Harmony Guitars Club

LGOberean

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
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I thought for sure that we have talked about the date stamp controversy in this thread before. I did search for the topic, but while individual references to specific date stamps on specific instruments have been made, it doesn't seem that a discussion of the date stamps in general--and what the stamped information signified.--has been done. I used search words such as date, stamp, production and so forth to locate such a discussion in this thread, but those terms yielded no posts of such a discussion. That surprised me. So, assuming I haven't somehow missed posts of such a discussion, here goes...

As most here no doubt know, the basic date stamp inside a Harmony guitar features either an F or an S, followed by a two-digit number indicating the year. What remains something of a mystery is what those letters signify. Many claim F stands for "Fall" and S, "Spring." However, I remember reading about an interview of a factory worker that referred to the production year being divided in two, and the instruments made during the first half of the year were designaed "F" for First, and those in the second half "S" for Second. That is a plausible explanation, as it would be expected that production would run the year through, and not just in the Spring and Fall seasons only.

However, one proponent of the Fall/Spring designations is S. Nathaniel Adams, who in March of last year published on his website an article on the subject of "Identifying and Dating Harmony Guitars." Adams has evidently had quite a bit of experience in repairing and restoring old guitars, and the article comes out of that experience. He points to the fact of the existence of "FL" date stamps and of Christmas-exclusive models bearing "F" stamps (for Fall) as supporting the Fall/Spring meanings. This too is a plausible explanation.

I've wondered if the answer to this controversy might not be an "either/or" proposition, but rather a "both/and." We know that Harmony and Sears began doing business together in 1897, and their instruments were sold through the Sears, Roebuck & Company catalog. And the Sears published a Spring and Fall catalog every year from 1896 to 1993. So I believe the factory worker's testimony is accurate as to the length of the year's production run, and how it was divided up. But I also believe that Harmony could have adopted the Spring/Fall designations early in their history to refer to those two halves of the production year.

Anyway, that's my current take on the subject. Anyone else care to shed some light on the subject, or perhaps set me straight if I'm off-base?
 

Gsweng

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Joined
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Posts
362
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Location
Fort Wayne, IN
I thought for sure that we have talked about the date stamp controversy in this thread before. I did search for the topic, but while individual references to specific date stamps on specific instruments have been made, it doesn't seem that a discussion of the date stamps in general--and what the stamped information signified.--has been done. I used search words such as date, stamp, production and so forth to locate such a discussion in this thread, but those terms yielded no posts of such a discussion. That surprised me. So, assuming I haven't somehow missed posts of such a discussion, here goes...

As most here no doubt know, the basic date stamp inside a Harmony guitar features either an F or an S, followed by a two-digit number indicating the year. What remains something of a mystery is what those letters signify. Many claim F stands for "Fall" and S, "Spring." However, I remember reading about an interview of a factory worker that referred to the production year being divided in two, and the instruments made during the first half of the year were designaed "F" for First, and those in the second half "S" for Second. That is a plausible explanation, as it would be expected that production would run the year through, and not just in the Spring and Fall seasons only.

However, one proponent of the Fall/Spring designations is S. Nathaniel Adams, who in March of last year published on his website an article on the subject of "Identifying and Dating Harmony Guitars." Adams has evidently had quite a bit of experience in repairing and restoring old guitars, and the article comes out of that experience. He points to the fact of the existence of "FL" date stamps and of Christmas-exclusive models bearing "F" stamps (for Fall) as supporting the Fall/Spring meanings. This too is a plausible explanation.

I've wondered if the answer to this controversy might not be an "either/or" proposition, but rather a "both/and." We know that Harmony and Sears began doing business together in 1897, and their instruments were sold through the Sears, Roebuck & Company catalog. And the Sears published a Spring and Fall catalog every year from 1896 to 1993. So I believe the factory worker's testimony is accurate as to the length of the year's production run, and how it was divided up. But I also believe that Harmony could have adopted the Spring/Fall designations early in their history to refer to those two halves of the production year.

Anyway, that's my current take on the subject. Anyone else care to shed some light on the subject, or perhaps set me straight if I'm off-base?
I think that sounds about right Larry. It’s what I’ve read also. The Sears catalog business also makes sense - I never thought about that. Anyway, it’s the number (year) that interests me.
 

Wildeman

Tele-Afflicted
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I've never seen anything but F & Sxx and a bunch with nothing at all, I'm in the First and Second half camp myself.
 

LGOberean

Doctor of Teleocity
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I was until recently in the First/Second camp myself. And I still am, after a fashion, since I see the Spring/Fall nomenclature/Sears catalog connection as something of a distinction without a difference.

And I do realize that my approach is not unlike the old Certs commercial, "Stop! You're both right!"

 

widefault

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Posts
316
Location
Green Bay, WI
There are people that are adamant F=fall because a particular model marked F was only in the Christmas catalog and no others. "What, do you think they built the guitars for the Christmas season in the first half of the year?" Yeah, they probably did, the supply chain was a lot slower back in the 60s. Hell, the Christmas catalog was probably being designed and sent to the printers at the same time.
 

DavidS_H90

NEW MEMBER!
Joined
Jan 18, 2022
Posts
1
Age
62
Location
Toronto
I own way too many Harmony guitars

H819B Explorer copy, made in Korea in the mid 80s by Samick
Fcx3lYJ.jpg


H82CR, also Samick in the mid 80s
tVZHyDu.jpg


30" scale p-bass-ish copy
vCCmOZh.jpg


H80T-B with gold hardware, another Samick
mQjifor.jpg


H802, last version, the worst guitar I own and have ever owned
CC2CBrJ.jpg


Mini LP-ish thing, the second worse guitar I own
ejZJVWj.jpg


H90, probably another Samick
hD9k9aU.jpg


H80T, made in Taiwan
Hi2AZ5D.jpg


SG copy, another made in Korea by Samick
pyqBZ3w.jpg


Another made in Taiwan H80T
nrKP53m.jpg


Early 70s Stella with vintage strap
L1ZQUmB.jpg


Early 60's H59 with non-original but vintage case
CGebDeM.jpg


H14 and a Silvertone partcaster set up like an H14, both mid 60s
kllYZgs.jpg


There's also a few more Stellas that I don't seem to have pictures of. I had 7 at one time, down to five after giving away four and buying two more.
How do you like the H90?
 

widefault

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Posts
316
Location
Green Bay, WI
Honest? It's not very good. Might just be this one because I've had other Samick/Korean-made bolt-on LP copies from the same time that were quite good. This one has a horrible neck pocket fit requiring shims to get it to sit straight and centered. Also has the single-coil-in-a-humbucker case pickups.
 

JustABluesGuy

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 2, 2016
Posts
4,174
Location
Somewhere
I have an old Harmony acoustic (Stella) that I have had for a while. It also recently picked up an electric that I believe is made by Harmony, but branded Alden I think.

It’s in pretty good shape for its age and the fact that it was cheap when new. I like its funky looks, and it plays surprisingly well, though I am going to have to tweak some things a bit.

Just putting new strings on it helped a lot!

1644015112635.jpeg


1644015172793.jpeg


1644015143904.jpeg
 

quinine1972

NEW MEMBER!
Joined
May 13, 2022
Posts
1
Location
Central Texas
I thought for sure that we have talked about the date stamp controversy in this thread before. I did search for the topic, but while individual references to specific date stamps on specific instruments have been made, it doesn't seem that a discussion of the date stamps in general--and what the stamped information signified.--has been done. I used search words such as date, stamp, production and so forth to locate such a discussion in this thread, but those terms yielded no posts of such a discussion. That surprised me. So, assuming I haven't somehow missed posts of such a discussion, here goes...

As most here no doubt know, the basic date stamp inside a Harmony guitar features either an F or an S, followed by a two-digit number indicating the year. What remains something of a mystery is what those letters signify. Many claim F stands for "Fall" and S, "Spring." However, I remember reading about an interview of a factory worker that referred to the production year being divided in two, and the instruments made during the first half of the year were designaed "F" for First, and those in the second half "S" for Second. That is a plausible explanation, as it would be expected that production would run the year through, and not just in the Spring and Fall seasons only.

However, one proponent of the Fall/Spring designations is S. Nathaniel Adams, who in March of last year published on his website an article on the subject of "Identifying and Dating Harmony Guitars." Adams has evidently had quite a bit of experience in repairing and restoring old guitars, and the article comes out of that experience. He points to the fact of the existence of "FL" date stamps and of Christmas-exclusive models bearing "F" stamps (for Fall) as supporting the Fall/Spring meanings. This too is a plausible explanation.

I've wondered if the answer to this controversy might not be an "either/or" proposition, but rather a "both/and." We know that Harmony and Sears began doing business together in 1897, and their instruments were sold through the Sears, Roebuck & Company catalog. And the Sears published a Spring and Fall catalog every year from 1896 to 1993. So I believe the factory worker's testimony is accurate as to the length of the year's production run, and how it was divided up. But I also believe that Harmony could have adopted the Spring/Fall designations early in their history to refer to those two halves of the production year.

Anyway, that's my current take on the subject. Anyone else care to shed some light on the subject, or perhaps set me straight if I'm off-base?
Doubt this will shed any light, in fact it should muddy things. I have an H65 with two date stamps. FL-59-JW & S-63-WN.
Pot dates are Dec '59 & Feb '60. No date code legible on the pickup. Any thoughts?
 
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LGOberean

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
May 31, 2008
Posts
13,598
Age
69
Location
Corpus Christi, Texas
Today marks the 2nd anniversary of my acquiring my 1953 vintage/birthyear Harmony archtop, Broadway H954 model. I've posted about it before here on probably a bunch of occasions, so I won't go into great detail again here. I'll just mark the occasion with a mention. I have, however, created a thread about it, which, if you're so inclined, you can check out here.
 

Wildeman

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Posts
1,273
Age
51
Location
Norcal
New Harmony day! It ain't a guitar but I think y'all can appreciate it anyway. 1970ish Chicago made Harmony Mandolin, this thing is a honey, appears to be new, plays and sounds perfect. Solid spruce top, maple back and sides. This is one of the last incarnations of the Monterrey mandolin and in my experience, it's the finest most well crafted Harmony I've had. They went out with a bang👍
IMG_20220527_143847033.jpg
IMG_20220527_143855230.jpg
 




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