1950s Harmony H950 Electric Archtop Guitar

I fixed this guitar up back in January for its owner, with work including a neck reset, fret level/dress, side dots install, cleaning, and setup. Since then he's moved-around into various guitars (he's an avid buy-n-switcher) and he sent this back for resale. This time around, though, I did-it-up the way I thought it should've been done in the first place -- electrified with an in-body magnetic pickup at the neck and volume control near the treble f-hole.

Further work included: cutting a hole and making a custom plastic mounting ring for the '70s Strat/Mustang-style pickup, making a wiring harness with a 500K volume pot, ground from the tailpiece, braided-wire/shielded cable, and Switchcraft jack, and setting it up with a custom string set in nickel-wound gauged 46w, 36w, 26w, 18w, 13, 10. The bridge is compensated for a wound G and being an archtop acoustic to begin-with, it sounds fuller with the wound G. The neck is straight and it plays with bang-on, hair-over 1/16" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret.

Scale length: 25 1/8"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at saddle: 2 1/8"
Body length: 19 1/2"
Lower bout width: 15 7/8"
Upper bout width: 11 1/2"
Side depth at endpin: 3 3/8"+
Top wood: solid birch
Back/sides wood: solid birch
Neck wood: poplar
Fretboard: ebonized maple
Neck shape: 10" or 12 " radius with medium, C/V profile
Bridge: rosewood
Nut: original bone
Weight: 4 lb 1 oz

Condition notes: everything is original save the bridge, side dots, and an older strap button at the heel. The finish is chipped and flaked here and there throughout and shows plenty of weather-check. The "flame" is painted-on faux-flame in the finish. The original brass frets are low near the nut and near the body joint as I had to level/dress them pretty heavily before to get the tops of them level.

Gosh I love the headstock graphics on these...

The pickup is a '70s Japanese-made Strat-style pickup with flat poles. I suppose that makes it a bit more "Mustang-like," but really the tone of this instrument is "saucier Strat neck" because of the hollowbody build. It sort-of mimics some of the goodness of old early-'50s Dynasonic Gretsches if you're looking for that "clean, jazz-ish, blues-ish" sound.

I splurged on the volume knob -- using a bakelite chickenhead knob from the '50s and a '60s indicator plate from a Japanese guitar.


Nick R said…
It is one of these guitars that Muddy Waters is holding in the photo of him on the album cover art for Live At Newport. In fact, it was John Lee Hooker's guitar and its pick up was a DeArmond "monkey on a stick2 arrangement.
Jake Wildwood said…
I'm so glad I have you commenting on the blog. It's like having Nickipedia on tap for extra info. Love it!
Nick R said…
I hate to disappoint you, but it may have been the H1327 Monterey that Muddy Waters borrowed from JLH for that photo shoot. It has that bigger headstock shape- I dragged out the album to take a look and I think it is the Ritzier H1327 but they are both in the same groove in terms of electrified archtops. Here is film of JLH playing it at Newport and also a whole load of feet! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG_tbEkKIug