Dyer Style 8 Harp Guitar, #789
"As Is" for an incredible investment opportunity!
Here's something on everyone's Wish List! A Style 8, new to our inventory list. Serial # 789 hails from either c.1917 or more probably, around 1913 (see Dyer Dating).
This Style 8 and another (#691) were recently unearthed and added to our Dyer Serial Number List. That makes 12 Style 8's currently known with a readable serial number. There's probably a couple more with missing labels or unreadable or unreported numbers. Still ridiculously rare, and of course, the most desirable top-of-the-line model of the most desirable vintage harp guitar on the planet. You do not have to be (yet) a harp guitarist to appreciate this!
Why is this one so unbelievably cheap? Because A) it's got several issues and will need a careful restoration, and, B) I've been asked to price it to sell.
Let's get right to all the problems - then you can decide if you or your repairman can handle the necessary work.
The arm has a significant hole in it. See photos below...scary, I know - but everything is restorable, to a degree. The owners brought it up from the basement so as not to let any possible moisture damage get to it - when, ironically, something promptly fell off a high shelf directly onto the arm. It crushed it pretty badly, knocking a piece inside. The good news is that the piece stayed inside and 99% of the wood is probably there.
Next we have something going on on the lower bass bout edge. Some binding and abalone is missing where the top is cracked and loose, and next to it, ending at the center seam is a section that looks poorly repaired or replaced.
There is an additional crack on the upper treble bout as shown. The bridge is still mostly attached and is cracked through the middle (not by any means the first time we've seen this on a Dyer) - with one of the snowflake (or whatever that is) inlays missing. The wire saddle is missing as well.
Beyond that, the issues are mainly cosmetic - the original owner clearly had Fingernails from Hell, and there is quite a bit of dark and light discoloration to the top. The top is a bit wavy in an atypical way between the bridge and soundhole, and of course, the fingerboard and top dive way down at the body joint like all Dyers do (this one a bit more so). One can deal with that with a neck reset and/or other creative techniques. The neck is otherwise straight.
The "money-shot" tree-of-life inlay is almost completely intact; two tiny pieces are missing, and there is what appears to be remnants of old, brown, dried up paper (?) that needs to be scraped or cleaned off.
One of the friction sub-bass tuners is missing, which is easily replaceable, though of course I recommend replacing all with 4:1 Waverlys or similar (originality be damned) so this can be professionally played and enjoyed.
Back, sides and headstocks are otherwise in very good condition, other than various scratches, gouges, dings, and discoloration. Braces seem pretty solid.
Sadly, I can't describe the tone, as those are just old dummy strings on it, and I'm reluctant to put any real tension on the lifting top to find out. Even if it turns out to not be the best sounding one in the world, you can bet it'll be great (and what if it is the greatest harp guitar anyone's ever heard...?).
Bottom line: In perfect condition, this would be worth at least double this price. How "invisible" the repairs will look and thus detract from the intrinsic value will be largely dependent on the skills of the repairperson. I know it'll play great once done, and with any luck, it'll sound great to spectacular. Do the math, and call quick.
- Gregg Miner, the "harp guitar pope"
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