Starting in 1923, models included: the Silver Bell, the Super Banjo and the Blue Bell. Some J-45 models with non-bookmatched two piece Adirondack spruce tops and some examples with four piece tops. There can easily be more numbers within each year listed. This will give you an idea of what the market is willing to pay. The fingerboard of the L-5S is in with select abalone. They did provide paper labels for the instrument that they represented but did not provide labels for custom instruments or other shops or manufacturers. The Advanced Jumbo has been described by some as the finest — no compromises — most powerful flat-top guitar Gibson ever designed and built.
If the fretboard was bound, they generally added a stripe of black under the side binding. The Stella brand consists of low and mid-level stringed instruments. Bridge Height and Neck Angle The early models had shallow neck sets and low bridges that increased in angle around 1908 with taller bridges. Randall studied English, business and information studies at The Grange School. There are a few examples of A-2Zs with black tops, though this was probably used to cover some imperfection in the selected tops.
During its heyday, Harmony accounted for more than half of all guitars built in America each year. As a consequence, the details were grand in scale and the bindings high in contrast to look good in black and white on the silver screen. He was already supplying with the better quality guitars they sold through their catalog. In 1947 the name changed to the J-200 and the standard back and sides became highly figured maple. In their day, they made more guitars than all the other guitar makers combined.
This is the smallest model, chrome tuners. I knew nothing about set-ups, lowering strings or anything. The back braces were tall and thin and Gibson scalloped the top braces. This moved the X away from the soundhole a bit. The back and sides were Brazilian rosewood and the tops Adirondack red spruce. Everything I've owned a few dozen was marked S or F.
Since Spruce was needed for the war-time effort, some J-45s in 1943 have a mahogany top. Considering that Gibson was using a double X bracing for most of its other flat top guitars during that period, these instruments, with their modified fan bracing, stand out as some of the better sounding Gibsons of the time. In the early years, due to the depression and the following wartime austerity, demand for this expensive instrument was limited and production quantities were small. Harmony guitars generally did not have the quality of Gretsch and Gibson. Although they continued making auto harps, after struggling through the Great Depression, the Oscar Schmidt Company finally had to sell off their fretted instruments division in the late 30s. I've found mine, but it's in bad shape.
The neck heal had a white plastic cap. If the serial number is legible the instrument can be relatively easy to date. The L-5S was the first high end jazz solid body guitar. Some examples had the black skunk strip down the middle of the top similar to the Southerner Jumbos. Likely, these guitars were from German makers.
The very early guitars had not truss rod for , so if the neck warped, the guitar was finished. Most loved the big, big sound it got when they played slide guitar. When similar models were on the assembly line waiting to be routed, they looked identical and could receive an incorrect stamp. Necks Some early necks were cherry before 1912. They were the J-45 and the Southerner Jumbo. Interesting truth is that when Fender was trying to burglarize the acoustic guitar market, the very first guitar line they used in their catalog was actually made by Harmony with the Fender brand name on the head stock. It looks like the two codes in mine are: Under bass f-hole: 3557H417 Between bottom of treble f-hole and tailblock:? It appears that many mandolin owners of earlier models chose to upgrade their bridges to the fancy new adjustable models after 1921.
There has also been a conventional wisdom that Harmony did not put serial numbers on their mandolins. I've seen pics of some of your instruments. In their day, '20s-'40s, they were made very nicely, and some of the '60s Harmony's were made pretty decent, but do not have the dollar value attached. The instrument offerings and suppliers remained the exact same, this was Sears' very first huge brand. Then Gibson developed the adjustable bridge.