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Stella Guitars
Company type Private
Industry Musical instrument
Foundedc. 1899
FounderRobert Godin
Defunct1974; 50 years ago (1974)
Area served
Key people
Robert Godin
Products Acoustic guitars
Parent Oscar Schmidt Inc. (1899-1939)
Harmony Company (1939-1974)

Stella was an American guitar brand owned by the Oscar Schmidt Company. It was founded around 1899. [1] The Stella brand consists of low and mid-level stringed instruments.

Stella guitars were played by notable artists, including Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, Charlie Patton, Doc Watson and Willie Nelson [2] who learned to play on one.[ citation needed] Kurt Cobain of Nirvana played an acoustic Stella on the recording of the song " Polly", from the Nevermind album, and Mason Williams with Classical Gas.

Stella was acquired by the Harmony Company in 1939. The brand was dissolved in 1974, and was later reintroduced by M.B.T. International, which is the corporate parent of the Harmony Company.


Stella guitar in its case
Sovereign guitar - Syd Barret's first guitar

Stella was one of several musical instrument brands made in Jersey City, New Jersey, by the Oscar Schmidt Company. Other Schmidt brands included "Sovereign" and "La Scala". The company produced low and mid-level stringed instruments such as guitars, mandolins, banjos and autoharps.

The company thrived during the first quarter of the 20th century. In 1920, the company was said to be the world's largest manufacturer of stringed instruments. Stella instruments were noted for their good tone and relatively low price. Top-of-the-line Stella and Sovereign guitars cost a fraction of the lowest-end Gibson or C. F. Martin instruments.[ citation needed]

After struggling through the Great Depression, the company sold their fretted instrument division in the late 1930s, but continued to make autoharps. Schmidt's Stella, Sovereign and La Scala brands were acquired by the Harmony Company of Chicago, Illinois in 1939. Harmony went on to produce student-grade Stella instruments, as well as mid-level Sovereign guitars and banjos.

Notable users

See also


  1. ^ Vintage Guitar Price Guide
  2. ^ "Trigger". Texas Monthly. 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2017-03-22.
  3. ^ Warren Zanes, Petty: The Biography (St. Martin's Griffin, NY, 2015), pg. 27
  4. ^ "B.B. King: A straight-talking blues guy". USA Today.
  5. ^ [ user-generated source]
  6. ^ Szatmary, David P. (2014). p. 8. Rockin' in Time: A Social History of Rock-and-Roll. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education. ISBN 978-0205675043

External links