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May 17

Garage Sale Stella 12 String Guitar

Got this at a garage sale over the weekend, and the first thing I did was break a string trying to tune it! I got some new strings from Amazon and strung it up, and it plays! Here are some pictures.

 

  • It's in great shape for a 45+ year old guitar.
  • The fred board is scooped badly in spots, but that won't stop it from playing well.
  • The head stock is a bit beat up, but that just adds character.
  • It LOOKS to be straight.
  • Adjustable truss rod, sans truss rod cover.

The guitar is a Silvertone 319.66609, and is one of hundreds of thousands of guitars produced for Sears, Montgomery Ward and other mail order companies. Being based in Chicago, Sears ordered generic guitars from manufacturers that were also in Chicago. Kay and Harmony were among the most common builders, manufacturing them and putting the white label name on the headstock. Construction was cheap, decorations were painted on rather than built in, and they generally have lasted through the years. The design itself dates back to the 1920’s.

The neck, even though it has a truss rod, is very thick. The action is really bad, sad to say. There’s a reason most folks play these with a slide, because past the third or fourth fret, it’s murder! I look forward to picking up a slide and getting some practice with that. In the mean time it is a ton of fun to just pick up the guitar and mess around with it. Plus, I got a sweet case for that $20 price too, so I am not beating up my Dean guitar when I take it places. Whoever invented gig bags should be shot.

Once I get up to speed with this guitar and it sounds half decent, I’ll post a recording. Thanks for reading!