Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends



1967 Standel Model 920S Prototype

Price and Status: For pricing and hold status of this instrument, please check here. If this instrument does not appear on the Instruments page it has been sold. To be notified of examples of this or any other model in the future, please email your specific requests to [email protected].

Serial #: 1015B-2E Body size at lower bout: 17" Body depth: 3 1/8" Scale length: 24 5/8" Nut width: 1 10/16" Neck depth, 1st/10th frets: .89/1.06

Materials: Solid hand-graduated carved spruce top; arched flame maple body; solid ebony fingerboard; nine-ply body binding, five-ply soundhole and neck binding.

Hardware: All original gold hardware includes DeArmond 1100 Adjustable Rhythm Chief floating pickup with volume and tone controls, 1/4" jack; Grover Imperial tuners; engraved ABM trapeze tailpiece; multi-bound black pickguard: compensated adjustable inlaid ebony bridge; adjustable truss rod.

Notes: Few luthiers have garnered such a passionate cult following in such a short time as master builder Sam Koontz. With a total output of some 200 instruments until his untimely death in 1981, Koontz produced a dizzying array of creations, from conventional flat tops, to experimental models including guitar/organ synthesizers, tape loop accessories, and double and even triple neck guitars. But none of this restless innovator's instruments have been so highly prized as his hand crafted archtop guitars, the pride of his production.

Championed by performers as diverse as Pat Martino, Joe Cinderella, and other top players, Koontz's archtops have become fleeting treasures on the vintage market, fetching princely sums in the decades since his passing. Nor were his considerable design talents confined solely to his own Pennsylvania workshop. Having honed his skills with Framus and C.F Martin, Sam finally became the lead designer for Harptone of New Jersey, builders of the rarely seen Standel guitar series.

This stunning instrument was built as demonstration model for the debut of the Standel line at the Chicago 1967 NAMM show. It's original owner, teacher and performer Al Clausen, stated that the '2E' suffix to the serial number indicated that this guitar was the second 'experimental' prototype of the model, and was hand built by Koontz himself. And in fact, this guitar does differ from the Standel catalog image for the model, in which its volume and tone controls are mounted into the soundboard, rather than suspended from the pickguard, as on this most distinctive exmple.

The solid, hand graduated soundboard shows grain structure typical of Adirondack spruce, with the intensely figured tiger flame maple body providing a dramatic counterpoint. Keenly attuned to the demands of the professional player, Koontz designed several unique features to enhance playability, including the extra-deep Florentine cutaway, extending access to the uppermost frets, and a slighly more compact scale length, for faster lead runs and easier stretch chords, while retaining the deeper resonance of the larger body.

Fitted with premium appointments throughout, the instrument is graced with extravagant 9-ply body binding, ornate gold German trapeze tailpiece, and top-of-the-line floating DeArmond 1100 Adjustable Rhythm Chief pickup. Maintained in superb condition, the instrument has all original hardware and finish, free of pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, with fine original medium jumbo fretwork, and all binding tight to the body. Apart from a few incidental finish nicks, the guitar shows few signs of playwear altgether. And in a final custom touch, the deep Cremona sunburst finish is reported to be hand applied varnish, rather than conventional lacquer. Thin and nicely sunk into the grain, it is entirely free of checking as well.

The neck has a gentle C profile, slim and elegant in the hand, with smooth, low action over a fresh high precision setup. With its finely carved X-braced soundboard, the instrument has a clear, resonant voice, with warm lower mids, bright, sparkling highs, and excellent acoustic projection. Of the scant 300 instruments Standel produced across all its various models, only a vanishingly few examples of the top-drawer 920 acoustic archtop have ever surfaced to the market. So rare is this model, this very instrument has been the centerpiece of its own feature article in the August 2010 issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine, a copy of which is supplied with the instrument, along with its original plush lined hardshell case.

The rarest of birds, from one of the great innovators of 20th century luthiery. One only: call now.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge bronze wound strings. The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 5/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.



















































Home / Instruments /Accessories / Ordering / Tips / Friends