Gibson Melody Maker, Harmony H22 bass, Vox Ultrasonic
1969 Gibson Melody Maker guitarHarmony H22 bassVox Ultrasonic guitar, with built-in effects
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Harmony H22 Bass

Hollow body electric bass guitar


Other Harmony basses H22 | H25 | H27

Harmony H22 Bass Guitar Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriot from the Small Faces performing on Ready Steady Go; Check out the H22 with black pickguard
Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriot from the Small Faces performing on Ready Steady Go; Check out the H22 with black pickguard - picture taken from 'Small Faces - the Young Mods' Forgotten Story' by Paolo Hewitt

Harmony H22 bass, reverse view
Reverse body detail showing rounded burst pattern and 3-bolt neck join.

1965 Harmony catalogue
From the 1965 Harmony Catalogue Designed for the guitar or string bass player to "double" on a second instrument

The Harmony H22 bass is one of those instruments that made history. Despite being a budget model, it was a great guitar. Soundwise it was comparable to the Gibson EB2, or Epiphone rivoli, but available at a fraction of the cost. It was the first electric bass produced by Harmony, and probably their best known.

1960s budget guitars were, in some ways, very much better than the mass-produced budget offerings of today; although some hardware was of a lower standard, the body, neck and fingerboard woods were generally highly superioe. The H22 featured a laminated maple top, back, bolt-on maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, and is only really let down by its cheap looking plastic knobs, and too-small guitar style tuning pegs. The electronics feature a passive DeArmond pickup, volume and tone controls, and a 'bass enhancer' switch that really makes this instrument rumble. The Harmony company was based in Chicago illinois where the H22 was manufactured. The company was disbanded in 1975, having produced thousands of instruments for itself and other companies.

Played by a number of influential British bass players (amongst others): Ronnie Lane (Small Faces, Faces) - despite having an Epiphone Rivoli, and the more expensive Harmony H27 he'd often revert to the H22; and also Muff Winwood of the Spencer Davis Group.

The H22 images on this page come from a 1965 exampleHarmony H22 Bass - bass switch and volume and tone control knobs

Bass switch and volume and tone control knobs

Harmony H22 Bass - DeArmond pickup detail

The H22 was fitted with a single DeArmond pickup in the neck position. DeArmond pickups were made by Rowe, in Toledo, Ohio - this one is stamped February 22 1965 on the reverse side.

The reverse side of the pickup is marked February 22 1965

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Vintage Harmony H22 basses for sale

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There are 4 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
ezeric Comment left 29th July 2012 21:09:26
I've played the h22 and the h27 and the h22 is way the better bass. The tuners suck pretty bad, but the fat tone is simply amazing. Mine intonates pretty well too, better than you might think in fact.
midnight tokr Comment left 20th April 2013 22:10:28
Is the black guard used by Ronnie Lane stock or repro?
michael lindner Comment left 13th June 2015 09:09:44
i would imagine that black/white/black pickguard is a hand made copy of the original white pickguard. that's my thinking, but it's only my opinion. m)
Jazz-B-Jeff Comment left 6th April 2017 14:02:54
I have to agree with ezeric. I have a 1962 H-22, & a 1967 H-27. "Tonally", the H-22 is clearly superior. &, H-22 recording results will blow you away! However, the range, & raw power of the H-27 is significantly better! Both are KILLER, but gigging & recording..? I'd go with H-22 every time! (0}--# Rock-on guys! JBJ

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