7/21/2014

c.1960 Harmony H8448 Meteor-style Hollowbody Electric Guitar




Sheesh... this guitar is so clean and gorgeous it hurts. It came in pretty good shape though the frets needed leveling/dressing, it needed a bit of cleaning, the saddle needed some intonation, and it needed a good setup overall. It now plays beautifully and feels like a garage-rock/rockabilly king in the hands. These old Harmony electrics tend to rock a short scale and this has a 24 1/4" length which means I've strung it with 50w-11 plain-G strings (as opposed to 10s) to get a good-feeling tension at standard pitch.

The model is stamped inside as an H8448 (with a 1960 date-stamp) but it's identical to late-50s, early-60s Harmony H-70 Meteor models. There's no branding at the headstock though it looks like someone removed said branding (probably stenciled on or stickers) a long time ago as there are marks in the finish if you look closely enough where branding should be.


This is a full 16" wide thin hollowbody build (with one soundpost directly in its center) and the single-cutaway makes me think Gretsch in design nature. The super-cool Deco-looking DeArmond pickups certainly make me think of 1950s Gretsch builds though they're a bit meatier and bluesy in tone.

This is simply put a great guitar... and I think if you like a thick single-coil sound that verges into the 50s jazz/blues territory this will really do it. The bridge pickup can ape some raunchy rockabilly tones, though, too.


Original bone nut, truss cover, and fancier-than normal tuners.


The board is radiused and bound (triple-ply!) with side dots. The "pearl" blocks are actually pearloid. Frets have good height and feel great. The necks on these old Harmony electrics are narrower at the neck pocket than, say, Fenders. This gives them a super-slick sort of feel even though the back of the neck is more 50s Gibson in shape.


The DeArmond pickups raised on the rosewood mounts are so, so stylish.


I intonated the original saddle for an unwound G setup. It's nice to have notes ring true, huh?


Cupcake knobs! Yum.


The heavier-duty, more quality tail gives this an upscale feel especially compared to its nearest neighbor in the Harmony line, the faithful 2-pickup Rocket.


Body woods: spruce laminate top and maple laminate back/sides.



Don't mind my dusty fingerprints on the headstock's rear, please. The SSN on the headstock rear links to a Mr. William Moulton of East Dover, Vermont. He passed away in the late 80s and I'm assuming that's when the last owner picked this up from his estate.


The original strap button location (on the neck as in this pic) means that only narrow-hooked straps will work (think: thin leather or gun-strap style) well but one could always relocate it.






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