Harmony H-35 Hollow Body Electric Mandolin (1971)

Harmony  H-35 Hollow Body Electric Mandolin  (1971)
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Item # 12184
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Harmony H-35 Model Hollow Body Electric Mandolin (1971), made in Chicago, serial # 2945H35, sunburst lacquer finish, maple body and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black tolex chipboard case.

This is unusual and rather fancily styled electric mandolin dates to the waning days of the illustrious Harmony company. The H-35 was a very distinctive model, instantly recognizable with a single-bound scooped double cutaway body sporting an extended upper horn and eccentrically shaped sound holes. The maple neck has a bound, block inlaid rosewood fingerboard and a headstock shape mirroring the body profile. The Harmony logos on the headstock and pickguard were made by etching through the black top layer of plastic tom the whiter beneath, a somewhat old-fashioned method even at the time.

The now much celebrated DeArmond "Golden Tone" pickup is centrally mounted on the body with tone and volume controls on the lower bout. This unit gives the H-35 quite a powerful electric sound, without either the muddiness or overly shrill character that sometimes plagues amplified 8-strings. The sound can be effectively dialed back for a more acoustic-y character, or played flat-out with a nice bite.

This H-35 has an F-71 factory code indicating manufacture in 1971. It was one of the best electric mandolins of the time although to be fair, there weren't a lot of other choices in the 1970s. It was the favored instrument of Blues mandolin legend Yank Rachell in the later stages of his career and can be seen in numerous pictures of him. For blues or beyond this is an excellent playing and sounding example of this cool and funky 8-string, a classic in its own right if an admittedly relatively obscure one!
Overall length is 27 3/8 in. (69.5 cm.), 10 1/4 in. (26 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 14 in. (356 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/4 in. (32 mm.).

This now 50+ year old Harmony remains very clean and all original. The finish shows just some light handling wear, with no notable damage or repair. The hardware is original, complete and also quite clean; even the oft-missing he bridge cover is intact. These is some minor scuffing to the pickguard, which has curled down a bit. This H-35 is about the nicest one we have had, with a better-then-average straight neck and just-polished out frets making for a fine playing and excellent sounding example. It resides in the original black chipboard case, helpfully marked "Harmony 8 String Mandolin" with a Letraset strip on the lid. Overall Excellent + Condition.