1960s Harmony H162 000-Size Flattop Guitar

Ah, the venerable H162. I've worked on too many of these! It was a popular model in its day because they can be found all over the place -- and usually in a pretty brutal state, too. This one came in relatively clean but it had the ickily-warped neck that so many of this model have. I used to buy these all the time for fix-and-sell, but because so many of them need a fretboard plane/level and refret to deal with the warp, I stopped hunting them out even though I like them just fine once they're "made true."

Post-work, this thing feels like a boutique version of its usual self and has a woody, balanced, clean sound to it. Fingerpickers will like these guitars a lot and I find they're fun for chugging-out chords with a floppier/thinner pick or cranking-out flatpicked lines in open tunings. The neck has a somewhat-more-modern feel compared to the usual H162's fatter neck profile, so it plays quick and fast.

Work included: a neck reset, replacement bridge, fretboard level/plane job to get the neck straight, a refret with standard medium stock (roughly the same as modern Martin wire), side dots install, cleaning, a new bone saddle, and a setup with 52w-11 gauges. It plays beautifully with bang-on 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret and the neck is straight. The last note on this is that someone had oversprayed just the top with a very thin coat of finish. I removed it almost entirely, however, just using masking tape to pull it up -- so now the original, more-satin finish appears on the top except where the overspray sunk into pickwear near the soundhole.

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: 19"
Lower bout width: 15 1/4"
Waist width: 9 5/8"
Upper bout width: 11 3/4"
Side depth at endpin: 3 3/4"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: solid mahogany
Neck wood: poplar
Bracing type: ladder
Fretboard: Brazilian rosewood, synthetic nut
Bridge: rosewood, bone saddle
Neck feel: medium C-shape, ~10" board radius

Condition notes: replacement bridge and saddle, replacement ebony pins, new frets, but otherwise original. There are no cracks and while there's playwear throughout and minor scratches, the look is overall very nice.

While the spruce top looks nice, the eye candy is clearly in the mahogany back and sides.

The tuners work just fine but aren't as good as modern stuff -- they're the old 12:1 ratio.

I forgot about the strap button I added.


Nick R said…
My luthier has just finished resetting the neck and bridge on mine. He said the bridge was glued with the top sprayed- making the glue somewhat less likely to adhere. I reckon mine was under a bed for 55 years- it has a bone nut and saddle making it a bit earlier than most. It has a few dings and no play wear and like this one, is a very attractive looking box. Mine is a rare Truetone branded example- that makes it worth so much more... in your dreams! It does have a nice tone- now it will be playable above fret three!