Stella Harmony H912 12 String 1966 Sunburst Kurt Cobain Nirvana Acoustic Guitar

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Here for sale is a Stella Harmony 12 String Sunburst Acoustic Guitar from the 1960’s. This is the same exact model as played by Kurt Cobain, who had one for songwriting and it even featured on the groundbreaking Nevermind album on the iconic songs ‘Polly’ and Something in the Way’ as well as the acoustic parts on the follow up ‘In Utero’ album and was one of Kurt’s favourite acoustic guitars.

This Stella Harmony H912 12 string guitar was made by Harmony in Chicago in 1966 according to the stamp inside of the soundhole. Harmony was one of the first manufacturers of 12 string guitars post WWII. Harmony had previously purchased the Oscar Schmidt factory and the Stella name in the 1930’s. The Stella Harmony 12 string was a recreation of the classic early 20th century blues guitar favoured by players such as Leadbelly, who of Kurt Cobain’s favourite singers who famously covered his version of the classic folk song which originated in the 1870’s and the songs true authorship is unknown. Leadbelly himself also played a Stella Harmony 12 string and perhaps inspired Kurt’s choice of purchasing this guitar.  The Stella Harmony H912 reissue was produced just in time for the 1960’s folk boom and was an affordable alternative to the Martin’s and Gibson’s of the day and still is.

This guitar has a birch body, with a poplar neck and is in good condition for its age, and is still very playable and has been set up for full 12 string play. It has an amazing sound and is really fun to play and recreates that early blues 12 string sound perfectly. You could even string it the way Kurt Cobain had his with Nylon Strings and was the set he used to record on ‘Nevermind’ a rare photo of which can be seen with Kurt sat on the sofa with the Stella Harmony leaning against a wall next to its case. He also used it for the acoustic guitar parts on ‘In Utero’ as well as countless demo versions of famous songs on the ‘With the Lights Out’ box set such as ‘Sliver’, ‘Lithium’ ‘Been a Son’ and more. Kurt purchased his Harmony 12 String from Edgewater Pawn Shop and Sheridan Jewellery on the 12th October 1989, when Kurt was living in Olympia, and was a key instrument in the bands history. The guitar has some play wear as you would expect from such a great sounding vintage instrument, the neck is holding up well, and the tuners are all functional and it still has the original truss rod cover with ‘Made in USA’ written on it, although it is missing one of the screws and there is some cracking in the plastic. The pick guard is intact and the bridge is fixed in position well and the bridge is in good condition and the metal is still shiny. The fretboard has sine separation  but is glued well, and is a common issue but does not affect playability, and this guitar is in the best condition for for one of these we have come across. There is some buzzing in places on the fretboard which could be remedied in places with a professional set up if desired. There are some light scratches above the sound hole but this all adds to the vintage mojo. The measurements of the guitar neck are as follows. The nut is 51.23mm / 2.017″ wide, the depth of the neck at the first fret is 24.08mm / 0.948″ and 28.31mm / 1.1145″ at the 9th fret. Even though the guitar has 18 frets, because of the size of the frets and the neck joint connecting to the body its mostly playable up 12th fret but you could go beyond with some finger gymnastics. It has a D shape neck profile with a 20″ fretboard radius. The width of the frets is 1.96mm / 0.0775″ and they are 1.22mm / 0.048″ deep. The approximate weight of the guitar is 2.035KG.

Kurt Cobain was such a fan of his he deemed it indispensable, and perhaps his secret weapon in songwriting, perhaps it brought him luck as so many famous songs were written on one. Well known photos of him playing his on his bed at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle from 1st January 1993 can be seen when he was between houses. He even had some new tuners installed and the floating bridge glued down like this Stella Harmony. It is an iconic acoustic whose tone has been heard down through the ages whether you play it with 12 strings or Nylon, the sound is unmistakable.

 

 

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