Oscar Schmidt 'Stella' Guitar c 1930 | $975 | (vbg 2010) | In the many years that we've been restoring and selling Oscar Schmidt-made instruments, we sometimes think we've seen every iteration. But there's always another Stella that comes along with appointments we've never seen before, and this guitar is that example. It appears in the 1932 Schmidt catalog as a model 5025-T Stella Standard Size. The blurb reads: "Birchwood body. Top edge bound with checkered marquetry. Decalcomania around soundhole. Dull satin mahogany finish. Poplar neck. Ebonized fingerboard with silver frets. Four pearl position dots. Nickelplated machine heads. Exceptionally fine tailpiece. Good quality strings. List price $9.00 Per Dozen ... $45." This pretty much describes the guitar, except for the 'exceptionally fine tailpiece' (more on that later). Stella is embossed in gold on the 'snake head'-style head stock. Most interesting to us is the 'top edge bound in checkered marquetry'. This is not the typical 'rope' binding. Each color is made up of three separate pieces of wood, which gives a bit of texture to the look of the binding.
When we received the guitar, the top was pretty sunken-in from the downward pressure of the tailpiece. This is quite common, actually, but this one was a tad too much. We happened to have a Schmidt bridge, so we removed the tailpiece and installed the bridge, hoping the torque of this set up would raise the top, and it did. Still some dip between the sound hole and bridge, but that's common on all the ladder-braced guitars. We reset the neck to the new bridge, and glued a few braces inside. We reglued some sections of the back where it had come loose from the sides. In a few places, we couldn't 'force' the side to align perfectly, but we got it pretty close. We leveled and dressed the frets, and made a new bone nut. Although the guitar is crack free, there is a lot of wear and tear from use and time .. but it's now a very solid and easy-playing guitar.
The body measures 13 1/2" across the lower bout. Scale length is 25". The neck is just about 1 13/16" across at the nut, and string spacing is just a hair over 2 1/8" at the saddle. Action is set at 5/64". The neck is the oft seen 'V' from the time period, and comfortable in the hand. Tuners are original. The guitar plays easily and we're really pleased with the sound. It's boxy, with mid-range punch, a pleasant ring and good sustain. Perfect guitar for country blues and old-time music like heard on the old 78s.
Comes with a soft case.
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