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Thread: Harmony H950T Tenor Guitar to Octave Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Harmony H950T Tenor Guitar to Octave Mandolin

    I’ve been looking for the right instrument to do this conversion. A few weeks ago, on Craigslist, I found a 1965 Harmony tenor guitar, model H950T. It was a two hour drive away but after seeing the pictures and talking to the owner, it seemed to be worth checking out.

    It was in excellent shape, despite being filthy. It had been left behind in a foreclosed house and rescued by one of the people cleaning things out.

    It took me nearly two hours of cleaning, lay by layer, to get
    Down to the finish.

    The result was a nice solid guitar with very few cosmetic flaws. A small crack in the top by the bottom of the right f-hole, which I repaired to keep it from going any further.

    At some point in it’s life, the guitar had a neck reset. The neck was straight and there seemed to be few other issues.

    The conversion became very simple. Drill out the tailpiece to accept 8 strings, a new nut made from fossil mastodon, a bit of work on the bridge, and 8 Grover Mini’s on the headstock.

    I did the grunt work installing the tuners, all the drilling, got all the parts squared around and took it to my luthier friend here in Oberlin. He finished the nut, strung it up with new D’Addario OM strings and set the action.

    I added the replacement pickguard and the finishing touch of a Very nice Trophy strap. The conversion is essentially finished for now.

    It has some fret wear around the 7-8 fret wires. My luthier friend and I have decided to leave it for now. In 2-3 months, I will have a new tailpiece finished with the correct hole spacing. We’ll check the neck for any twisting or moving. If nothing moves, we will remove the fretwires, give the board a nice radius and install new wires. Then he can set the action and we will watch it for movement.

    It has an awesome sound! The solid birch body gives it a big sound. It fills the room. Haven’t been able to put it down all week.

    I’ll post some in-process pictures and some sound files in the next few days.

    Any comments and questions are certainly welcome. This is my first conversion. I’m certainly. No expert and i’m always open to fresh ideas.

    Thanks

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Rootes For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony H950T Tenor Guitar to Octave Mandolin

    Looka great to me. You did a good job!
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”

  4. #3

    Default Re: Harmony H950T Tenor Guitar to Octave Mandolin



    Some sound.
    My playing is not the best. I have nerve damage in my left shoulder/arm/hand.
    My fingers don’t always do what I ask.

    But you get the idea.

    More later.

    Thanks!

  5. #4

    Default Re: Harmony H950T Tenor Guitar to Octave Mandolin

    Nice job and cool to have something not everyone else is playing!

  6. #5

    Default Re: Harmony H950T Tenor Guitar to Octave Mandolin



    Thank you.
    I like having something unique and a little off center

    Another sound clip.
    Forgive my playing ability.

  7. #6
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony H950T Tenor Guitar to Octave Mandolin

    Nice condition guitar!

  8. #7
    Registered User Happy gnome's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony H950T Tenor Guitar to Octave Mandolin

    Great work!

  9. #8
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony H950T Tenor Guitar to Octave Mandolin

    Looks and sounds nice. Good find. Good job.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

  10. #9
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Harmony H950T Tenor Guitar to Octave Mandolin

    I was going to say it's a shame not to leave it as a tenor guitar, but it looks cool and sounds good -so nice one, enjoy it
    - Jeremy

    Wot no catchphrase?

  11. #10

    Default Re: Harmony H950T Tenor Guitar to Octave Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by derbex View Post
    I was going to say it's a shame not to leave it as a tenor guitar, but it looks cool and sounds good -so nice one, enjoy it
    Thanks!

    I understand completely. I wrestled with the same idea.
    In the end, I wanted something unique, different, that was not too difficult to convert, and would have an awesome sound.

    I simply can’t afford a new octave mandolin and there is really nothing that compares in sound and structure that’s affordable for me at this point.

    It’s a beautiful instrument. It has history, character and a great sound. It is just soooo much fun to play!

    Thanks again for the nice comments.

    Tim

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  13. #11
    Registered User Jesse Kinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony H950T Tenor Guitar to Octave Mandolin

    How did this guitar hold up over time to the conversion with the added strings? Considering doing this myself, didn’t know if it was worth it. Thanks!
    Jesse Kinman

    2017 Kentucky KM900
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    https://www.youtube.com/user/kinmanknives

  14. #12
    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony H950T Tenor Guitar to Octave Mandolin

    Nice work!
    I had a Harmony that had been converted to OM and I went further and made it a mandocello. It held up fine in both situations.
    I preferred the sound without the pickguard.

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