A Near Mint 1963 Harmony "Roy Smeck" Stratotone
1963 Harmony Roy Smeck Stratotone Jupiter H7208

This fifty-seven year old 'Roy Smeck' Harmony Stratotone Jupiter electric guitar is an absolute featherweight at just 5.20 lbs. Featuring a laminated maple body with a blond laminated maple top and a bolt-on hardwood neck. The top of the guitar is double bound in white and black celluloid and the bottom is single bound in white celluloid. The sides, back and neck are finished in black. The bolt-on neck is secured to the body at the 15th fret by three screws and the fretboard is triple bound. The neck has a very typical 1959 'Les Paul' thick profile and a huge nut width of 1 3/4 inches. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard has 20 medium-to-thin frets and pearl block position markers. The headstock has three-a-side individual open-back Waverly tuners with oval white plastic buttons. On the face of the headstock is a raised metal "Roy Smeck". Single-layer white plastic bell-shaped truss-rod cover with three screws. Two De'Armond/Rowe Golden-Tone Indox single-coil pickups with diamond etched chrome pickup covers with outputs of 11.06k and 10.80k. The pickups are secured on the 'lightning-shape' black plastic pickguard secured by six screws. On the underside of the pickguard is a rectangular sticker "ROWE INDUSTRIES / Toledo, Ohio, U.S.A." Four controls (two volume, two tone) and rotary four-way pickup selector switch all mounted on the body. Four black plastic control knobs with ribbed sides, lettered on top in cream, and one "chicken-head" four-way rotary pickup selector knob. Rosewood bridge on height adjustable rosewood base, trapeze tail piece with three horizontal line design. Under the control cavity is also stamped in blue "6-63-JP / Made in U.S.A." and the serial number "4334 H 7208". This absolutely amazing little guitar is in near mint condition and is almost certainly the finest example you could ever wish for… Housed in it's original dark gray three-latch, rectangular hardshell case with black felt lining and cream faux leather ends (9.00).

"Just as Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, the H49 Jupiter was the Ultimate model of the Stratotone "planetary" series. It featured a conventional three-way switch, separate volume and tone controls for each pickup, and an unusual "blender" knob. One unusual construction feature of the H49 was its spruce top. Again, the tortoise-shell pick guard (albeit somewhat long and narrow) is an oh-so-cool part of this top-of-the-line Stratotone. Its price in a 1963 catalog was $149.50." (Willie G. Moseley. In Praise of Fretted Americana, p.51).

The official Harmony catalog model number for this instrument is 7208, and while that designation certainly isn't sexy, the Roy Smeck model certainly makes up for it in looks and playability. This is easily one of the cleanest Stratotones we've ever had the pleasure of offering up for sale, and the tone through a pair of original DeArmond gold foils is truly something to behold. Manufactured by Harmony (despite Roy's name being prominently displayed on the headstock) and only available for a few short years in the early 1960s, this was one of Harmony's more expensive offerings and a quality instrument to be sure! The pickups have strong output and the clear, percussive quality that you only get from a gold foil. The tone is full and nuanced, with great growl when you dime out your favorite vintage tube amplifier. The body is fully hollow and that adds a certain richness to the tone and soft attack to the notes that you simply can't get with a solid body instrument. Plus you can't beat the diamond etched chrome pickup covers, rarely seen on any Harmony model! 

The neck has a comfortable medium C profile that fills the palm nicely and plays exceedingly well. The frets are in great shape, with their full original height and near perfect crowns, showing only the faintest wear. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard is incredibly clean with pearl block inlays and multi ply nitrate mint green fretboard binding.  On the headstock, the metal "Roy Smeck" logo is clean and fully intact. The original Waverly open-back tuners are intact as well, turn smoothly, and hold pitch well. 

On the body, all of the electronics work as they should, with a rotary four-way pickup selector switch that engages an extra capacitor in series with the neck pickup in the fourth position for an exclusive "Rhythm" tone not found on any other Stratotone!  All of the original hardware is intact including the black "cupcake" knobs, nickel trapeze tailpiece, and carved Bazilian rosewood floating bridge. The iconic pointed pickguard is near mint with the original "Rowe DeArmond" sticker on the back (photo #13).  The original stamped serial number and 1960 date code is also clear and intact, stamped to the inside of the back and visible with the pickguard removed. (#2169)

Fretted Americana

Fretted Americana

Black with natural top
Original Hard
18 Years
Fretted Americana
David Brass
Calabasas, CA
12:54 AM
10:00 am to 6:00 pm

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