The Harmony solid body series was launched in 1963, initially named the Silhouette, and produced in very large numbers at the Harmony factories in Chicago, USA. At first there were four models, ranging from the very simple H14, to the relatively highly-appointed H19. A number of very similar models were produced under different brands including Silvertone and Holiday.
The H14 and H15 were clearly entry-level, student models, with simple components and an ebonized maple fingerboard. All Harmony electric guitars were fitted with De Armond 'Golden-Tone' pickups, either the S-grille 'gold foil' soapbar without adjustable polepieces (H14, H15, H17) or the four-scroll 'moustache' soapbar with adjustable polepieces (H16, H19). The H19, although still retaining the same body style as the other Silhouettes, was actually larger, and fitted with the same Hagstrom bridge and vibrato as fitted to most Hagstrom and Guild guitars of the time. It also had a rosewood fingerboard with block position marker inlays. The differences between the models is summarised in the table below.
H14, H15, H17 and H19 Silhouette guitars from the 1963 Harmony catalogue
The table below summarises the features of each Silhouette / Bob Kat model. Other tailpiece options were available for all solid bodies, including vibratos by Harmony, Hagstrom and Bigsby, naturally at extra cost.
|H14||One De Armond Golden-Tone (S-grille soapbar)||Fixed tailpiece, floating rosewood bridge||Shaded Walnut||1963-1972||Clipped headstock style|
|H15||Two De Armond Golden-Tone (S-grille soapbar)||Fixed tailpiece, floating rosewood bridge||Shaded Walnut||1963-1972||Clipped headstock style|
|H16||Two De Armond Golden-Tone (four-scroll soapbar)||Type W Vibrato, floating rosewood bridge||H16R - Candy Apple Red; H16B - Metallic Blue; H16W - Gleaming White||1967-1972||Initially launched as the Color Kat. Rounded headstock style|
|H17||Two De Armond Golden-Tone (S-grille soapbar)||Type G (1963), Type W (1964-) Vibrato, floating rosewood bridge||Cherry Red Shaded||1963-1967||Rounded headstock style|
|H19||Two De Armond Golden-Tone (four-scroll soapbar)||Hagstrom Type H Vibrato, fixed Hagstrom adjustable metal bridge||Cherry Red Shaded||1963-68||Larger body than the other guitars in this series, block neck markers, tortoise-shell scratchplate, rounded headstock style|
A bass version of the Silhouette was launched in 1966, the Harmony H25.
In 1967 the series underwent a number of changes, most obviously being renamed the Harmony Bob Kat; the H17 and H19 models were phased out at this time (although the H19 was included in at least one catalogue as late as 1970), being replaced by a new model the H16 Color Kat. This guitar sported a solid finish (either Candy Apple Red, Metallic Blue or Gleaming White).
H14, H15 and H16 Bob Kat guitars from the 1968 Harmony catalogue
The Silhouette / Bob Kat was widely promoted in the mid-1960s, featuring in numerous magazine adverts, a number of which are reproduced below.
Electric guitar advertisements originally published from 1965 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Harmony advertisements
Harmony H19 Silhouette - Harmony guitars (1965)
Mid sixties Harmony advert, showing a solid-body (H19), an acoustic (1260), and an electric semi-acoustic (H75)
Harmony H19 Silhouette - Harmony Amplifiers - Harmony Electric Guitars (1965)
Mid sixties Harmony advertisement for five amplifiers and two guitars; the solidbody H19 and thinline hollowbody H76.
Harmony H19 Silhouette - Here are Harmony's Big 3 (1966)
Mid sixties advertisement for three of Harmonys best selling instruments: the H19 solid body, H76 thinline hollow-body and the 1260 flat top acoustic. These three instruments appeared in numerous H...
Harmony H19 Silhouette - Now Hear This (1966)
The three instruments appearing in this mid-60s advert are the H19 solid body, H76 thinline hollow-body and the 1260 flat top acoustic. These were Harmony's big-3 instruments and were promoted widely.
Harmony H19 Silhouette - Want To Take A Harmony Guitar Apart (1967)
Mid sixties advert highlighting some of the features of a Harmony guitar: the slim necks, truss rod, hollow body construction and De Armond pickups. The fact that Harmony was an American company (f...
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