Harmony Meteor H-70 Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1961)

Harmony  Meteor H-70 Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1961)
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Item # 11737
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Harmony Meteor H-70 Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1961), made in Chicago, serial # 4073H70, sunburst lacquer finish, laminated maple body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, black tolex soft shell case.

This is a somewhat played in but fairly early example of a true Harmony classic, the H-70 Meteor. Introduced in 1958, the Meteor was the first of the thinline cutaway designs that were Harmony's bread and butter electric guitars for the next decade, a fairly classy instrument despite its humble reputation. The H-70 in sunburst finish sold at $170 in 1959, far less than most similar Gibsons but really not all that cheap by period standards.

With two of the now-venerated DeArmond "Golden Indox" gold foil pickups (introduced with this model), the Meteor is a very good-sounding instrument, both snarly and sweet when coaxed. The laminated maple body is 15 3/4" wide and 2" deep at the rim with a single rounded cutaway and a laminated spruce top trimmed with subtly fancy 5-ply binding. The Meteor is wired to the now-common scheme Gibson developed in the early 1950s: tone and volume knobs for each pickup and a single toggle for selection.

The slim bolt-on neck is multi-bound with pearloid block inlay and is equipped with the "Torque-Lok" trussrod, an under/over double rod adjusted at the headstock that is actually quite effective. The internal F-61 factory date code on this guitar marks it as a 1961 model, as does the vibrant sunburst with more red in it than later examples.

The Meteor has been a popular choice for vintage R&B, soul, and garage band sounds recently and also boasts a solid rock and roll pedigree. Rolling Stone Keith Richards' first "serious" guitar was a sunburst H-70, which saw extensive use on all the Stones' early records (including their landmark first album), first tours, and many TV appearances.

Lead guitarist Dave Davies cut The Kinks' epochal hit "You Really Got Me" in July 1964 with his natural-finish Meteor -- the scraping, drivingly distorted tone he achieved remains uniquely arresting even today. Davies bought the Meteor -- his first "real" guitar -- at Selmer's "on the hire purchase" before the Kinks even had a permanent name. This model was popular with many teen combos both in the UK and US in the 1960s and is still a solid performer today; one of Harmony's all-time best designs.
Overall length is 40 1/2 in. (102.9 cm.), 15 3/4 in. (40 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 2 1/16 in. (5.2 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 in. (610 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This is a nice playing and relatively original example overall, with some typical play wear and a couple of restored parts. The all-original finish shows dings, and dents and scrapes overall with and some light pickwear to the top. The back and sides are similar with some heavier flaking along the bottom edge of the back. There a couple of noticeable dings to the back of the neck just behind the third and fifth frets, and some shallow dings. The headstock shows typical dings and dents.

The pickguard is a nicely done repro, as is the "Harmony Meteor" headstock logo. The rosewood bridge is original, the adjusting wheels are newer. The oft-broken white plastic truss rod cover has a tight split through the top screw but is still intact; the nut is newer. Apart from the restored parts, the guitar remains original as it left Chicago in 1941. The original frets have some wear in the lower positions but this remains a good-playing and great-sounding early Meteor. This scrappy and often unsung little rock'n'roll classic lives in a higher grade period chipboard case that looks like it was originally intended for a Gibson. Overall Very Good + Condition.