1950s Harmony H165 000-Size Small Jumbo Figure 8 Guitar (VIDEO! Ready to Go)

$ 975.00

Quick notes: 1) This is consigned. 2) Any repair work has been done so it plays spot-on unless otherwise noted! 3) Please read the following text for full details and specs — it’s borrowed from my original blog post on it…

Update December 2023: this guy’s “back in the shack” for sale as its owner is shifting-around his collection. It arrived just as it left and all it needed was a dusting-off and new strings before I put it out on the racks again… now back to the post…

While these older, round-shoulder H165 models look like mini-jumbo guitars, they’re really more like a curvy 00-plus-size instrument at 14 3/4″ on the lower bout. I can’t quite read the date stamp on this one but it might show it to be ’49. I’m not sure so I’m calling it a ’50s build due to that pickguard material.

This “curvy” version of the guitar was swapped for the more-common, square-shoulders, 000-size H165 model in 1957. That’s a shame, though, because this version of the guitar is a superior instrument. It’s braced a little lighter, the body shape is more comfortable, it looks aesthetically more pleasing, and it sounds more interesting, too. The later versions have much of the same punch as this guitar and a similar creamy, woody quality to the tone, but have a darker, quieter sound overall. This one is as loud and full-on snappy as a good Kalamazoo KG-14. The neck is also more similar to a KG-14 as it has the older, big-style Harmony neck shape rather than the later, thin type that tends to warp distressingly until they get adjustable truss rods in the mid-late ’60s.

I’ll stop talking it up, though, because as its owner knows, this instrument’s a bit of a beater. When it came in it had some bad “crunch-up” crack repairs to the back that I’ve ameliorated, a split in the waist-side, terrible action, terrible tuners, an ugly bridge reglue and pickguard reglue on the top, and the usual very-off Harmony-style intonation at the bridge. Post-repairs it plays on-the-dot, however, though the mission was to do the work as efficiently as possible considering the condition of the instrument.

Repairs included: neck reset, fret level/dress, side dots install, new StewMac repro tuners, pickguard reglue, modified bridge/saddle area (new ebony comp’d saddle), various crack re-repairs, setup.

Top wood: solid mahogany

Back & sides wood: solid mahogany

Bracing type: ladder

Bridge: rosewood

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: poplar

Action height at 12th fret: 3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)

String gauges: 52w, 40w, 30w, 22w, 16, 12

Neck shape: medium-big C/light V

Board radius: ~10″

Truss rod: non-adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: small/low

Scale length: 25 1/8″

Nut width: 1 3/4″

Body width: 14 3/4″

Body depth: 3 7/8″

Weight: 3 lbs 7 oz

Condition notes: it has a big old cracked-up section in the back that was “repaired” in the past and now has fill/fresh repairs to stabilize it. There’s also a hairline crack in the side that was repaired. There’s plenty of weather-checking, scuffs, scratches, light dings, etc. in the finish and it’s mostly confined to the back but the top has some wear and tear, too, for sure. The saddle, tuners, and endpin are replacements.

Also: the original bridge layout had the saddle location about 1/8″ too far aft. To get proper intonation meant that the saddle’s leading edge for the high E needed to be right at the front of the bridge. I cut the slot wider to allow this and then made the saddle out of ebony and compensated the top of that. Two small screws hold it in place so that I didn’t have to glue the saddle in position. This will allow for easier wintertime shim-up setup adjustments.

It comes with: sorry, no case.