A Vintage Hawaiian Guitar at a Working Musician’s Price.
History: This one came from a flea market in MI in 2014. It’s a Harmony built square neck Hawaiian guitar, probably from the 30‘s or 40‘s. It had been knocked over and suffered 6” a split in the upper treble bout just minutes before I came to the booth. The top was coming off and split, the bridge was loose, the finish was extensively damaged. It was one of those ”what have I got to loose” projects and I figured it would make for good experience.
It has the original bridge (Maple w/ fretwire saddle) original tuning gears and a new bone nut. It’s a flat sawn birch body, poplar neck painted fingerboard, (probably maple) and a very low serial # (202).
Work done: This one had the neck re-set including repair of damaged neck block (old break, possibly broken at the factory during manufacture), repair of an extensive break in upper treble bout, removal and repair of top, (splits glued and cleated), top braces removed, cleaned and re-glued.
When re-assembled, the body was lightly sanded, damaged finish removed and re-tinted then entire body french polished with Garnet shellac. Extensive drop filling and multiple layers of French polish really make this guitar shine. I didn’t intend to put so much time into the finish, but it just looked so good I had to take it all the way. The tuning machines (Kluson 3 on a plate) were cleaned and greased.
There are a few scraps of the paint from the original painted binding left in a couple places , but I chose not to repaint them since the finish turned out so well.
The guitar has a surprisingly clear, bright tone with excellent resonance.
Birch Hawaiian square necks are selling on Ebay for anywhere between 200 and 500 depending on style, condition and the audacity of the seller. An old Oahu being sold for parts with no tuners is going for 129. I got this one fairly cheap and put countless hours in it, but learned a lot from the experience.
Here’s a chance to own a very nice vintage Hawaiian guitar at a working musician’s price. $150.00, no case.