In the throes of the Great Depression, many guitar makers made changes to their production, some more radically than others. The Oscar Schmidt Company, in Jersey City, NJ, introduced a line of guitars produced from less expensive materials with a glitzy look. These instruments were cataloged as 'Decalcomania', and the guitars sported a range of decals, from minimal to way off the charts. This example is from that extreme end of adornment and is, in fact, the brightest and cheeriest guitar we've seen from the OS production.
The body is made from birch, and the neck likely poplar or basswood. The bridge is Brazilian rosewood, and appears to be original, but has two non-original pearl dots inlaid, covering bolt holes, not a Schmidt hallmark. The body is bound in white celluloid and gold-sparkle inlay, as is the sound hole. The gold-sparkle trim is very rarely seen on Schmidt-produced instruments. The floral 'Decalcomania' adornment actually appears to be stencil-painted, rather than an actual decal. We've seen at least two other examples with the three-flower motif, but never one with a red flower, which really lights up the top! A yellow Stella label is visible through the sound hole. The fingerboard is the oft-seen 'mother of toilet seat' celluloid with etched position markers. The head stock is embossed 'Stella'. Tuners appear original. There is a white celluloid heel cap finishing off the tip of the heel.
Overall, the guitar is pretty original and solid. Other examples we've seen have had a gray/green pick guard screwed to the top, and screw holes are evident where a pick guard was installed on this one. There are three repaired top cracks, each running through an empty screw hole, which is quite common for this set up. The end pin is missing. It appears that the lateral top brace below the sound hole is replaced, and two small braces are installed at the E and W positions of the sound hole to prevent the top from 'wrinkle'. This is a quite common mod on ladder-braced guitars. There also appears to be the hint of a crack in each waist of the sides, but are very tight and cleated inside.
The guitar measures 13 1/2" across at the lower bout, and the scale length is 25 1/16". The fingerboard measures 1 13/16" across at the nut (replacement), and string spacing is 2 1/8" at the saddle (replacement). The neck is carved in a quite comfortable 'C' shape. Action is set a 5 and 7 64s, with generous saddle for lower action if desired. The guitar plays easily, and produces a clear tone that exemplifies the 'boxy-birch' ladder-brace sound. Very strong in the mids, with nice lows underneath. Considering condition, sound, playability and rarity, his is one of the nicer Stellas we've offered. Comes with a newer hard case.
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Forty-eight hour test drive on all instruments..if not to your liking, return for refund minus shipping costs.