Standel 520-S Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1968)Just Arrived!
Standel 520-S Model Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1968), made in New Jersey, serial # 1038M, sunburst lacquer finish, laminated maple body, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case. Item # 7910
A beautifully made and rather rare example of 1960's American guitar design, this Standel 520 is a very fancy and super cool lost instrument of the decade. The somewhat convoluted history behind this guitar binds the names Standel, Harptone and Koontz together, with nods to DeArmond and Guild as well! In the late 1960's Standel, based in California, was an amplifier manufacturer that had made several half-hearted attempts to get into guitar production. Somehow they hooked up with the Harptone company of Newark, New Jersey which was a well-known case manufacturer with some background in guitar production. Harptone commissioned New Jersey luthier Sam Koontz, known for his original archtop creations, to design a line of hollowbody instruments and set up the production line. The guitars were offered in a range of models branded Standel, and distributed out of California.
Soon enough, the Standel company ran into financial trouble (due to faults in their early solid-state amps) and failed; the guitars were re-branded Harptone, and sold for another few years out of New Jersey. Although the Harptone line lasted into the early '70's the company soon focused on acoustic guitars and the electrics were discontinued.
These instruments feature very high-grade workmanship throughout, with a vibrant finishes and high quality hardware. The line was fairly extensive, all instruments being hollow body electrics ranging from full-depth carved top 17" to 16" thinlines with several different cutaway options. The most distinctive common feature was the unique Koontz-designed headstock with the large center scoop.
This model, the 520-S was a fairly high-end example and is closest in design to the then-popular Guild Starfire IV and V. Like them and the Gibson ES-335 series, the 520-S is built on a thin, double cutaway body with a solid center block. It mounts two DeArmond pickups with a standard Gibson/Guild style wiring rig, including the master volume knob as found on the Starfire V. The top and back are multi-bound and veneered with lovely flame maple, finished in a vibrant 3-tone sunburst. The neck is thin and comfortable with a triple bound, block inlaid fingerboard and is topped by a bound, pearl inlaid version of the trademark Sam Koontz headstock. Overall this rates as a very fine-playing guitar, easily the equal of its Guild and Gibson competitors and a big step above most other similar instruments of the era. These Standel guitars were introduced in the late 1960's at the point where solidbodies were resurgent; had they been introduced a few years earlier, they would no doubt be much better known today. As it stands the Standel 520 remains a very fine and totally distinctive 1960's American-made instrument at a reasonable price.
Overall length is 42 1/4 in. (107.3 cm.), 16 in. (40.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 5/8 in. (625 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.). This guitar is in extremely fine condition with no major wear at all-only very small signs of use. Everything is original except the switch, which was changed at some point to a more recent replacement. There ars a few small dings and dents (one on the bottom front edge) but really for a nearly 50 year old guitar they don't come much cleaner than this. Complete except the small snap-on bridge cover is missing. An excellent player and as fine an example of this too-often overlooked guitar as one could wish for, still housed in its original HSC. Excellent + Condition.
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