- acoustic guitars
Dates of manufacture:
HARMONY H 162/1 FOLK (GRAND CONCERT SIZE) reviewed by Anonymous
Solid spruce top and solid mahogany sides and back of good quality. Tortise shell celluloid binding on body and neck. Tortise shell celluloid pick guard. Rosewood bridge with bone saddle. Rosewood fret board with medium size nickel fret wire. Check to make sure the frets are not flat on top as this means they need to be leveled and filed round again. The fret board should not be pitted or need to be releveled. Usually the necks will need to reconditioned with lemon oil. Five or six coats letting them dry fully between coats. The tuners are kluson open back and keep it in good tune, but Kluson Deluxe tuners of a vintage year are better, but not an exact fit so will add extra screw holes on back of the headstock. If you change the tuners keep the old ones so you can have them to include should you go to resale it. The model number is on the heel block inside the sound hole and goes like this: 6659H162 (or another four numbers before the H). These four numbers before the H are the numerical order your guitar was made in season it was made. Harmony used an S or F in the date stamp to indicate what six month period it was made in. (S-68 through S-71 or F-68-F-71 in the year it was made). S means it was made in the first half of the year and F means it was made in the last half. So S-69 means it was made in first six months of 1969 and an F would mean the last six months of 1969. Usually, the year date stamp is somewhere in sight of the sound hole, but not always. Before November of 1968 the H-162 did not have a Torque-Lok or adjustable truss rod. The date is not always inside or it has faded so bad you cannot find it. These guitars are absolutely the best sounding blues/folk instruments for your money. You can get a nice string slap with the right strings. I use Martin SP lights or ultra lights to conserve the tops integrity over the years. Never, buy one that has a string gap over 4mm or 5/32" at the 12th fret...3mm or approximately 1/8" is better. Don't get one that needs a neck reset unless you plan on doing it yourself. It costs more than the guitar will to get it reset. People complain that the truss rods are snapped and not working on these as they are welded two part rods. Ask and make sure they are fully working before you buy. Test it out if you can, but if you buy off the net ask as many questions as you can think to ask before you buy. The H165 is similar, but it is all solid mahogany front, sides and back. It has no binding or Torque-Lok except for 1969-71. It is a sweeter sounding guitar, but that is just my opinion. I like the spruce topped sound of the H-162 too! You can get a good deal from $90-$200 now for a like new one if you take your time and look at as many websites as you can or craigslist a good one. Look for lifting bridges, belly humps and valley's between the bridge and sound hole. This means you have structural problems (neck reset or bridge problems/loose or cracked braces). Cracked bodies need repair and can cost upwards of $50-150 depending on how many and how bad they are. Look at the heel and make sure it is not separated. The pegs should stay put without the string popping out when you restring it. Perfect fit pins should sit just above the bridge top and be just tight enough not to fall out when you turn it upside down without the strings on it. If you are not going to use these guitars for more than a month loosen the strings to keep them from damaging the top. If there do happen to be cracks and checking it means the guitar has been kept in a hot arid environment and that can cause loose braces, loose glue on joints (neck/heel/bridge) separation in the top, sides and bottoms, binding issues such as decaying or loose binding or the pick guard can be loose of have fallen off. Chipped edges of the nut might mean the E stings won't stay put and you will need a new nut a $35-50 charge for a prefab one and go for the bone nut. A hand made nut from scratch can cost upwards to $100. Saddles can be upgraded to graduated bone for not too much. Happy playing!!! These are every bit as good as a Sovereign guitar, just not quite as loud. Why pay more for a guitar that Jimmy page play a few notes on Stairway to Heaven on when you an get a H162 or H165 for 1/10th the cost?