1940s Harmony H1327 Monterey Archtop Guitar

I've worked on this model Harmony Monterey several times in the past. They all date from the very late '30s through the early '40s. This one was definitely wartime (though there's no date stamp) because under the tailpiece's "butt" plate are two small filled holes that would've held screws for the rosewood (rather than metal) tailpiece used on wartime models. Someone retrofitted this guy with a more-normal 1930s-style tailpiece later-on, apparently -- a good upgrade!

A consignor sent this in and it arrived in decent order but needing the usual work. Now that it's done, I'm quite impressed by the velvety/lushly-mids-centric voice this guitar has. It has a lot more lower-mids warmth and sophistication than I usually expect out of these '40s-era pressed-top Harmony archtops. Usually I expect upper-mids and treble bite with a little whump of lower-mids but this thing hangs in there with lower-line carved-top Gibsons just fine for 3-note chord-jumping and the like. It's not as perfectly-gelled, but it sure sounds good to my ears. It's easy on the eyes, too.

Work included: a neck reset, fret level/dress, new rosewood adjustable bridge install, cleaning, top center-seam cleating and repair (it'd sprung open in the middle), mild fill of a couple previously-repaired small hairline cracks on the back, and setup. Aside from the new bridge, I also replaced a set of shoddy replacement tuners -- the "new" ones are 1960s Kluson open-back units that look the same as what would've been on it in the first place... 1940s open-back Kluson units. The neck is straight and action is bang-on at 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret. I have it strung with 52w-11 gauges because I like to be gentle on the old Harmony necks. It doesn't need more for oomph, anyhow.

Scale length: 25 1/8"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/8"
Body length: 20"
Lower bout width: 16 1/8"
Waist width: 9 1/4"
Upper bout width: 11 1/4"
Side depth at endpin: 3 3/8" +top/back arch depth
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: solid birch w/faux flame finish
Neck wood: poplar
Bracing type: tonebar (2)
Fretboard: Brazilian rosewood, original bone nut
Bridge: rosewood adjustable
Neck feel: medium C-shape, ~10-12" board radius

Condition notes: average-to-heavy use-wear, scratches, tiny little paint specks, pickwear, and finish check/nicking throughout. There are two smaller repaired hairline cracks on the back, one smaller repaired hairline on the top, and the top center seam is repaired (flush) with cleats along the middle of the body. Tailpiece, bridge, and tuners are replacements, but the guitar is otherwise original. There's a "bite" out of the original pickguard, too, for what looks like perhaps a pickup install at some point.

The "music note" stencil on the headstock is very faded.

The new replacement bridge is a lot better than the original Harmony units, which adjusted backwards from normal (the shaft of the adjuster pushing up into the saddle-topper) and thus usually wound-up split, worn-out, and/or broken over time.