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1965 Harmony Rocket H56 Holiday-Branded Vintage Guitar w/ Vibrato, DeArmond Gold Foils


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Up for sale, a 1965 Harmony Rocket model H56 in 100% original condition and in perfect working order. This Rocket is a rare Holiday-branded example sold through the Aldens mail order catalog, and one of the nicer variations of the Rocket platform, featuring a chrome Bigsby-esque vibrato tailpiece and a pair of DeArmond gold foil pickups. Fully hollow and featherweight at only 6lbs 4oz, this Rocket has a bright and crisp acoustic tone that translates well through the pickups. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with fresh 10-46 strings and comfortable action, this Harmony Rocket is ready for stage and studio use.

There's really nothing that can match the balance, clarity, and overall tonal character of original DeArmond 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. This pair of gold foils sound great individually, with a particularly full and even tone with both pickups engaged. Each pickup has strong output across all strings, and when mated with the fully hollow maple body, the tone gets both the immediate attack of the maple and the warmth and fullness of the hollow construction.

The maple neck has a deep and substantial U-shaped neck profile carve with tons of heft and shoulder, measuring .925" deep at the 1st fret and .945" at the 9th. The dyed maple fretboard sports pearloid dot inlay and original slender fretwire. The frets have their full factory height and well-rounded crowns, showing virtually no wear, and the guitar plays well in every register up the 24 1/4" scale. The original nylon nut measures 1 3/4" in width. The headstock features "Holiday" silkscreen text, and interestingly enough, the original finish on the headstock face was shot after the tuner bushings were installed, so the bushings themselves are also finished over. The stock open-gear strip tuners are intact with original white buttons, holding pitch reliably.

All of the electronics work as they should, with individual Volume and Tone knobs for each pickup, and a three-way pickup selector switch. The DeArmond gold foil pickups have matching date stamps on their baseplates from November 10th, 1965. The plastics include a bright white pickguard and extremely clean quartet of cream cupcake knobs with gold text, and the chrome plating is gleaming on the vibrato and pickup surrounds. The rosewood bridge works in concert with the chrome-plated vibrato unit which responds very smoothly with the original spring, jumping back into tune well and providing a surprising amount of range and nuance.

The Red Sunburst gloss finish is 100% original, and while the finish on top is more muted from UV exposure, the back of the body retains a much richer shade. The body exhibits some finish loss on the lower bout treble-side edge, purely cosmetic, and the maple rim surrounding the input jack is structurally sound. There are various scuffs and minor marks on the body as a whole from honest use, and some nicks along the neck profile gloss as well, yet nothing deep or distracting to the palm while fretting.

A gigbag is included.