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Vintage STELLA acoustic guitar
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gearaddict
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28th July 2008
Old 28th July 2008
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Vintage STELLA acoustic guitar

Hi yall....I found an old STELLA acoustic guitar in the trash a few blocks down,
anyone ever herd of it...it says made in the usa on the head..and has a white pick guard..weird looking!!
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28th July 2008
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Yeah. I believe FFTT, hm, I can't remember his handle -- sorry! acquired one last year. It was my very first guitar. Not bad. Nothing to write home about. It's a STELLA ferchrissakes.

edit -- it was Unclennny, not FFTT. Maybe that was his guitar! Just kidding . . . .

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/acous...a-harmony.html
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29th July 2008
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It was once a well known brand of inexpensive guitars. Like anything that was once pathetically cheap, it's now putatively cool for all the usual reasons: unique sound (as though cheap plywood guitars had a wide range of sonorities ), cool retro look... resale value to suckers...

FWIW, I have a Stella tenor on my living room wall and not only does it look cool as hell, it was given to me by the big sister of my first serious GF, whose bemused tolerance of me I found enormously ingratiating, since my GF's brother was wary of me, her mom distant and academic, and her dad hated me and would likely have tried to have me killed if he'd really believed I wasn't gay. (All long-haired guys in 1970 were gay, right?)
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29th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gearaddict View Post
Hi yall....I found an old STELLA acoustic guitar in the trash a few blocks down,
anyone ever herd of it...it says made in the usa on the head..and has a white pick guard..weird looking!!
Stellas - like Harmony, Kay, Silvertone, Oahu, and a myriad of other brands - were el cheapo department store guitars commonly sold by Sears & Roebuck, Monkey Wards, Woolworth's and the like. Generally, these guitars were horrible players (unless you liked strings an inch above the fretboards).

For the life of me, I cannot understand Today's fascination for these types of guitars. It should've been considered a crime to kill a tree to produce these guitars and the reason why you found it in the trash is because burning it would emit toxic fumes.
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29th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DamnYankee View Post
Stellas - like Harmony, Kay, Silvertone, Oahu, and a myriad of other brands - were el cheapo department store guitars commonly sold by Sears & Roebuck, Monkey Wards, Woolworth's and the like. Generally, these guitars were horrible players (unless you liked strings an inch above the fretboards).
Which is why all the 'ol delta blues players would use 'em for slide/bottleneck... not to mention the fact that they were cheap to buy too

Like 'em or not... Stella guitars hold an esteemed spot in the pantheon of famous blues guitars
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29th July 2008
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Maybe I should get my old Stella back. I gave it to my Aunt. She still has it sitting against the wall on her living room, by her baby grand.
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29th July 2008
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Just recorded it!

I decided to play around with it...put new strings on it..it is a bitch to keep in tune!
and slaped a blue bluebird and a se electronics se2200a..through a grace m101 and a art mpa gold!! well..it sounds so.so..nothing special..but then again I didnt exspect it to..but it did give me something to do..by the end of it I found myself laying some bass and drums over the riff I played...I saved it for something to write to in the future!! SO atleast it got me off GS for a while and I powered up my sh*t..
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29th July 2008
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haaa....brings back fond distant memories of being 17 and picking up a harmony with a crack in it...the strings were at least an inch away from the fretboard..........what a miserable instrument.................last week I picked up a tacoma dr12 made in 2003 about which I am positively mad...............plays better than any acoustic I ever touched...and I played a lot of them at GC and a couple other purveyors of fine stringed thingies................and the darn thing starts out with the word taco..........although I actually prefer burritos......if you're ever in buffalo, go to the mighty taco and get a 3 cheese nacho burrito...................delicious...............
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29th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasman View Post
haaa....brings back fond distant memories of being 17 and picking up a harmony with a crack in it...the strings were at least an inch away from the fretboard..........what a miserable instrument.................last week I picked up a tacoma dr12 made in 2003 about which I am positively mad...............plays better than any acoustic I ever touched...and I played a lot of them at GC and a couple other purveyors of fine stringed thingies................and the darn thing starts out with the word taco..........although I actually prefer burritos......if you're ever in buffalo, go to the mighty taco and get a 3 cheese nacho burrito...................delicious...............
Yup!!this one also has cracks in it!!thumbsup
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29th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordZilla View Post
Which is why all the 'ol delta blues players would use 'em for slide/bottleneck... not to mention the fact that they were cheap to buy too

Like 'em or not... Stella guitars hold an esteemed spot in the pantheon of famous blues guitars
Correction: those guitars were purchased only because they couldn't afford anything else. It had nothing to do with playability with a slide.
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29th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DamnYankee View Post
Correction: those guitars were purchased only because they couldn't afford anything else. It had nothing to do with playability with a slide.
Yup.. yer absolutely right there Yank. Once again.. I stand corrected.

It's still a cool axe gearaddict... have fun with it. Tune 'er up to open E or G and try some slide on 'er. I'll bet the ol' girl has lots of stories to tell
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29th July 2008
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Hey Henry! I LOVE my STELLA!

Found her in an attic.....a '66. With fresh strings and some soft picking she sounds beautiful. Records well also.

Has a kind of 'sitting out on the porch' sound.
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29th July 2008
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it may or may not be worth noting, but kurt cobain used a right-handed acoustic stella for the Nirvana Unplugged performance.

Word was that he picked it up at a pawn shop not much earlier also. Sounds alright on the record for what it is.

YouTube - Nirvana- Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Live)
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29th July 2008
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Leadbelly played a Stella.
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29th July 2008
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Most of them are mediocre but every once in a while you run across one that sounds and plays quite nice. No, it won't sound like a Martin but an exceptional speciman (and they're aren't many of those left I'm guessing) can have a very cool blues sound, unobtainable with the typical Martin or Taylor. The small 3/4 size ones tend to be the cool ones for blues and slide- but again only one out of every so many that still are even playble will sound good.
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29th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DamnYankee View Post
Correction: those guitars were purchased only because they couldn't afford anything else. It had nothing to do with playability with a slide.
I think what he was getting at was that the action was sometimes so high that all you could do was use a slide on them.

I used to postulate that this was parallel to the way the Jamaican rhythm scratch guitar style came about... the action on the electric guitars folks could afford was so bad you couldn't really fret them properly and all you could do was scratch -- and the Jamaicans were so poor they couldn't even afford a slide...




Not totally sure of the accuracy of this theory but at the time I developed it in the mid-70s when I was just getting into reggae (lucky enough to see Marley and the Wailers at the famous Roxy show in 1976) I was just a couple years out from trying to learn to play on a gut string guitar with extraordinarily bad action and I was convinced at the time.
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29th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregl View Post
Most of them are mediocre but every once in a while you run across one that sounds and plays quite nice. No, it won't sound like a Martin but an exceptional speciman (and they're aren't many of those left I'm guessing) can have a very cool blues sound, unobtainable with the typical Martin or Taylor. The small 3/4 size ones tend to be the cool ones for blues and slide- but again only one out of every so many that still are even playble will sound good.
3/4..thats what this one is...Ill try to put up the mp3 I made last night playing around with it..I added more inst. but you can here what the stella is doing!!

Here it is
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 stella.mp3 (2.81 MB, 277 views)
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29th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I think what he was getting at was that the action was sometimes so high that all you could do was use a slide on them.
Thanks blue... nail hit on head

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I used to postulate that this was parallel to the way the Jamaican rhythm scratch guitar style came about... the action on the electric guitars folks could afford was so bad you couldn't really fret them properly and all you could do was scratch -- and the Jamaicans were so poor they couldn't even afford a slide...
You might be onto something there

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Not totally sure of the accuracy of this theory but at the time I developed it in the mid-70s when I was just getting into reggae (lucky enough to see Marley and the Wailers at the famous Roxy show in 1976) I was just a couple years out from trying to learn to play on a gut string guitar with extraordinarily bad action and I was convinced at the time.
Hey..cool... I too am a reggae aficianado... I saw Bob and crew in Vancouver in 1978 and had a major musical epiphany. Right now I play bass in a reggae project-band (we are called Irie Cho) we spun up for our humble little music festival here where I live. Mostly Marley and Toots covers. Too fun

Sorry... back on thread now
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30th July 2008
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Originally Posted by gregl View Post
No, it won't sound like a Martin
Stella (left) Martin (right)........

Leave A Little Mystery
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30th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
Stella (left) Martin (right)........

Leave A Little Mystery
That kinda looks like a Stella in your band graphic on your SC page, too, Lenny.

Cool, very quirky tune... I love the way it goes from big open spaces to little flurries of jazzy, almost chaotic busy-ness... it reminds me in some ways of the way Ry Cooder approaches some material. Always enjoy the way you mix it up.
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30th July 2008
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Ry Cooder.

Second best slide player...

Second only to David Tronzo

Ry is a tremendous producer in his own right (Have you HEARD Buena Vista Social Club?)
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30th July 2008
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This Buena Vista Social Club... it's a dating service?




I love Ry's musical work; he's great with other musicians. I've seen him, I think, 4 times (first time was something like 35 years ago when he did a solo show at UCLA working the Purple Valley album, last time was on the Santa Monica pier at sunset with Flaco Jimenez).

And BVSC is a wonderful -- hell, make that fabulous -- project. He deserves saint status for that alone.

The man is an incredible asset to the music scene and to 20th century pop music history and culture mavens.

But... sometimes his sonic choices are kind of wack to my ear. I love the Mambo Sinuendo album he did with Manuel Galban -- some great music -- but, man, that weird, hyped "super-live-in-the-studio" sound has really not worn well on me. And then when the back up vox float in out of some other studio -- what's up with that?

But... hey... minor, minor stuff in a great career!
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31st July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floydisbest View Post
it may or may not be worth noting, but kurt cobain used a right-handed acoustic stella for the Nirvana Unplugged performance.

Word was that he picked it up at a pawn shop not much earlier also. Sounds alright on the record for what it is.

YouTube - Nirvana- Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Live)
Are you sure about this? I thought he supposedly used a Stella to record 'Polly' on Nevermind. I think the guitar he used on Unplugged was quite a bit nicer. The whole 'legend' about the Stella used on 'Polly' was that it was well...kinda crap and the strings hadn't been changed in years.
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31st July 2008
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That kinda looks like a Stella in your band graphic on your SC page, too, Lenny.
Yeah, that was Brenda's guitar when she was in college. She did the art too.

Brenda passed last year......I swear that she's hangin' in the studio with me these days.
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31st July 2008
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I have one, too. Also found in the trash. Plays pretty bad, but has a pretty cool sound. Half wood, half cardboard sound. My brother in law once put one of those cheapo soundhole pickups in it and plugged it in and it sounded pretty rad. Right now we've got one of those nut adapters that converts it to a lap steel. Pretty cool old-fashioned hawaiian sound.
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31st July 2008
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Mine sounds like absolute crap when played anywhere except my porch. ...After about 5-6 beers, preferably at dusk in summertime.

Yup, pretty special then!
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1st August 2008
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This thread motivated me to get Stella back out........

Great guitar to compose with....at least for me. Something about that old wood that makes her 'cheap' heritage shine today.


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21st June 2011
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I'll Take it if you dont want it :D i've been wanting a stella for a long time. even if its broke, i'll fix it
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21st June 2011
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If its one of the smaller bodies 'Student' models with a shorter scale length and thick neck AND a metal tailpiece try putting a nut-raiser on it and concerting it into a faux dobro / acoustic lapsteel.

it will honk fantastically....


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