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1965 Harmony H78 Vintage Electric Guitar, Airline-Branded w/ DeArmond Gold Foils, Bigsby B3 & Case


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Up for sale, a 1965 Harmony H78 in exceptional condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original two-tone chipboard case. 100% original aside from a modern replica pickguard and new endpin, this particular USA-made Harmony iteration is branded "Airline," indicating that it was made exclusively for the Montgomery Ward catalog. The H78 was at the top of Harmony's vintage guitar line, featuring three DeArmond gold foil pickups, a lightly figured curly maple body, factory-installed Bigsby B3 vibrato tailpiece, and nitrate tortoise appointments. Weighing 7lbs 3oz and professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, we've dialed in this Harmony with 11-49 strings and low action.

There's really nothing that can match the balance, clarity, and overall tonal character of a good trio of gold foil pickups. They have a percussive snap and twang, tight bass, and a harmonically-rich midrange that sounds great when each pickup is singled out or when paired together in any one of seven combinations. Unlike many gold foils, the ones on the H78 also feature adjustable pole pieces, so one can dial in the balance between the strings. All three pickups have strong output, and when mated with the fully hollow maple body, the tone benefits from both the immediate attack of the maple and the warmth and fullness of the hollow construction.

The maple neck has a very round "baseball bat" C-shaped profile carve with ample shoulders and ideal heft, measuring .999" deep at the 1st and 9th frets. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard is a jet black, tight-grained cut of this hallowed tonewood, framed by multi-ply binding and boasting pearloid block inlay. The original slender frets have their full factory height and well-rounded crowns, with just a hint of wear beneath the B and High E strings on frets 1-3. The scale length measures 24 1/4", and the nylon nut measures 1 3/4" in width. The headstock sports a deep red nitrate tortoise overlay and matching truss rod cover, made from the exact same material as Fender tortoise pickguards of the era, and very three dimensional and glossy. The thin metal raised "Airline" logo is no longer present, but its outline can still be faintly seen. The original nickel-plated Waverly tuning machines are present as well and turn smoothly.

All of the extensive electronics work as they should, including the pickup switches and all six Volume and Tone knobs. Additionally, all three Rowe Industries DeArmond gold foils have their original "Rowe Industries" foil labels on the baseplates, each individually dated to April 7th, 1965. Visible through the segmented F hole on the body, the 1965 date stamp is present, along with the "H7230" model stamp, which was the official Airline designation of the H78 model. Hardware includes the Brazilian rosewood bridge with nylon saddle insert, working in concert with the Bigsby B3 vibrato tailpiece which has a smooth, easy-actuating response. Plastics include the modern four-ply tortoise pickguard and original nitrate tortoise control plate, with a trio of long baton cream pickup selector switches and a sextet of extremely clean and clear mini Dearmond bell knobs.

The Red Sunburst nitro lacquer finish is positively glossy and very well-kept, exhibiting light vertical lacquer checking. There is a small spot of faint buckle rash central to the back, and a few minor marks and finish scuffs from very careful use (particularly some subtle cable worming on the upper bout on the back). The neck profile retains its smooth gloss.

The original two-tone gray/blonde chipboard case is included with a red plush interior, functional latches, and the original handle.