10/15/2016

1970 Harmony "Buck Owens" Flattop Guitar



I had no idea that these old Buck Owens red-white-and-blue Harmony 000s were so valuable! It's even more humorous to me, too, because the back and sides are birch rather than the mahogany of the H1203 -- which is the closest comparable model. It's, of course, very cool and very "country" -- so I get the popularity. Who wouldn't want to make an impression while toting one of these yellowing old gals?

This has languished in my repair racks for almost a year, now, and eventually the sawdust grew thick enough to clean it off and do the job. This got a neck reset, fret level/dress, giant new ebony saddle to replace the missing adjustable unit, a set of old parts-bin bridge pins, some lube/cleaning of the original tuners, and the installation of a new headstock veneer (more on that in a bit). It now plays as it should and has a good, midsy, folky, thumpy sort-of tone.


I'm almost certain that this never wore a pickguard. There's not much to suggest anything was ever on it.


So, the headstock veneer -- grr! This was a new item when it came in -- a fresh repro in blinding white and blue. I installed it nicely and drilled the tuner holes and decided to shoot it with a coat of "amber" nitro... only to find that the blue was sprayed-on rather than printed or molded and the paint proceeded to crackle and funkify. Ugh!

My plan was to hit it with the amber coat and then rub it out a bit to decrease the yellowing effect and match the discoloration on the back of the headstock. This happened instead -- oh well! We win some, we lose some. Since it was "antiqued" already, I re-used the original (broken) truss-rod cover, too, by mounting it on some sticky-backed pickguard material. Neat-o.

In real life, the yellow isn't an almost sickly-green-yellow like in the photo, though -- so I think on the whole this might've been a bit of a draw as opposed to a loss. It still beats 46 years of glue residue on the headstock.




There's plenty of height on that saddle. I used ebony rather than bone because the slot was incredibly oversized to suit an old (missing) adjustable saddle gizmo. This is easier on the eyes than a mammoth hunk of bone and, as a side-benefit, calms down the zingy highs that birch back/sides can bring out.






The strap button was on it when it came in.









The date stamp pins this to 1970.

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