1960s Harmony H49 Stratotone Jupiter Electric Guitar

I owned, briefly, a Stratotone Mars (the 1-pickup, plain-Jane version of this guitar) and really liked it -- though the pickup on mine was a bit on the muddy/bluesy side of the spectrum -- a place where I wasn't "having it" at the time. This Jupiter really fits the bill for my tastes, however, as both of its DeArmond pickups are both raunchy and crisp, just like the Doc ordered.

Older Harmony bolt-on-neck electrics can be somewhat misunderstood -- they're short-scale (usually) at 24 1/8" or so, have a narrow-width and not-very-tapered neck profile, and the hollowbody models like this one flit between a 50s-style jazz tone and straight-up 60s-style rock. Not surprisingly, they often sound best setup with what they were strung with to begin-with: heavier, wound-G, and preferably flatwound strings.

This guitar has those on it, and like the old '56 Musicmaster which had the same, the heavier "wire" really lights the spark on the short scale and fiery pickups. On many of the old shorter-scale guitars, the modern preference for unwound Gs and 9/10s on the top can give a floppy, going-out-of-tune sound to the instruments -- but not so when you get them back to vintage specs.

The guitar was in for a quick check and minor setup adjustments -- compensation of the B-slot at the bridge and minor nut filing.

This neck is truss-rodded, thankfully, and dead-straight.

I love that you can see a bit into the control cavity.

Controls are -- blender, vol/tone, vol/tone. The upper switch above these is a 3-way with the blend pot specified in the middle.

This bolt pattern is surprisingly effective.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Great to see this online! Also, I appreciate the info (especially the affirmation re. flat wound strings) and the tune-up. PSgalia