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Harmony Archtops
Rothman's Guitars Photos

Harmony Archtops

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When you start to look though the old catalogues from the 60's you see a great number of archtops that were in production at this time. It would appear that Harmony must have had a large customer base for these "F" hole guitars. The same price point and features held true to these guitars as discussed earlier. Cheaper models almost always had painted binding along with painted fret markers. . Over the years the Harmony style of making guitars evolved just like the rest of the manufactures. The pre-war guitars, through the 40's, had clubbier necks. Earlier ones were v-ed. Some of the archtops had a bigger paddle like headstock similar to the evolution of Gretch guitars, although even into the early 70's the higher end archtops did sport a larger headstock. Into the 50's the graphics changed as well. Even the color of the logo seemed to change as time went on. When the guitar boom of the 60's happened, the guitars got simpler and more mass-produced. After all, they were making an average of 1000 instruments per day during this period. That's a lot of guitars! The detailing on the headstock on the Patrician went from an ornate red, white and blue to a simpler plain graphic. This H1407 polished mahogany model, with solid spruce top had edges bound in shell celluloid. "Fine tone quality for ensemble or solo playing" boasted a 1962 catalogue.

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The number of "f" hole guitars made by Harmony would lend you to believe that there was a great calling for these jazz guitars. The different models, by the late 60's, were as diverse as the kinds of people there were to play them. Their top of the line H1310 cutaway with arched spruce top and "pearlette" block inlays was as good as it got, for the better player. At the cost of $125 in 1970, this guitar was the still a bargain price compared to the Gibsons they tried to rival. If this was out of your budget, for as little as $42.50 you could get an H1215/13 Harmony "Archtone." Still listed as all hardwood construction, these shaded brown mahogany or reddish mahogany were grained to resemble spruce. Even as early as 1962, these budget priced guitars had multilayers of painted binding and fingerboards that were grained to resemble rosewood.

There were several in between models that Harmony produced. Whether it was the Harmony Master H945 or the Broadway H954, Harmony had the selection. These guitars were 15 3/4 " X 40 3/4 " in size, and boasted "offers tone quality, easy playing, at a moderate price." The Monterey H1325 (16 1/2 " X 41") also had celluloid bound edges with an elevated ovalled fingerboard. The Monterey also had a "Slim line" neck with their "TORQUE-LOK" adjustable reinforcing rod. All these guitars had bone nuts, adjustable bridge and shell or celluloid pickguards.



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Budget priced and fun to play, these archtops made their way into the attics and under the beds of the American household. Pushed there by the demand for flat tops during the guitar boom of the late 60's, these Archops faded into the woodwork. The more serious Jazz player was looking for better quality and the everyday player just wasn't playing this style of guitar. Most makers of guitars just didn't see the demand for these guitars. Today, with the rebirth of the jazz guitar and number of guitar makers making top quality archtops, maybe these Harmony Archtops will come out of the woodwork. They may never come close to rivaling the quality of the guitars being made by today's 2nd generation contemporary luthiers like Kim Walker, Tom Ribbicke, Steve Grimes, and John Monteleone, to name a few. Just as they didn't try to rival the craftsmanship of the first generation D'Angelico and D'Aquisto, Harmony served their customers with a more affordable option. Still available at a fraction of the cost, they are just something fun to play and affordable to collect