Sunday, March 31, 2019

Late 40's Harmony h162

Is this thing a beauty or what.  The h162 has evolved into a different shape over time, but these figure 8 body style models from the 40's are the best looking of the bunch.  Scott Baxendale insists that these are also the best recording guitars he has ever played.  Given how many guitars he has seen in his life, I am inclined to believe him.  Guitar was French polished to probably hide some cosmetic flaws and the person who did it did a great job.  The later model h162's are plentiful, but these earlier models are pretty hard to come by.

Harmony/Regal Sovereign

Its been over 2 years since I 've put up any posts to this site.  A few guitars have come and gone and things are winding down a bit.  Not for a lack of love, but for the fact that through a lot of trial and error I have the instruments that will be handed down to my kids now.  Harmony guitars have factored big into that equation lately.  They are all solid woods and when worked on by the right person they can become an incomparable instrument.  Here is another Harmony.  This is a Sovereign branded under the Regal name. This guitar has been x-braced and had the string through bridge replaced with a pin bridge.  It has a huge tone and great definition from string to string.

Harmony Jamboree

This is a late 50's harmony Jamboree h1250.  They started making this model in 1957 and only the early models had the "harmometal" binding.  I think this is one of the most beautiful guitars that Harmony ever made.  You would also be hard pressed to find one in this condition.  Spruce top and birch body combined with the decreased body depth give you a little thinner tone.  I can't help but wonder what this guitar would sound like if it were x-braced.  Nonetheless it has a cool spunky tone and a great vibe to boot.

Harmony Sovereign H1265

Here is another Baxendale rebuild.  This guitar is as funky and wonderful as they come.  It was only made for 2 years and eventually replaced by the h1266 which has symmetrical pickguards.  You wouldn't believe the top of this guitar when I got it compared to what it looks like now.  There was glue everywhere in a failed attempt to keep those honkin' pickguards on.  Somehow Scott got it all cleaned up and the pickguards secured.  Lovely tone and playability.  Would be hard to find another instrument with a better look and vibe.

love the big paddle headstocks on these guitars
all solid woods make these guitars a great buy.  what look to be cracks are what I think to be more like big scrapes that don't go all the way through.  the back came off this instrument for it to be re-braced so I can be sure Scott made everything tight

Funky Japanese Electric Guitar

All you have to do is look at the size of that whammy bar and you know you are getting into some wild territory.  This guitar has a smokin' tone.  Not huge output from the pickups, but it gets the job done.  It is super clean and bought for dirt cheap.  I have always had a thing for these Japanese electrics and I think that they are some of the last bargains you will find in the guitar world.  You know what you are getting with a Strat, Tele, or Les Paul.  These babies always take you somewhere new.

Harmony Electric Archtop - H51/Wards w8884

Here is a Harmony electric archtop.  Its body style and pickup are akin to the h51, but the headstock shape and logo indicates that it might be from the Montgomery Wards catalog and serial numbered as a w8884(w possibly indicating wards?).

This guitar is a funky old blues honker.  The neck was reset, some electronics work, and she is good to go.  The guitar was refinished long before I got it.  Though I generally run from a refinish job, excellent work was done here.  I think the guitar looks great.  Outside of the finish, the guitar is all original, including the Gibson made p13 pickup.  Apparently the p13 is a precursor to the p90.  When Gibson switched to the p90, they sold all the p13's to Harmony who used them until they ran out, then switching to Dearmond.

Baxendale Old Kraftsman Dreadnaught

Here is a Kay/Old Kraftsman dreadnaught that was essentially remanufactured by Baxendale guitars down in Athens, GA.  Scott Baxendale takes the back off and re-braces the instrument, the neck is reset, new bridge, new tuners, new saddle, nut and bridge pins.  What you end up with is a guitar with incredible playability and tone.  These Kay and Harmony guitars are Scott's specialty and make for a wonderful instrument when they are given the care that Scott puts into them.

These Kay/Old Kraftsman guitars can be difficult.  I have had a few of these Kay dreadnaughts and none of them match up to this guitar.  Its amazing how many guitars were coming off the line in Chicago back in the day.  It's equally amazing how they lacked uniformity.  Every one of these Kays that I get a chance to hold all feel a little different.  Some are a bit wonky, but not this one.  It's solid as a rock, has a great neck, and sounds wonderful.  Fortunately, these guitars haven't caught fire and can still be found for real short money.  They might be worth the chance if you can find the right one.

there's the Baxendale logo.  you can see the new bracing which is carved way thinner than the original, hopefully allowing for more top movement