scored a Harmony Guitar at a garage sale! [Archive] - Sax on the Web Forum

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08-29-2005, 02:59 PM
Our street had an 'end of summer' garage sale over the weekend, and one of my neighbors had a Harmony guitar that he brought out. When I asked about it, he said his daughter took guitar and sax lessons, but was now going off to college and not doing music - (the sax was a YAS23 by the way, and not for sale).

Anyway, I asked him how much he wanted for the guitar, he looked at it and said, "it's not in that great a shape, so... maybe 10 or 15 dollars...." The strings seemed real brittle, and one of them broke when he barley touched the tunning peg. There is also a fairly big crack on the side panel near the neck. I don't know guitar terminology, so this may not sound right. I'll try to take pictures of it to post.

Then the guy saw that I was selling a lot of my bachelor furniture and stuff that his kids could use going off to college. So I ended up trading him an iron, ironing board, and a little microwave for the guitar. :D Not too bad a deal, huh?

I tried searching for information about it but man, the internet if waayyy more full of useless guitar info than sax info. I did find out that it is a real 'made in USA' Harmony, and not an Asian import. I think the serial number indicates it was made in 1993. The Body is the Arched(?) type, not flat like normal acoustic guitars. And it has "F" tone holes like a cello, not one round hole under the strings. It has the classic sunburst style finish, but it the color is more of a greenish brown fading into black, and there is sort of a horizontal texture to the in the green parts, especially on the back of the body (like ribs or armadillo or something) - again, I'll try and get pictures out for you guys.

Can anybody tell me if this is a 'good' guitar, beginner, intermediate, pro? Also, anybody in Colorado know of a good place for me to take it to have it all tuned up and fixed? The purple-haired kid at Guitar Center in the mall was pretty much no help.....

08-29-2005, 05:28 PM
I scored a Harmony archtop off eBay last year (it's been waiting around for a new tuner for me to start my brilliant guitar career).

I don't think any archtops have been made with the name Harmony in 40+ years. But IANA guitar geek, so I could be wrong.

I do know that Harmonys were popularly priced guitars, and that folk music killed the archtop market deader than a doorknob. You can't gently stroke an archtop while singing "I Gave My Love A Cherry"; you gotta clamp down. Hard.

Been here ( yet?

08-29-2005, 06:12 PM
(it's been waiting around for a new tuner for me to start my brilliant guitar career).:lol:Have you mastered the basics yet? Like the windmill, or playing a power chord while you do this :headbang:

Tell us truthfully Paul, do you own a pair of hot pink spandex?

Serioulsly though, I think playing the guitar is a helluva good time. My college roommate, who plays trumpet, used to have a Fender Telecaster. We would mess around all day playing it with Abersolds. It was a real fun thing to have around that made it easy to study chord and scale theory. I found it was real easy to memorize melodies on guitar, and it changed the way I pictured song structures in my head. I truly believe playing the guitar broadened by thoery knowledge, and helped me advance with improvising on my sax.

I just don't want to kill the great value I got on it (basically free) by spending too much money on a tune up for it.

08-29-2005, 06:51 PM
Have you mastered the basics yet? Like the windmill, or playing a power chord while you do this :headbang:No, but I can play A minor (or is it major? I forget - haven't tried in 6 months).

Tell us truthfully Paul, do you own a pair of hot pink spandex?Hot pink spandex? With an archtop?! No, but I do have a panama hat with a salty band and a hole in the crown. A much more appropriate archtop accessory.

08-29-2005, 08:25 PM
Hot pink spandex? With an archtop?! No, but I do have a panama hat with a salty band and a hole in the crown. A much more appropriate archtop accessory.

yeah, you're right about that. It's not like it's a ZZ Top lookin' kind of guitar. I like the classic look of the one I got. I'm just gonna use it to noodle around for fun anyway, or maybe play it at times when I can't practice my sax because of the noise.

I don't know very many chords. I only know the minor and major 7 bar chords. I play left-handed-backwards-upsidedown, and I never learned anything beyond just playing jazz standards Abersolds. I think it makes a good song memorization tool.

Anyway, I was hoping somebody would be able to point me to a good guitar tech in Colorado, so I might post a separate question about that in the "dealer/tech directory"

08-30-2005, 01:03 AM
I have found that tuning a guitar is a great exercise for learning pitch and can help you determine if you are flat or sharp when playing a reed instrument. I love playing the guitar, I know three songs. :D

It is so relaxing. I have some really nice guitars hanging around the house using 'off the wall' hangers that are sweeet. It is a very common experience for a guest to pull one down and start playing.

Here's another tip, my brother the guitar player, turned me on to Elixar Guitar Strings which have a mylar coating to preserve the strings. They last longer, sound great, and are nicer to the touch. The first ones are free... 8-)

[Translation, 'the first ones are free' are indicative of the addictive nature of these strings.]

Carl H.
08-30-2005, 03:27 AM
Hey Gandalfe, I ran a search and read up on the strings, but can't find any info on getting the strings for free. How did you manage that?

08-30-2005, 04:11 PM
Thanks Gandalfe,
I know virtually nothing about guitar strings, but I have played acoustic guitars that had some kind of plastic strings that felt fery loose and light under my fingers. I guess I assumed they were meant for beginners, since they seemed to be on beginner-level guitars (but what do I know :dontknow: )

I was also going to ask around about getting nylon strings, or strings that are meant to be plucked with the fingers, if there is such a thing (man, am I showing my ignorance or what :? )

08-30-2005, 05:50 PM
The cracked part is called a rib.
The wavy picture in the back could be curly maple and if you have a straight grained top with even spacing between lines it could be a spruce top. Having both of these would indicate it was done with reasonably good materials and might justify spending more on a repair (up to you).
As with saxophone, set-up can make a world of difference, and the set-up is dependent on string tension among other things so you should settle on those before you ask the luthier to fix it and set it.
Most archtops use steel strings and would not be loud enough with nylon, although there are composites as Gandalfe pointed out (some people like Labella Black Nylon Tape Wound, I've never tried them). I like flatwound strings and you might benefit from them not being too tough on your fingertips untill you have some callus built up; I really like Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Swing JS112 but they are expensive, D'Addario chromes ECG25 would also be nice. All these can be plucked with fingers or picks without much pain.

08-30-2005, 07:09 PM
Thanks curious, I'll be sure to ask about those various srings.

A good local store I go to for sax stuff refered me to a guitar place in my town. I checked their website, and they have FREE group lessons on Saturdays. So guess where I'll be for the next several weekends :D