Riddle me this (guitar content)…

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by LGOberean, May 16, 2021.

  1. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    ..what was once MiC but is now MiK or MiA?

    Well, if MiC = Made in Chicago and MiK = Made in Kalamazoo and MiA = Made in America, then the answer is…

    …Harmony brand guitars (and amps, for that matter).

    I suppose some could split hairs and say the company is owned by Singapore-based BandLab Technologies. True enough, but the fact remains, Harmony guitars are once again being Made in America.

    The Harmony guitars of my youth--and even my father's youth--were made in Chicago, but now Harmony products are made in the famed factory on 225 Parsons Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Heritage Guitars factory (another brand which BandLab also owns).

    I think I love this. My Dad played Harmony made guitars before I was born. Throughout my childhood, I don't recall any time when there wasn't a guitar in the house. And those guitars were all Harmony brand.

    I first "plunked around" on Dad's 1961 Stella by Harmony H929. I got serious about learning to play in 1967, and it was on Dad's Harmony Archtone H1213. And after I showed due diligence in sticking with it and learning to play, Dad bought a Harmony Silhouette H19 for me (and subsequently my kid brother) to use.

    And now Harmony is back, and they even make a reimagined Silhouette. In America. In Kalamazoo. At a price which, after inflation adjustment, compares favorably to the Chicago-made Silhouette of old. In 1965, a Silhouette cost $177.50. The online US inflaction calculator says this would be equivalent to $1,504.83 today. The price tag on the Silhouette from Kalamzoo is $1,299.

    No, I'm not an employee. I am not paid to promote them. I don't even own a Harmony. Well, I do, actually, but it was made in Chicago in 1953. But I think the relaunch of the brand is a good thing. I think guitars being made in America (for reasonable prices) is a good thing.

    And I've been reading and watching good reviews of them. Anyone already have a Kalamazoo Harmony model?
     
  2. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

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    MIK is Made in Korea.
     
  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Harmony?
    Seriously?
    Never would have guessed that would be a brand brought back as a US produced guitar!

    I prefer the Kay Stratotone over the Harmony but I wish them the best in business!

    How about they bang out a model somewhere between the Stratotone and the '59 double cut LP Jr?
    Keep it stupid simple so the price stays down, stop tail one pickup vol & tone with no extra parts or fancy finishes.
    Hell they could even use poplar like the Stratotone and maybe hit $499?

    I'd have to dig around the garage but I gotta have some sort of Harmony somewhere.
    I do have a Kay Stratotone husk too.
    And a Kalamazoo Bass 30 toob amp from the mid '60s.
     
  4. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    I may be a curmudgeon but I don’t get the harmonyAppeal

    they were cheap made guitars and that’s exactly what I think of them

    Kind of hard to change that perception
     
  5. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Cool thread!
    My first playable guitar was a Harmony Stella.
    I don’t know where or when it was made, but I got it 1968.
    My $9.99 Hecho En Mexico unplayable kid’s toy got traded in.
    My “new” red & black “bumblebee” 000-size guitar (from Richard’s Music on Lamar) enabled me to learn Gloria and House Of The Rising Sun.
    It cost $25, less my trade in.
    I was off!
    I still am!;):):D:lol:
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
  6. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

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    The new ones look pretty cool. I like the offset Silhouette.

    The high majority of old ones I’ve played were VERY rough. Every once in a while you stumble upon one that is a gem.
     
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  7. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    Read.
     
  8. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Trust me, they ain't cheap. All models on the Anderton's site run around the £1500 mark.
     
  9. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    So everyone can see what you're referencing, Larry, here's a link.
    I love many of the old guitars from my past, out of nostalgia, but the "Scottish" thrift in me won't let me pay over a thousand dollars for an American made guitar that I can buy a great Made in China version for a third the price. "Reasonable prices" are in the eye of the beholder. ;)
    https://www.harmony.co/pages/silhouette
     
  10. _MementoMori_

    _MementoMori_ Tele-Afflicted

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    Reinventing a budget brand from the past as a contemporary high end brand is just weird. What's next, $400 Rustler jeans?

    They are good looking though.
     
  11. posttoastie

    posttoastie Tele-Afflicted

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    When will Yugo make an electric car?
     
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  12. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

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    My first guitar was a Harmony acoustic. The action was too height be easily playable. I was a teen, sometime maybe late ‘60s or early ‘70s.

    I kinda like the “Crafted In...<wherever>” designation that Fender uses, in the explicit/longhand statement and the serial numbering of the head stocks of Squiers. Aren’t they consistent in that use? And isn’t that appropriately acknowledging that countries’ factories’ part in the “making” , while still leaving room for Fender as the designing author?

    CII - Crafted In Indonesia
    CIK - Crafted In Korea
    CIC - Crafted In China
     
  13. black_doug

    black_doug Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    They have some nice features for the price. Might need to try one or two.
     
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  14. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    Eastwoood did a good job of making modern versions of these budget guitars. Not sure how well they sold, but I remember a few years ago when they were a sensation.
     
  15. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Personally, I'd have a hard time plunking down $1300 for a Harmony when there are so many great and cheaper options on the market today.
    But if it works for you, have at it.
     
  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm not a big fan of harmony either, but they and Kay made some good guitars too, just happens that since they also served the beginners market where Gibson and Fender only served the better funded beginners, tons of their cheap guitars got sold compared to their expensive guitars, and many older players learned on one.

    Another big factor though is that they commonly used DeArmond pickups, like Gretsch, D'Angelico, Epiphone and even some early Gibson archtops used. So a mid priced Harmony in good working order had top shelf pickups and sound.

    Given that much of Rock & Roll was made by young people who had almost no money or good standing in their community, the availability of gear that was not upper crust professional musician performing in a tuxedo approved, was kind of a part of music culture.
    Sort of like Jeep made a name not by making cars rich folks wanted, but by making cars dirty folks used in war zones.
    Now rich folks want jeeps with leather and AC so they pay $50k for what was a creaky leaky mud hopper brand.

    Last I'd say that while Fender and Gibson were conservative with design, Harmony kept coming up with freaky new guitar designs without worrying that their customers would be offended.
    Possibly the range of models and styles was as important as the fact that they served all the kids who saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan.

    I forget and didn't really study up but Harmony and Kay were connected, as of course Harmony, Silvertone and Danelectro were connected IIRC.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well to make that comparison fairly, first allow that $1400 is near the bottom of the range of US guitar prices.

    Then go back and you'll see that greasers playing a Harmony in their garage band wore Levi's, AKA blue collar work pants.

    Are there $400 Levi's?
    Close?
    Again, I'm not excited to shop for a new Harmony, but I'm more amazed at paying $100 to have my new dungarees worn out in some Chinese factory than I am by a US made Harmony at $1400.
    I never liked that headstock!
    If they make a less ugly headstock I might consider a used Harmony in five years.
     
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  18. Oldsmobum

    Oldsmobum Tele-Holic

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    The appeal is that they are unique (as in nothing like a typical fender or Gibson) and many sound really good. They typically need a bit of work to play well, but it is often a very achievable goal. Another part of the appeal was they used to be cheap, but that is less and less true.

    Those gold foil pickups will change your life... It is my favorite neck position.
     
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  19. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Afflicted

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    To be fair, those are some pretty nice guitars. Kind of like those old Silvertones...the ones that survived anyways are pretty good sounding instruments all things considered. I have an old ball-end nylon Harmony I bought for $15 just so it wouldn't get destroyed by the idiot that was going to throw it in his fireplace if I didn't buy it. Actually sounds pretty good all things considered. I also have a trapieze-tail silvertone flattop that I talk about here. It has a very unique and full sound that is all its own. Never heard anything quite like it on a record or elsewhere.
     
  20. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Considering that Harmony was a low end brand, the price is way too high, especially in the UK, where I don't honestly remember seeing them growing up. Danelectro I remember, a friend had one back in the day., and Silvertone I do remember. Silvertone ***is a really cheap brand here, but scarce (only one UK outlet) , and the quality looks really good, mahogany necks and bodies, with maple tops and backs for no more than £400. I would buy one in a heartbeat over a £1500 Harmony guitar, especially when I could spend a little more, and buy into the Fender AO series with almost any model.

    *** reissues, I mean.
     
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