Fretted Instrument Mfrs Inc. 'Stella' c 1938 | $670 | (v2308) Fretted Instrument Manufacturing Corp. Inc. is part of the Oscar Schmidt to Harmony evolution. Schmidt died in 1929, the depression hit, the company went into backruptsy and evolved into the Fretted Instrument Mfrs. Inc. That lasted until 1939 when the business and brands were sold to Harmony. We've handled a few instruments with this label and they are essentially the same guitars as marketed by Oscar Schmidt. And that's because they were still produced in the Ferry St., Jersey City factory. We've noticed a few differences, like the 10th position dot moved to the 9th fret and all the kerfing inside is square, not just the top. But the bodies were still built 'under tension' as evidenced by the arching of the top and back, the ornamentation, especially the decals, remained the same, and the flat head screws were still used to secure the tuners.
The body is solid birch. The top and back sport an attractive sunburst. The neck is poplar, carved in a 'C' shape, topped with a maple board painted black and sporting four pearl position markers. the peghead is sometimes called the 'snakehead' version, in reference to the narrower Gibson mandolin head stocks from decades earlier. The peghead sports the typical OS embossed and gold-painted 'Stella' brand. The Stella label inside notes that this guitar was made exclusively for Barth Feinberg Inc., a jobber in NY. The pickguard could be original to the guitar and shows the same crystal-like pattern as on Duolians.
The body measures 13 1/2" across at the lower bout. Scale length is 25 1/8". The neck measures 1 3/4" across at the nut and string spacing is 2 1/8" at the saddle.
Overall, the guitar is in original excellent condition, no cracks or prior repairs. It appears that the body and back of the neck were freshened up with an overspray; we proffer no logical explanation as to why someone would put that effort and expense into a guitar of this level .. it's just a really clean, solid guitar inside and out. We recently reset the neck, replaced the fret wire saddle with a bone saddle, leveled and dressed the frets. There is some 'case melt' to the lacquer at a few spots and a few nicks here and there, but really sparkles overall.
The action is set at ~ 5-6/64". The guitar plays well and produces that punchy tone Stellas are known for. Great fingerpicking blues guitar!
Comes with a c 1960 soft case.
Check out the sound clip!
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Forty-eight hour test drive on all instruments..if not to your liking, return for refund minus shipping costs.