Style 6 Symphony
Harp Guitar, c.1916
That’s correct. John originally owned this specimen, then sold it to someone who sold it to Mandolin Brothers, where Steve Bissell (ironically at one time John’s student) bought it. Kerry Char (more harp guitar repairs than anyone alive) set it up with all new professional Waverly tuners for both fingerboard and sub-basses, repaired the typical cracks and it has been playing great since. The fingerboard is fine, with action 5/32” at the 12th fret on the low E (lower as you go across to the higher strings). Beyond the 12th, the fingerboard bends down due to the standard top movement at this point. This is typical of virtually all vintage Dyers, and is not a cause for any concern, unless you need to play a lot beyond the 12th fret over the body (if so, there are a couple ways to fix this).
Tone is rich and extremely robust, with lots of overtones, and deep, boomy basses (as in powerful with a side helping of impressive “thud,” but not “muddy”). And that’s with older strings on it – once changed, this will be a canon.
The Style 6 is right in the middle of the five Dyer grades: unbound back, plain markers, but fancy wood purfling binding on the top.
Issues: Only cosmetic. Moderate playing wear in wood and finish, as can be clearly seen (HGM images are huge [set your computer to not “size images to fit screen”] so there are no surprises). Someone replaced a section of missing purfling with solid wood on the arm. The usually-present cracks in the top, back and sides were repaired by Kerry and are solid. The bridge was painted over. All in all, I’d call this a normal, well-played, well-seasoned, and likely well-loved, instrument.
My evaluation and pricing: the cosmetic condition takes off a fair amount of the value, but the pro Waverly tuners, sound and playability add much of this right back in. Remember, this harp guitar (once re-strung for your tuning) is ready to go for a pro tour or recording!
- Gregg Miner, the "harp guitar pope"
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