Dating harmony guitars

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Harmony was one of the most successful guitar makers in the USA, manufacturing most all of their guitars in Chicago during the peak years in the mid s. They made many types of stringed instruments, including ukuleles, acoustic and electric guitars, and violins. Founded in by Wilhelm Schultz a German immigrant from Hamburg. In their day, they made more guitars than all the other guitar makers combined. They made different models, for each style of guitar popular during their history. Wilhelm Schultz, founder of Harmony on left with factory worker and manager.

Wilhelm J. Schultz, a mechanic, came to Chicago and got work at the Knapp Drum Company. Very little information is known about the earliest Harmony-made guitars. Probably not too many survived, but likely they were small acoustics that used with gut strings, and glued-on bridges. Very likely they would also have had three dots at the fifth, seventh, and 10th frets. Basically, markers at the 10th fret, versus the ninth found on a few guitars and banjos before the swas a strategy employed by guitar makers who intended to sell their instruments into the immensely popular mandolin orchestras at the time.

Mandolins had position markers at the 10th fret. The guitar of the s was either used primarily for vocal accompaniment or as a continuo instrument in mandolin and banjo orchestras of the time. Harmony and its early main competitor, Oscar Schmidt, of New Jersey, continued to favor use of the 10th fret long after most other major manufacturers settled on the ninth fret some, like the Larson Brothers, also continued to use 10th-fret markers. By there were some 40 employees working at Harmony as Chicago was a hotbed of industrial manufacturing offering opportunity to European immigrants pouring into the country.

Chicago was at the transportation crossro of the nation as transcontinental railroad lines and sitting on the Great Lakes, and just over or so miles from the mighty Mississippi River. Due to location, Chicago became the supplier of goods for the Heartland of America. Chicago was the home of the mail-order merchandise business, which played a major role in the dissemination of the guitars across America and the rise of the guitar makers there. They abandoned the sale of imported guitars because they could not withstand the climatic changes they were subject to in the New World.

Likely, these guitars were from German makers.

Dating harmony guitars

When Sears, Roebuck and Company entered into the picture, they were selling the exact same guitars in their catalog. Since Sears was formally a watch and jewelry company these were the first guitars they marketed for sale. BySears was doing business with the fledgling Harmony company offering new guitar models. These were mostly small bodied parlor guitars which were popular at the time. The Euterpe had an fret ebonized fingerboard, and our telltale three dots at five, seven and The pin bridge had little elevated squares on the wings, typical of some Harmony bridges.

This cost? The No. The top was unbound.

Dating harmony guitars

The bridge was the same as on the Euterpe. The Euterpe and Troubadours were offered until Harmony guitars on the lower end, Schmidt guitars had the upper end. This arrangement was offered for decades. InSears adapted the name Supertone for its musical instruments also using this name for record players and records they sold.

And this was used on an almost identical series of guitars! By Harmony was the first large scale ukulele builder. Sears, Roebuck and Co. At the time Harmony was led by Joe Kraus, who was chairman until InHarmony introduced the first of many Roy Smeck models, and went on to become the largest producer in the U. They soldpieces in andinincluding various models of guitars, banjos, and mandolins. In the late s, Harmony began making violins again after a 19 year hiatus. They also bought brand names from the bankrupt Oscar Schmidt Co. These instruments were still mostly sold through big mail order catalogs like Sears Roebuck Silvertone or Montgomery Ward Airline making them easily accessible to everyone.

These were the days way before the Internet, eBay and Reverb. Plus before Asian imports were available. Many towns in America did not have a music store nearby. Harmony supplied many of the big mail order catalogs through the years which were the same Harmony-made instruments except for the label in most all cases. It is not unusual to see the same vintage Harmony guitar model with different branding. However they have their own unique tone and vintage vibe. Harmony was, especially in the early days, capable of turning out guitars with pretty good workmanship.

Harmony built guitars were many times a players first instrument. However, there are more than nostalgic reasons to be interested in Harmony guitars. Inafter Kraus had a conflict with management, he left, but then bought enough stock to restart the company independently. Early s Harmony Rocket with bolt on neck. Between andthe Chicago firm mass-produced about ten million guitars. The company reduced their output over the years, later focusing on student models sold through JCPenney. Note that some of the guitars sold in the Sears and Wards catalog where also manufactured by Valco and Kay companies.

Valco manufactured Spanish acoustic guitars, metal-bodied resonator guitars, electric lap steel guitars, and vacuum tube amplifiers under a variety of brand names including Supro, Airline, Oahu, and National.

Dating harmony guitars

They also made amplifiers under contract for several other companies such as Gretsch, Harmony, and Kay. In the s they began producing solid body electric guitars. Kay offered their first electric guitar in —five years after the Rickenbacker Frying pan, and the same year as the Gibson ES Valco merged with Kay Musical Instrument Company inhowever the merged company quickly went out of business in because of financial difficulties.

Harmony guitars, although they were mainly marketed to beginners, also built some guitars to attract professional players. Note that all Harmony guitars these were mass produced. Inexpensive rock and roll machines.

Dating harmony guitars

Harmony produced so many different models under various brand names. Harmony Broadway and Harmony Sovereign Patrician.

Dating harmony guitars

The lower end models were usually made of birch and have the binding painted on. Instead of inlaid fret markers, the markers were merely painted in the appropriate places. The tailpieces on some of the lower end models were made of pressed metal. Some have the tailpieces or pick guards screwed into the wood. The necks on many of the Harmony guitars did not have adjustable truss rods. Old DeArmond single-coil pickups gracing the solids and Rocket thin lines which can sound great into a cranked up amp.

The pickups on almost all Harmony electric guitars and basses were manufactured by Rowe Industries Inc. Many of the instrument amplifiers badged with the Harmony name were manufactured by Sound Projects Company of Cicero, Illinois. The Harmony solid body electrics in the late s and early s were mainly aimed at the beginner market with names such as Stratotone and BobKat models. The better instruments were the thin line hollow body electric guitars such as the Harmony Rocket or H Some models even had up to three DeArmond pickups each with individual volume and tone controls.

Harmony guitars generally did not have the quality of Gretsch and Gibson.

Dating harmony guitars

For the money these were quite nice instrument and have their own unique sound due to the way they were build and the pickups they used. Have to love the tone of a gold-foil pickup. Interesting fact is that when Fender was trying to break into the acoustic guitar market, the first guitar line they offered in their catalog was actually made by Harmony with the Fender brand on the head stock.

The late s and early s were not good times for U. None of the American guitar makers were doing well in this period and it soon spelled the end for USA Harmony guitars. Inthe Harmony Guitar Co. The auction was huge since it was two city blocks under one roof. Must have been some event! Penny stores. The Harmony trademark and all intellectual property was acquired in by Westheimer corpoaration in Northbrook, IL. In they debuted the New Harmony Vintage Reissue series. Early Harmony Factory. Supertone Mandolin. Old Harmony Uke. Stella ad made by Harmony. Harmony Stratotone H Harmony Stratotone guitars.

Harmony H49 Jupiter Stratotone. Harmony Sovereign Acoustic. Vintage Harmony Guitars Catalog. Harmony Guitars Ad. Loading Comments Name Website.

Dating harmony guitars

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