We see a lot of Harmony archtops—tens of thousands of them were sold in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s—but only a handful stand out as being anything special. This all-birch beauty is one of their more Spartan models, yet it’s lightweight, features a great sunburst, and has deluxe “painted-on” binding. It has three other things going for it:
1. It sounds outrageously good. It’s loud, well-balanced, and articulate--kind of the antithesis of cheap, dull, and muddy archtop tone.
2. It has a great neck angle and a solid neck joint. At least two-thirds of the Harmony archtops we see need neck resets, which is too bad: the cost of a neck reset is usually more than the instrument is worth. No worries with this one; it’s ready to play.
3. It has a comfortable, playable neck instead of one that feels like a 2x4 laid sideways.
We recently compared this guitar to a pair of Harmony Patricians from the 1940s--beautifully built, top-of-the-line Harmony archtops featuring select tonewoods and handcarved spruce tops. Guess which guitar sounded better. Yup, this humble little all-birch model. Emboldened by that first experiment, we pulled out a 1951 Gibson L-48 that we currently have in stock. While this little Harmony can’t match the Gibson’s smoky refinement, it makes up for it with volume and clarity—it’s almost like there’s a bit of flattop to its tone. Truth be told, the Harmony and the L-48 complement each other marvelously, and would be a great pair of guitars for a musical duo.
We don’t know why someone chose to use brick-red paint to touch up a few dings and what appears to be some water damage to the finish at the bottom of the guitar (check photos), but we’ve elected to leave this little guy as is. When something is so right, you don’t want to mess with it. Ships in a recent gigbag. Sold!