Old guitar captures my attention

For guitars of the straight waisted variety (or reverse offset).
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musicmatty
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Old guitar captures my attention

Post by musicmatty » Sat May 18, 2019 6:05 pm

I wanted to share some new found appreciation for a 50-year-old guitar that I acquired 15 years ago. I certainly welcome any remarks good or bad in this posting. My main weapons of choice are the Telecaster and Jazzmaster. 15 years ago, I acquired a (May1969 Harmony H75 ) with the famed DeArmond gold foil pickups. I gave very little attention to this guitar as it has a vastly different neck feel and scale length from the jazzmaster and telecaster. Two of the three pickups were clearly not properly aligned on the body of the guitar and the wooden bridge was not pinned to the body and always subject to being moved around when played hard or restringing if you were not careful.

I refer to myself as a guitar mechanic as I started to learn how to fix/ repair and modify electric guitars about 12 years ago. I finally gave this guitar some love last week and sat down with it. I realigned both the neck and middle pickups and pinned the bridge to the body. I have to admit, I’m impressed that the intonation is true up and down the entire neck with perfect tuning. It’s been my experience that even very high-end guitars sometimes can be problematic with the intonation up and down the neck unless you find the absolute sweet spot with Setting a guitar up.

My research has revealed that the metal saddles on top of the Brazilian Rosewood bridge are aftermarket. Although this metal bridge looks very old, it’s very functionable. I love not only that the intonation adjust on the saddles but also you can move the string spacing around and get the strings perfectly aligned on the neck and over the pickup pole pieces....This is much like the newer Schaller roller bridge which I highly favorer!

My taste for the sounds coming from these gold foil pickups is purely subjective of course… But they are something else! These three pick ups can be played in any configuration and therefore, they do the Strat sound to absolute perfection. It does both the bridge and middle pickup together and middle and neck pickup together of a Strat exceptionally. The bridge and neck together are very Bell like and reminiscent of a telecaster.

Although these are single coil pickups, it’s definitely not a plug and play into my amps that are already set up for a telecaster or jazzmaster. I have to go in and change the amp settings or this guitar will be too warm on the settings for the jazzmaster and telecaster.

I now consider this guitar gig worthy with the latest love that I have given it. It certainly can cover a lot of ground with these pickups...clean or dirty. The wiring and pots are all original and have no scratching noise to them whatsoever!

Cheers~Musicmatty

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Ceylon
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Re: Old guitar captures my attention

Post by Ceylon » Sun May 19, 2019 1:19 am

musicmatty wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 6:05 pm
My research has revealed that the metal saddles on top of the Brazilian Rosewood bridge are aftermarket. Although this metal bridge looks very old, it’s very functionable. I love not only that the intonation adjust on the saddles but also you can move the string spacing around and get the strings perfectly aligned on the neck and over the pickup pole pieces....This is much like the newer Schaller roller bridge which I highly favorer!
I'm pretty sure this is a Hagstrom bridge, or at least I've never seen those bridges used on any other guitars. Could be that they were sold to and used on other brands in much the same way as the Hagstrom vibrato units were. It's not impossible that some Harmonys would have come stock with these, for a brief period or whatever, but not very plausible I think. At least I never saw one.

It's a really sweet guitar, by the way!
Science Friction burns my fingers
Electricity still lingers

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musicmatty
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Re: Old guitar captures my attention

Post by musicmatty » Sun May 19, 2019 4:21 am

I'm pretty sure this is a Hagstrom bridge, or at least I've never seen those bridges used on any other guitars. Could be that they were sold to and used on other brands in much the same way as the Hagstrom vibrato units were. It's not impossible that some Harmonys would have come stock with these, for a brief period or whatever, but not very plausible I think. At least I never saw one.****

Thanks for that useful information because I had no idea what kind of bridge it was.

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Re: Old guitar captures my attention

Post by jthomas » Sun May 19, 2019 11:07 am

You might check over at the HarmonyGuysBoard if you have questions.

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Re: Old guitar captures my attention

Post by mgeek » Sun May 19, 2019 1:51 pm

loads of my guitars don't have the strings aligned with the pole pieces. Does it actually make any difference? Also, just my take, but I don't see the problem with a floating bridge. It's how stringed instruments have been designed for hundreds of years, and it's not like they ever go flying off of their own accord. All it takes is a couple of light marks to show where it's supposed to go when you change strings. Personally I'd rather not make holes in the top of a fifty year old semi

Btw wouldn't be at all surprised if Harmony used some Hagstrom bridges on these. They bought in Hagstrom trems to use on some of their solids, and I think those came with this type of bridge too, so it's an item they'll have had in stock.

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