don't sound amazing as pure acoustics -- they're bluesy and spanky and sound like a low-rent gypsy-jazz box -- in a good way! -- but they're great guitars to "electrify" with a magnetic soundhole pickup to get some of that "vintage vibe" going.

I happened to have a perfect early-'80s Lawrence "acoustic" humbucker on hand and I was saving it for something it would look good in as it has a pretty distinctive red band on its casing. I love the chimey/jangly/transparent sound of these pickups for this application.

Aside from the usual work and then the minor wiring bit to fit the pickup, I also modded the (apparently original) bridge into an adjustable unit that's not obviously adjustable. This allows relatively easy transformation from "normal" string height to "slide" playing height with a couple minutes' fuss. I also modded the "fret saddle" layout to add compensation for better intonation up the neck.

Repairs included: a neck reset, fret level/dress, side dots install, pickup and wiring install, bridge modification, a few seam repairs, setup.

Top wood: solid birch

Back & sides wood: solid birch

Bracing type: ladder

Bridge: ebonized maple

Fretboard: ebonized mysterywood

Neck wood: poplar

Action height at 12th fret: 3/32” bass 1/16” treble (quick)
String gauges: 52w, 38w, 28w, 20w, 15, 11 (46w-10 with wound G would be good, too)

Neck shape: medium-fuller C/D

Board radius: flat

Truss rod: non-adjustable steel rod

Neck relief: hair-over 1/64" treble, hair under 1/32" bass

Fret style: medium-low

Scale length: 25 1/8"

Nut width: 1 3/4"

Body width: 15 3/8"

Body depth: 3 7/8"

Condition notes: despite the cleanliness of the guitar, there are minor issues. It plays well post-repairs but the low E&A strings will mildly fret-out if you dig into them past the 9th fret. An average strummer or picker will probably not notice but someone like myself (who plays forcefully and with a lot of closed-position chords up and down the neck) will hear it now and then. It's not obvious plugged-in. The neck has mild warp overall and while I've leveled and dressed much of it out of the top of the frets, there's only so much you can do to adjust for it. The best thing to do would be to refret it and take more material off the top of the new frets (so as to preserve the painted/stained fretboard look).

Also: the finish is in good order overall with only a few minor scratches/scuffs here and there. The guitar itself is all-original save the added pickup, jack, and ground wire -- oops, and yes, an added strap button at the heel. I modified the original bridge, too, to make it adjustable.

It comes with: an apparently-original chip case in "alright" condition.

Here's the original bridge with the new saddle relocation for better intonation.

Here are the sort-of hidden adjustable bolts for setting action height.

They fit into recesses in the bridge base.

Here's what it looks like underneath when on the top.