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1953 Harmony H44 Stratotone Vintage Neck Through Electric Guitar Copper w/ Case


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Up for sale, a 1953 Harmony H44 Stratotone in excellent condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original chipboard case. One of the most collectable models produced by Harmony and also one of the most influential in the history of early Rock n' Roll, the H44 model was played by the likes of Richie Valens and Carl Perkins, who also owned a '53.

The single DeArmond "Hershey Bar" pickup delivers a tone that is very responsive to picking dynamics, offering a rich sound that has both low end heft and treble snap. The overarching sound has a clear note attack and sweet, percussive character, and this is also one of the only neck through body designs ever produced by Harmony, with good sustain and an overall resonance that truly benefits from this construction. The guitar is featherweight at 5lbs 9oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings and easy-playing action.

TThe neck has a very full U-shaped profile carve, measuring .925" deep at the 1st fret and 1.160" at the 9th. On the bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard, the original brass fretwire is practically perfect, showing only light wear beneath the B and High E strings on frets 1-2. The original bone nut measures just a hair over 1 11/16” (but shy of a full 1 3/4”), and the original Waverly open back tuners with cream buttons turn smoothly and hold pitch well. The "Stratotone" silkscreen logo is present on the headstock face and the music note atomic logo can't be beat!

On the body, the simple electronics work exactly as intended including the small two-way switch that bypasses the Tone control if desired. The solder joints are untouched, and the CentraLab pots date to the 2nd week of 1953. Rarely seen on the H44 model yet intact on this example, the original body date (Spring, 1953) is lightly stamped in the pickup cavity. The original acrylic pickguard and jack plate are intact, and both are remarkably clean. It'd be hard to stress enough how uncommon it is to see both the guard and jack plate intact on this model, given the relative fragility of the acrylic material. The original "cupcake" knobs are present, and the carved floating rosewood bridge with carved bone saddle is a modern replacement, closely matching the shape of the original bridge.

The original copper nitro lacquer gloss finish is notably glossy and clean, with virtually none of the oxidation and greening that these finishes usually exhibit on the body. There are a couple faint rectangular sticker tan lines on the bass-side upper bout on top, one finish scratch of note on the back, and some additional smaller nicks and scuffs from light, careful use on the body as a whole. The neck profile has light palm wear behind frets 1-2, with an area on the bass-side shoulder down to the gray primer coat.

The original tan chipboard case with brown leather trim is included and equally as clean as the guitar, featuring the original molded handle and functional latches.