12/17/2015

1960 Harmony H950T Archtop Tenor Guitar





Update Sept 2016: This guitar was traded to me and I had to do a little bit of further work on it including a reglue of the fretboard (it'd come a bit loose from dryness), a bit of spot fret seating/leveling, and the installation of a new adjustable ebony bridge which I mounted directly into the top via the posts. It's strung CGDA and happy! Action is 1/16" at the 12th fret and it's strung 36w, 24w, 14, 9.

This guitar has been in the shop forever. It's among the 5-10 that have been here for about a year or so due to either very low priority or time-intensive needs. You can see some of the earlier work on the braces by clicking here. The issue with this one is that it needed both its main braces reglued, the back entirely reglued, many top/side seams reglued, the neck stabilized, a new bridge, fret level/dress... the works! It's all been done and I can safely say that, among the other similar-model Harmony tenors I've worked on, this one certainly feels the most "durable," having had all of that muck gone-through.


These 950Ts are solid birch all over with a poplar neck and dyed-maple fretboard. The original bridge was dyed maple as well (and so was the nut) but I've replaced the nut with bone and the bridge with a new adjustable one.

This has a 15 1/4" wide body, press-arched top and back (with 2x tonebar bracing), Gibson-style 22 3/4" scale length, and is all original save for that bridge and nut.

I didn't find any cracks on the guitar, but there's a line running from just below the bass-side f-hole's bottom that looks like a hairline but doesn't go through the top. It seems to be a dragged deep scratch in the finish.


I love the 50s-style Harmony stencil script.


Faux-pearl dots, brass frets... and now new side dots, too.






The original adjustable bridge was missing and so I made a new, adjustable unit from ebony. It's compensated and I mounted the thumbwheel posts directly into the top. They're embedded in the top and bracing to make them nice and stable. This way I was able to make a more secure bridge mount and remove extra material, too, so as to keep the bridge light. It's also different, which is fun.

Action is dialed-in at 1/16" overall at the 12th fret -- spot-on.


The f-holes are classic Harmony-shaped ones which recall Gibson-made Kalamazoo f-hole looks, too. The binding is cream celluloid.




After gluing up the braces and double-bolting the neck in the joint from the inside, I used the "slipped back" method to reset the neck angle as I didn't want to have to charge my customer even more on the work. The seams were a little wonky, too, so it helped to correct them afterwards.






The old, cream-buttoned tuners work just fine after a lube.






There are a couple of sets of mounting holes for the tailpiece... though the endpin is original.

3 comments:

NickR said...

I've got a Harmony Monterey Artist tenor guitar from 1940 and the adjustable bridge was missing. I have used various six string bridges but recently I bought this mandolin bridge from ebay. The seller in Canada has many others and they are very similar to the bridges you see on the arched top round hole Harmony guitars from the mid-30s such as the Valencia in particular- and Jake did have a Valencia tenor guitar. Not such a precision item as the one Jake has made but sold at a giveaway price. As a mandolin bridge it is less wide than a six string bridge and fitted the profile of my guitar's top exactly!
This is the ebay number for those that want to take a look: 200451937892

Jake Wildwood said...

Nick: Thanks for that! I love it when people share parts sources.

bonnybroome said...

Really sweet Jake. Thank you. Love it.