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Vintage Harmony Guitars

Instruments and amplifiers manufactured by Harmony, USA

American guitar manufacture was at its peak in the 1960s, with numerous highly-respected guitar companies making instruments at all levels; from the likes of Kay, Gretsch, Epiphone, Guild, Fender and Gibson. But Harmony was one of the very biggest producers, at one point the biggest, selling guitars branded both as Harmony, and rebadged for numerous other distributors. In fact, in the mid/late 1960s, Harmony was said to produce more guitars than all other American guitar manufacturers combined. Most were entry or intermediate level instruments though, and although examples of most models are easy to find, examples in really good condition are rare.

1966 Harmony advertisement featuring the H76 thinline semi acoustic, the H19 solid body electric and the 1260 flat-top acoustic
1966 Harmony advertisement featuring the H76 thinline semi acoustic, the H19 solid body electric and the 1260 flat-top acoustic
Harmony guitars use De Armond pickups, 1965

But Harmony produced a lot of instruments other than guitars: ukuleles, banjos, mandolins, violins etc; the company was proud of it's history, proudly American, and as proud of its skilled workforce, as it's use of modern technology "We've produced millions of instruments but we make them one at a time". This long history of instrument manufacture explains why Harmony had the expertise to produce so many well-built acoustic and hollow-body electric instruments; guitars like the Meteor and Rocket were very well received. They were slow, however, in committing to the solid body market; although they released the H44 Stratotone neck-through solid body in 1952, it was gone by 1957, and there were only hollow bodies until the release of the Silhouette in 1963.

So you can be sure that, while every Harmony instrument has the same basic characteristics for which all Harmony products are noted, each individual instrument has had dozens of manhours devoted just to it alone
    - By skilled craftsmen fully trained in innumerable precision hand operations - and the use of most modern equipment- for that closeness-to-perfection which is our constant goal
    - By experienced finishers, who give thoroughgoing individual care to each instrument as it passes through their hands
    - By inspectors who know that Harmony's heritage of fine instrument making depends onhow carefully they check each detail of adjustment and playability before the name Harmony may be affixed to the instrument

Harmony Chicago guitar plants 1 and 2, opened in 1940 and 1962 respectively
Harmony Chicago guitar plants 1 and 2, opened in 1940 and 1962 respectively

Harmony had been producing instruments in America since 1892, and used a number of different premises in Chicago, however from 1940 instrument production was performed at the Racine Avenue factory (plant 1, top right). From 1962, some processes - final assembly, inspection, and shipping - was moved to plant 2, about a mile away (bottom right).

Harmony, like many other early guitar manufacturers, used some very fine tonewoods in the production of instruments: spruce tops, maple, African mahogany and birch backs and sides, South American mahogany, maple and poplar necks and rosewood fingerboards and bridges.

Several notable ranges of similar guitars were produced with different finishes and features; whilst some companies lumped all variants together with a single model name - i.e. a Fender Stratocaster is a Fender Stratocaster, irrespective of it's finish, in many cases Harmony split it's models, giving a different model designation depending on finish, inclusion of a tremolo etc.

Harmony's market share of entry and intermediate-level instruments was it's downfall in the mid-1970s, as it found itself unable to compete with the competition from overseas (particularly Japanese) manufacturers. The higher-end American companies like Guild, Gibson and Fender struggled to some extent too, but the imports were generally aimed at student guitarists rather than professionals.

Follow the links listed below for more information on each model.

Latest posts on Harmony guitars at the VintageGuitar forum
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Harmony Stratotone
0 replies
last message by jules

What Size Case For A Harmony H75?
0 replies
last message by Guybrush

0 replies
last message by jimmyde1943

jack frost harmony bass 1950's
0 replies
last message by johngregory67

Latest posts on Harmony basses at the VintageGuitar forum
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Harmony H22 or H22/1
0 replies
last message by mrbass

Harmony Electric Guitars

Solid bodied guitars
Harmony Stratotone Newport H42
Harmony Stratotone H44
Harmony Silhouette / Bob Kat
  Silhouette / Bob Kat advertising

Thin-line electric acoustic guitars
Harmony Stratotone Mars H45, H46
Harmony Stratotone Mercury, H47
Harmony Stratotone Jupiter, H49
Harmony Rocket H53, H54, H56, H59
Harmony Vibrajet H66
Harmony H70 Meteor
Harmony H72 Double Cutaway
Harmony H73 Roy Smeck
Harmony H74 Neo-Cutaway
Harmony H75
Harmony H76
Harmony H77
Harmony H78

Twelve Strings
Harmony H79

Electric acoustic guitars
Harmony H39, H41

Bass guitars
Harmony H22
Harmony H25
Harmony H27

Acoustic guitars
Harmony 1260

Harmony H304
Harmony H305
Harmony H306
Harmony H400
Harmony H410
Harmony H420
Harmony H430
Harmony H440

Harmony Resources

Harmony Catalogues
Harmony Catalogues

Harmony Advertising
Harmony Advertising


# # #
There are 4 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
james w. smit Comment left 7th March 2014 13:01:13
looking for price and availability for a 1966 harmony H72v(that's the one w/the bigsby vibrato)
bobby phillips jr Comment left 6th December 2014 19:07:16
My great grandfather's vibratone H1113 acoustic guitar I cant find info about anywhere - I have figured out it's made by Harmony but still no model H1113 my serial number is 654H1113.would like to know all about it. Thanks bobby.
Carol Carter Comment left 9th March 2015 10:10:32
I have a 1954 Harmony Electro Banjo that I am interested in selling. Evidently it is rare as I have found little information. I have found that it is model #H281. It is copper/bronze and in very good condition. If you can give me any other info including value estimate and best place to sell I would be grateful.
Jace Comment left 22nd June 2015 22:10:38
What about the later Harmony branded guitars (EG H-802, which I believe was made by Teisco)?

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