Harmony Stella H-912 12 String Flat Top Acoustic Guitar , c. 1967

Harmony  Stella H-912 12 String Flat Top Acoustic Guitar ,  c. 1967
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Item # 5069
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Harmony Stella H-912 Model 12 String Flat Top Acoustic Guitar, c. 1967, made in Chicago, sunburst lacquer finish, birch body, poplar neck, black chipboard case.

This late 1960's Harmony Stella is a surprisingly good 12-string guitar considering its budget status, and is considered something of a classic in its own right. This slimmer-waisted Harmony-Stella H-912 was a direct descendant of the older, rounder-bout Model H-922 that had been in production since 1940. Through the 1950's into the early '60's this was the only 12-string guitar commercially available and one of the few "Stella" products that still carried a stylistic link to the brand's pre-war origins. They were most popular in the early 1960's before Gibson, Martin and Guild brought out 12-string flattop instruments to meet the demand in 1962-5.

This later '60's example has a comparatively slim, flat profile neck with an adjustable truss rod making for a big difference in playability compared to the old huge V-profile neck used up until the mid '60's. It is set up with a traditional tailpiece and floating bridge used since the 1910's. Cosmetically the H-912 features less than deluxe trim with painted binding and a screwed-on pickguard on the all-birch, ladder braced body. This late-'60's example is rather more carefully and cleanly made than earlier 922's and plays very well with a big powerful if somewhat dry sound. Always a distinctive instrument, the H-912 is also associated with Kurt Cobain, who used one on a number of sessions for Nirvana recordings.
 
Overall length is 40 in. (101.6 cm.), 15 1/4 in. (38.7 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 13/16 in. (9.7 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 1/4 in. (641 mm.). Width of nut is 2 in. (51 mm.).

This is a good playing example of this humble but classic Stella, recently rebuilt to excellent structural condition showing some general wear overall. The finish has dings, dents and scrapes and a decent amount of chipping to the edges-the top's "binding" is actually painted on! There are no cracks anywhere and the top is fairly clean with a little typical bellying but no serious distortion. Some of the back/side seams are close but not perfectly aligned. The pickguard (which is made of fairly brittle plastic and screwed to the top) has a couple of stress cracks by the lower screw.

These Stellas were originally built of good materials but to a fairly loose standard. Today most require major rebuilding work to be playable to modern expectations; this guitar has had it done and is ready to go. With a clean neckset and low, comfortable action, this is not the cleanest but easily one of the best sounding and playing examples of a Stella/Harmony we have had. While obviously a fairly low-budget model, this is a very nice solid-wood 12 string with its own distinctive sound, complete in a well-fitted period soft case. Very Good + Condition.