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1959 Harmony Meteor H70, Airline Variant Vintage Guitar Sunburst w/ DeArmond Gold Foils


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Up for sale, a circa 1959 Harmony Meteor H70 in perfect working order, 100% original save for a professional refret. A rare variant produced in the USA by Harmony for Montgomery Ward's Airline brand (yet un-branded on the headstock), this Meteor has cosmetic features exclusive to the Airline version, including brown cupcake knobs, black diamond covers on the DeArmond "gold foil" pickup pair, and a nickel-plated long trapeze tailpiece.

What makes this early Meteor an enduring favorite and a unique instrument among Harmony hollowbodies is the spruce top, which has a more complex and rich tone than the maple tops seen on later Meteors and all Rockets, Rebels, and assorted H prefix models. It's no wonder that Meteors found their way into the hands of players such as Keith Richards and Dave Davies early in their respective careers.

Acoustically, the guitar offers tons of natural projection and a rich, detailed sound with great percussive snap and bark. And plugged in there's really nothing that can match the balance, clarity, and overall tonal character of a good pair of gold foil pickups. They have a cutting twang, tight bass, and a harmonically-rich midrange that sounds great when each pickup is singled out or when paired together. Both pickups have strong output, and when mated with the fully hollow body and spruce/maple tonewood combination, the sound benefits from both the immediate attack of the maple and the warmth and fullness of the hollow construction. The guitar weighs 5lbs 14oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with fresh 11-49 strings, low action, and optimal intonation.

The maple neck has a round, chunky C-shaped profile carve with ample shoulder and a substantial feel, measuring .935” deep at the 1st fret and 1.010” at the 11th before flattening out at the heel. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard is framed by three-ply binding, refretted with pristine vintage-spec fretwire. This guitar plays cleanly up the 24 1/4” scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The carved bone nut measures 1 3/4” in width. The headstock is notably devoid of any Airline or Harmony branding, yet the gloss nitro lacquer is untouched and original, complete with the stock truss rod cover. The original set of Waverly open-gear tuners turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch.

Both pickups retain their original Rowe Industries foil stickers (the parent company of DeArmond) on the baseplates, and controls include a three-way pickup selector and dedicated Volume and Tone knobs for each pickup. The original model stamp (reading H4884 for the Airline variant of the H70 Meteor) is visible through the bass-side F hole. The surrounds on the gold foils have incredibly clean plating, and hardware includes the original Brazilian rosewood bridge with bone saddle insert, Brazilian rosewood pickup risers, and long nickel trapeze tailpiece. Plastics comprise the original quartet of dark brown "cupcake" knobs, tortoise diamond switch surround, and amber switch tip.

The two-tone Sunburst nitro lacquer finish is 100% original with no touchup or overspray, exhibiting extensive lacquer checking on the spruce top and fainter checking on the back and sides. Cosmetic wear includes a number of nicks and dings on the body as a whole, with some localized wear on top between the bass-side F hole and bridge. The smooth gloss finish on the neck profile shows some small marks along its length, but nothing distracting to the palm while fretting.

A modern padded gigbag is included.