Late ’60s Harmony-made Silvertone parlor

This is a late 1960s Harmony-made Silvertone guitar. It was sold at Sears stores, and is the same guitar as the Harmony-made Stella 929.


Upper bout: 9 1/2″
Waist: 8 1/2″
Lower bout: 12″
Scale length: 25 1/2″
Action at 12th fret: A hair under 3/32″

Like a lot of the Harmony-made parlor guitars I work on, this is a faux-flamed solid birch guitar. But unlike all the others I have had, this one does not use a tailpiece. It has a bolt-on bridge instead. It’s had a rough life, with scuffs and dings everywhere, but it plays easy and has a sweet ladder-braced tone that is hard to beat.

This had one cracked brace on the back, so I reglued that first. No sense doing any other repairs until the bracing was stable. It has two hairline cracks on the back, too, which I glued. They are both stabilized by bracing, so I didn’t cleat them. They won’t open up again.

The action on this one was a little high when I got it, like a lot of 50-year old Harmony guitars. These guitars aren’t worth the effort of a full neck reset, so I used a technique I’ve had good luck with on Harmonys in the past: I detached the fretboard extension with a little heat, and then clamped the guitar to my bench and put the neck under tension so the neck angle was corrected. Then I ran a screw into the heel through the neck block (I use a 2 foot long drill bit through the end pin) to secure the neck, and then I glued the fretboard extension back down. Once the glue was dry, I removed the tension from the neck and the neck angle was corrected!

I repaired two bent tuning keys, lubricated the open gears, and cleaned a few decades of associated grime off the guitar. Then I moved to look at the bridge.

These bridges are just bolted on, which over time means that the center of the bridge wants to pull up off the top. So I removed the bridge, and then scraped all the lacquer off under where the bridge should be. (I actually moved it back about 1/16″ to be in the correct place.) Then I glued it down, clamped it, and bolted it back on. The result is a much more stable guitar bridge, with a more resonant tone than when the bridge was just bolted on.

I leveled and dressed the brass frets, which have a lot of life in them yet. The fretboard soaked up lemon oil and now looks like healthy wood! Finally, I buffed the guitar out and strung it up with a new set of D’Addario EJ11 light strings. Here’s a sound sample with my terrible playing (and my “little helper” bouncing around in the background.)

This guitar is for sale on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

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