Harmony Guitars Club

LGOberean

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@Wildeman congrats. Haven't been on TDPRI as much lately as I used to be, and have been posting even less. The admins/mods attitudes and actions have kind of soured me on participating. But I digress. I didn't know that Vibratone model existed. Is that a jumbo sized guitar, or a mini jumbo?

I actually came here for another reason. I've been focused lately on thinning the herd, specifically with a view toward clearing out of my collection guitars made in the Far East. After (hopefully) selling 4 guitars, I want to buy one that's MiC, i.e., Made in Chicago. That's right, a Harmony. I already have my 1953 Harmony Broadway H954 archtop. Now I want a flat top. I'm considering a Sovereign (H1260), a H1203, an H162 or H165.

Actually, that 165 piques my interest. If I were to buy current production flat top acoustic, it would probably be a Martin 000-15M. All of the clichéd descriptors apply, AFAIC: "woody," "warm," "sweet," etc. A friend has one and it really turned my head around. I still like a Sitka spruce/mahogany combination, but that all 'hog Martin sounds really good to me.

But as much as I'd like to own a Made in Nazareth Martin, I think I want to stay close to my roots and go with another Harmony. So, I want to hear from those of you that have an H165, and have had a chance to compare it to a Martin 'hog. Are they comparable in tone? Or does the ladder bracing make a big difference in the sound?
 

Wildeman

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@Wildeman congrats. Haven't been on TDPRI as much lately as I used to be, and have been posting even less. The admins/mods attitudes and actions have kind of soured me on participating. But I digress. I didn't know that Vibratone model existed. Is that a jumbo sized guitar, or a mini jumbo?

I actually came here for another reason. I've been focused lately on thinning the herd, specifically with a view toward clearing out of my collection guitars made in the Far East. After (hopefully) selling 4 guitars, I want to buy one that's MiC, i.e., Made in Chicago. That's right, a Harmony. I already have my 1953 Harmony Broadway H954 archtop. Now I want a flat top. I'm considering a Sovereign (H1260), a H1203, an H162 or H165.

Actually, that 165 piques my interest. If I were to buy current production flat top acoustic, it would probably be a Martin 000-15M. All of the clichéd descriptors apply, AFAIC: "woody," "warm," "sweet," etc. A friend has one and it really turned my head around. I still like a Sitka spruce/mahogany combination, but that all 'hog Martin sounds really good to me.

But as much as I'd like to own a Made in Nazareth Martin, I think I want to stay close to my roots and go with another Harmony. So, I want to hear from those of you that have an H165, and have had a chance to compare it to a Martin 'hog. Are they comparable in tone? Or does the ladder bracing make a big difference in the sound?
Its basically OM sized. The H165 can be a nice guitar, though its nowhere near the same league as a Martin, ladder braced guitars have their own thing going on. You should be able to score a nice H165 for less than 1/3 the price of that Martin too.
Oh yeah, the first 165's were the same figure 8 body as my Vibratone.
 

LGOberean

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I hope I can find an old Harmony H165 for a third of a 000-15M. I'm looking for something that is in playable condition upon delivery, not a project guitar.

And yes, I was aware that the earlier 165s were figure 8 guitars. Here is Jake Wildwood playing one...

 

Gsweng

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@Wildeman congrats. Haven't been on TDPRI as much lately as I used to be, and have been posting even less. The admins/mods attitudes and actions have kind of soured me on participating. But I digress. I didn't know that Vibratone model existed. Is that a jumbo sized guitar, or a mini jumbo?

I actually came here for another reason. I've been focused lately on thinning the herd, specifically with a view toward clearing out of my collection guitars made in the Far East. After (hopefully) selling 4 guitars, I want to buy one that's MiC, i.e., Made in Chicago. That's right, a Harmony. I already have my 1953 Harmony Broadway H954 archtop. Now I want a flat top. I'm considering a Sovereign (H1260), a H1203, an H162 or H165.

Actually, that 165 piques my interest. If I were to buy current production flat top acoustic, it would probably be a Martin 000-15M. All of the clichéd descriptors apply, AFAIC: "woody," "warm," "sweet," etc. A friend has one and it really turned my head around. I still like a Sitka spruce/mahogany combination, but that all 'hog Martin sounds really good to me.

But as much as I'd like to own a Made in Nazareth Martin, I think I want to stay close to my roots and go with another Harmony. So, I want to hear from those of you that have an H165, and have had a chance to compare it to a Martin 'hog. Are they comparable in tone? Or does the ladder bracing make a big difference in the sound?
Larry, one thing to consider if you want to get an H-165 or any Harmony acoustic from the 60s, it will need a neck reset, if not now then soon. I believe this is related to the ladder bracing. The sound hole area likes to collapse over time due to lack of any vertical bracing in this area. I have two H-162s which had neck resets when I bought them. I also have an H-1260 and an H-1203, both needing neck resets. You can do this, I believe on the cheap (I will post procedure shortly). As you know, the Harmonys can be great sounding guitars, but the fit and finish can be a joke when compared to Martins, Taylor’s, etc. I still love them though. You also have to do some setup to get them really playable. The H-165 should be a fine sounding guitar, ladder bracing and all (I believe some early Gibsons from the 30s were ladder braced). If you watch Reverb, you can eventually find an H-165 in good shape that has had a recent neck reset. Happy hunting.
 

Wildeman

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I hope I can find an old Harmony H165 for a third of a 000-15M. I'm looking for something that is in playable condition upon delivery, not a project guitar.

And yes, I was aware that the earlier 165s were figure 8 guitars. Here is Jake Wildwood playing one...


That one sounds great, looks to play great too, after Jake worked on it no doubt. Kay made some nice flattops too back then. I love all these classic brands , i also work on them myself to get them playing well, not sure if it would be cost effective to pay someone else to do it though. Get the one you want though, i have had old Harmony's that were excellent and original so they are out there, good luck in your fun search.
This is a pretty serviceable old Kay they got at a local store.
https://www.musicgoround.com/produc...67/used-kay-b-1-acoustic-acoustic-guitar-wood
 
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LGOberean

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Well, as we say in Texas parlance, "I done did it." At precisely 10am CDT, I pulled the trigger on a Harmony H165.

I actually first found this one on Reverb 10 days ago, and I've been watching it, even communicating with the seller. According to the seller, it's a mid to late '60s vintage. He said the date stamp inside is one big smudge mark and totally unreadable, but the headstock/logo font and "Steel reinforced neck" tells me the seller is right.

This 165 has had work done, and the seller claims it plays great and sounds great. He is the one that had the work done, and he volunteered where the work was done and by whom. Those kind of details he provided give me a reasonable degree of confidence that this is all legit.

So now it's all over for me but the waiting. I hate waiting. "Wait" is a four-letter word. :rolleyes::twisted:
 

Wildeman

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Well, as we say in Texas parlance, "I done did it." At precisely 10am CDT, I pulled the trigger on a Harmony H165.

I actually first found this one on Reverb 10 days ago, and I've been watching it, even communicating with the seller. According to the seller, it's a mid to late '60s vintage. He said the date stamp inside is one big smudge mark and totally unreadable, but the headstock/logo font and "Steel reinforced neck" tells me the seller is right.

This 165 has had work done, and the seller claims it plays great and sounds great. He is the one that had the work done, and he volunteered where the work was done and by whom. Those kind of details he provided give me a reasonable degree of confidence that this is all legit.

So now it's all over for me but the waiting. I hate waiting. "Wait" is a four-letter word. :rolleyes::twisted:
Right on. Hope its a good'un
 

LGOberean

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Okay, so on the 3rd of this month, I bought a ‘60s Harmony Grand Concert H165. It arrived a week later, this past Friday night, but the last few days have been a flurry of activity: playing at our annual Christmas block party, family visits, etc. But I have spent time playing it whenever I could, so I’m just getting around to posting about it today.

I started writing it like a NGD post, which was kind of overkill for this discussion thread. So I posted my thread in the Acoustic Heaven section, and I'll just link it here...

More pics will follow, both in my NGD thread and this one. But here's what I'm talking about...

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Gsweng

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Finally finished working on my mid 60s Patrician. Spruce top and mahogany back and sides, all solid. See pics. New tusq nut, Grover tuners, Resomax (Graphtech) low profile bridge and strings (D'addario phosphor bronze 12s). Got the action nice and low. The low profile bridge allows for a lot of adjustment in the action. It plays and sounds pretty good but is a little on the bright side. I had Stringjoys on it before and I think they toned down the brightness a little. I also believe the guitar hasn't been played in many years and needs to be played some to get it to open up more.
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LGOberean

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Congrats, Greg. And I mean that on several levels. Congrats on the Patrician acquisition. Congrats on completing repairs and restoration.

But my first thought was, "Congrats, Greg. You just inspired me to pick up another guitar besides my H165 mahogany."

Since it arrived last Friday, I haven't played any of my other guitars. I've been having fun getting acquainted. I've even been planning on how to amplify it for my gig tomorrow. I have it on a stand behind me in my office, right beside my other old Harmony, the Broadway archtop. I've looked at it several times and felt a twinge of guilt for not playing it, too, but was still enamored with my new/old flat top.

Then I saw your post and the pics of that lovely old Patrician, and the next thing I know, I'm playing the Broadway. And loving it. Oh, and here they both are, hanging up in the living room. (That's where they go to pose for pics.)

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Gsweng

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Congrats, Greg. And I mean that on several levels. Congrats on the Patrician acquisition. Congrats on completing repairs and restoration.

But my first thought was, "Congrats, Greg. You just inspired me to pick up another guitar besides my H165 mahogany."

Since it arrived last Friday, I haven't played any of my other guitars. I've been having fun getting acquainted. I've even been planning on how to amplify it for my gig tomorrow. I have it on a stand behind me in my office, right beside my other old Harmony, the Broadway archtop. I've looked at it several times and felt a twinge of guilt for not playing it, too, but was still enamored with my new/old flat top.

Then I saw your post and the pics of that lovely old Patrician, and the next thing I know, I'm playing the Broadway. And loving it. Oh, and here they both are, hanging up in the living room. (That's where they go to pose for pics.)

View attachment 929326
Some fine looking guitars Larry. I have a few arch tops and love to play them for a different sound and feel. My guitar by the TV is an arch top (built by a dentist - it has great inlays!). I noodle on it while watching TV, then go to the basement and pick up something different to play. It keeps things interesting.
 

LGOberean

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Today I did my first gig with the H165. It was my Thursday afternoon time that I volunteer at a local seniors living community. It's may not be for pay, but it's a gig. They've had me set up in the multi-purpose room (MPR for short) each week, and I do an hour and a half and take requests through the whole show.

Normally, I play my Logan Custom acoustic/electric tele style into my Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge, and use a Sennheiser 3835 in the mic channel. It's a lightweight easy to set up rig that is more than sufficient for the room and audience (probably no more than 3 dozen people). They do, however, leave the doors of the MPR open so people sitting out in the lobby/common area and staffers behind the front desk can hear as well. I jokingly refer to those as the "balcony seats."

But today I took my newly acquired Harmony mahogany. Of course, it's just an acoustic guitar, so I amplified it using the IK Multimedia iRig Acoustic Stage microphone system. I just clip the guitar pick shaped MEMS microphone onto the guitar's soundhole and plug into the preamp, then run out to the instrument channel on my Fishman amp. It doesn't have a piezo quack sound, it's warm and clear. Worked like a charm. The H165 will become my backup to my Logan Custom a/e.

This Saturday night, I have another gig, and I will take the 165 to that gig as well. It's an office Christmas party thing, small venue. Don't know the exact head count, but less than 20 people, I think. I'll do that one completely unplugged.
 

Gsweng

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Today I did my first gig with the H165. It was my Thursday afternoon time that I volunteer at a local seniors living community. It's may not be for pay, but it's a gig. They've had me set up in the multi-purpose room (MPR for short) each week, and I do an hour and a half and take requests through the whole show.

Normally, I play my Logan Custom acoustic/electric tele style into my Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge, and use a Sennheiser 3835 in the mic channel. It's a lightweight easy to set up rig that is more than sufficient for the room and audience (probably no more than 3 dozen people). They do, however, leave the doors of the MPR open so people sitting out in the lobby/common area and staffers behind the front desk can hear as well. I jokingly refer to those as the "balcony seats."

But today I took my newly acquired Harmony mahogany. Of course, it's just an acoustic guitar, so I amplified it using the IK Multimedia iRig Acoustic Stage microphone system. I just clip the guitar pick shaped MEMS microphone onto the guitar's soundhole and plug into the preamp, then run out to the instrument channel on my Fishman amp. It doesn't have a piezo quack sound, it's warm and clear. Worked like a charm. The H165 will become my backup to my Logan Custom a/e.

This Saturday night, I have another gig, and I will take the 165 to that gig as well. It's an office Christmas party thing, small venue. Don't know the exact head count, but less than 20 people, I think. I'll do that one completely unplugged.
Wow Larry you’re an artist! I play / learn for myself and would never think about gigging. My guitar teacher thinks that would be great, but I’m not there. I know it would help my musicianship by leaps and bounds but. You can’t go wrong with that 165. That’s Hank Williams country.
 

Wildeman

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NHD, By my reckoning this is from the 1940's, a Roy Smeck concert uke.
Its a pretty little thing, solid spruce top, solid mahogany back, sides, neck with a Brazilian board and real binding!:eek:
Needed a couple cracks glued up (minor) and some new tuners, ive ordered some Grovers, and a polish up and she'll be ready to go.
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here's her cousin from 10 or 15 years later.A Roy Smeck mahogany soprano.
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Gsweng

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NHD, By my reckoning this is from the 1940's, a Roy Smeck concert uke.
Its a pretty little thing, solid spruce top, solid mahogany back, sides, neck with a Brazilian board and real binding!:eek:
Needed a couple cracks glued up (minor) and some new tuners, ive ordered some Grovers, and a polish up and she'll be ready to go. View attachment 929755 View attachment 929756 here's her cousin from 10 or 15 years later.A Roy Smeck mahogany soprano. View attachment 929758
Awesome! Is that neck gigantic or does it just look big compared to the body?
 

Gsweng

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NHD, By my reckoning this is from the 1940's, a Roy Smeck concert uke.
Its a pretty little thing, solid spruce top, solid mahogany back, sides, neck with a Brazilian board and real binding!:eek:
Needed a couple cracks glued up (minor) and some new tuners, ive ordered some Grovers, and a polish up and she'll be ready to go. View attachment 929755 View attachment 929756 here's her cousin from 10 or 15 years later.A Roy Smeck mahogany soprano. View attachment 929758
Roy Smeck was the man. I have one of his chord books - all kinds of chords in all keys.
 

Gsweng

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BTW, if any of you guys have an arch top where the action is still too high after the bridge is turned all the way down, try the ResoMax low profile (they make two, one regular height and one low profile) bridge from Graphtech. I put in on my Patrician (above) and now I can get the action as low as I need. All kinds of adjustment range. And it definitely transfers the power in the strings to the soundboard. It’s super resonate and you can feel it. The guitar now is very loud.
 




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