The Bluesbox Collection

1920s Lyra Brand guitar by Bruno

These Oscar Schmidt Stella guitars were the preferred instruments of Delta bluesmen like Blind Lemon Jefferson (shown here in the only known photo of him, playing a Stella Model #503), Charley Patton, Blind Blake, Willie Brown, and Blind Willie McTell. Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter's Stella 12-string guitar is considered to be the most valuable "cheap" guitar ever produced and is legendary in blues circles. Stellas were sold in local dry goods and furniture stores in rural areas, which made them both cheap and available to country blues players. But they were also preferred because of their tone and volume. Charley Patton always said he preferred his Stella to a Gibson, because the Stella was louder.

Thanks to Neil Harp at for much of the information in this article.

back to the The Bluesbox Collection