1960s Harmony First Impressions

On July 11, 2010, in Repairs, by Magnolia Guitar

1960s Harmony H162

I received a 1960s Harmony flat-top in the mail today, much to the wife’s chagrin. There’s a lot more work to be done than I originally thought, but the outlook is still pretty good and it’ll make a great project.

In the mid-1960s, Harmony was the largest stringed instrument manufacturer in the US. Similar models to this H162 were also sold under other names like Stella or Silvertone, the Sears brand. I was happy to finally own one after seeing Justin Townes Earle perform some radio station promos with one.

When I opened the box and began examining the instrument, I thought that the overall quality of the all solid mahogany back and sides was pretty good. Sure, it has 50-years of wear on it, but the grain was good. I found a small knot in the waist, but whoever built it had enough sense to place it on the treble-side so you never see it. The amount of glue squeeze-out on the inside is atrocious!

Even before I strummed it I thought, “Why did someone put electric strings on this?” But upon further inspection, I think I might know why. They were avoiding having to work on the neck.

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