7/08/2018

1960s Harptone E-6N Dreadnought Guitar




The last Harptone product I worked on was a "Supreme" dreadnought that was vaguely shaped like a Gibson Hummingbird (or similar) from the mid-'60s. This one is a lot more D-18 in flavor and looks, though an arched back and short scale give it a peculiar punch and clunky woodiness that flits between an early '60s Gibson and '70s Guild sound.

I did some work for a customer on this and that included a fret level/dress, bridge shave to remove the old saddle slot, new saddle slot, a new compensated bone saddle, and a good setup. It's startling how far the bridge's original saddle slot was off too-far-forward from true -- which means that this was just miserable to play (as it was way too sharp) before getting fixed-up.

Post-surgery the bridge is more traditional looking (and, for that matter, better-finished), the frets are level and don't have a "sag spot" around the 12th fret, and the guitar plays on-the-dot with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action strung-up with 54w-12 strings. The neck actually has Guild-style double truss rods and it's a bit neat to be able to set relief for either side individually. It also means it's tough as heck.

Specs are: 24 5/8" scale, 1 11/16" nut width, 1 1/2" string spacing at the nut, 2 1/16" spacing at the bridge, 15 5/8" lower bout, 11 3/8" upper bout, and 4 7/8" side depth at the endblock. The neck has a mild-to-medium D shape to the rear and something like a 16" radius to the board. It's pretty flat.

Woods are: x-braced, solid spruce top, mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard and bridge, mahogany sides, and ply, press-arched mahogany back. The new saddle is bone while the nut is plastic -- though that has no tonal significance as this has a zero fret (something I admire).

Tonally, this guitar sounds a bit midsy in the "pilot's seat." From out in front, it's punchy and a lot fuller. It's more D-18-ish from the audience's perspective.


It's a pretty clean guitar, though there is plenty of use-wear evidence in little nicks, scratches, and scuffs. It doesn't have any cracks, though.


The headstock's a bit intense...





Like Gibson bridges, this has hidden bolts under the pearl dots. The dots on this were originally plastic, but when I did the bridge work I replaced them with pearl.


The bridge was originally even thicker top to bottom than a Martin-style one. Now I've sanded it down (and buffed it up shiny) to roughly the height of a normal Martin bridge so that there'd be more saddle clearance and room for action adjustment over time. I also added string ramps and now it has good break on the saddle, too.





It looks like there's a heel crack but it doesn't move and I can't flex it open, so maybe it's just a stress-line in the finish? Curious.





Someday, these serial numbers may mean something.

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