Standel, 520-C, 1968


Serial Number: 
The Story Behind


About the Builder:

In 1961, Standel became involved in the distribution of stringed Musical Instruments. The first examples of this were the Standel "Strad," which incorporated a pickup built into the bridge designed to reproduce the full range of the violin without destroying the natural tone quality of the instrument.

The Resophonic Guitar, released on 3-3-62, was built by the Dopra brothers (the originators of the Dobro) for Standel and saw limited production for just a few short years. Later, during that same period, Standel became the distributor for Sierra Pedal Steels.

Standel made three attempts at marketing electric guitars under the Standel name. The best article on the subject is in Vintage Guitar magazine, May, 2002. It is very detailed and far beyond the scope of this website.

In 1967, a third and final attempt at electric guitars was made. This time, Standel was determined to create something very special. This series of instruments was designed by luthier Sam Koontz of Harptone Manufacturing Corporation located at 127 South 15th Street, Newark, New Jersey. These instruments were beautifully made and are quite rare, about 300 were made. Prices ranged from $385 to $1,200 (in 1967 dollars). The instrument pictured below originally sold for $922 including hardshell case. Today, examples of these instruments have appreciated in value considerably and sell for very respectable prices.

Harptone made only 300 units across all models for Standel between 1968 and 1969. This includes the 420 s and the 520 s, thin-line hollow bodies, the Eagle, the Lark, the 811 Archtop, the B4 acoustic bass, the 1000 S Archtop, and the 400 S electric base. All had 3 levels of finish. Budget had MOP dots on the fingerboard. Mid-level had the dots and binding up the fingerboard and head stock. The pro level added MOP rectangles to the fingerboard. Designed by Sam Koontz, all models including the acoustics had elements of his love for the Archtop Guitar.

About the Guitar:

This custom made Standel is a rare example of the good quality work done on those guitars. Unfortunately, as very often with this type of guitars, the head of the guitar broke off at a certain moment in time and had to be glued to the neck. This does not change the playability and the sound of the guitar.

This guitar is supposed to have belonged to Mick Taylor, who donated this guitar for an 'Hard Rock Cafe' project.

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