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Thread: Harmony Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Harmony Mandolin

    Can anyone decipher what year this mandolin was produced? Im told by seller early 1960s. Model 3399M8010 Harmony Mandolin. Was hoping to post a photo but did not locate a photo option.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    The photo option is third from the extreme right. Is it like this example? The later mandolins were made with Waverly tuners that had a larger number of cogs on the gears and more turns on the worms which I think helped the tuning precision.

    https://reverb.com/uk/item/5678954-h...-s-faux-stripe

    The more expensive Monterey at this time had a maple body, more dot markers and a spruce top.

  3. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    I think what you are calling Waverly tuners were made by Grover.

    Look inside the instrument for a stamp that is something like S-64 or F-67. That will be the date code. You may need a flahlight to see it and beyond that, as NickR has stated, post a picture.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    Also, are you sure about that number? Could that M be an H?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    Yes the M could be a H! The mandolin Im discussing is older looking the the sample NickR referenced me to. No luck posting a photo from my iPhone. It has the S hole ports with additional small port holes as well. Also, this one is lighter in color, black pickguard, and the Harmony logo is in gold
    Last edited by Barry1013; Aug-20-2019 at 12:26pm. Reason: Addition

  6. #6

    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    These are the tuners I am referring to and as far as I know, they are Waverly items. Harmony used Waverly in the 50s and 60s and into the 70s- when all sorts of economies were made- Japanese tuners, I believe on some instruments as the company struggled to survive

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Wav...kAAOSwJfFc8D2x

  7. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry1013 View Post
    Yes the M could be a H! The mandolin I’m discussing is older looking the the sample NickR referenced me to. No luck posting a photo from my iPhone. It has the “S” hole ports with additional small port holes as well. Also, this one is lighter in color, black pickguard, and the Harmony logo is in gold
    Look inside with a flashlight to see if you can see a date code. What you are describing are segmented F holes.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    These are the tuners I am referring to and as far as I know, they are Waverly items. Harmony used Waverly in the 50s and 60s and into the 70s- when all sorts of economies were made- Japanese tuners, I believe on some instruments as the company struggled to survive

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Wav...kAAOSwJfFc8D2x
    Up until a few years ago I had a set of those in the original Grover box. I'm assuming they made them at some point. They were 24:1 ratio. They were pretty awful tuners.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  9. #9
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    This is a Harmony H8010. I'm guessing this is what your mandolin looks like. The numbers before the H are some sort of manufacturing tracking number that nobody has a clue as to what they mean. The number after the H should be the model number. If it has the 24:1 tuners then it's probably later in the 60's.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    That H8010 is from the 1970s- the Harmony logo highlights this. Yes, interesting about those tuners as the backing plates are identical in shape to the Waverly style. I wonder if Waverly was taken over by Grover- or the other way around? However, it is not crucial to this poster's question!

  11. #11
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    Waverly went away until the brand was resurrected when Stewmac bought the name.

    I had a similar Harmony a few years back. The bridge top was sagging when I got it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    This was on the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum:

    "Virtually all the metal parts for nearly all the East coast banjo makers were supplied by one company -- Waverly Music Products of New York, NY, in business from before the turn of the century until the 1970s when they were acquired by Stewart-MacDonald of Athens, OH. I interviewed Waverly's then owner, a Mr. Lomb -- son and grandson of the founders, early in 1970 when he had put the company up for sale."

    It seems then that Waverly limped into the 1970s. I have a 1969 Harmony guitar that has Waverly tuners. Certainly, if you look at 1970s Harmony guitars, there is a change in tuners being used which suggests that new suppliers had been found- after nearly three decades of using Waverly products- after moving to Kluson in 1941 for about a decade. It is reckoned that Kluson helped the new owners of Harmony buy the company from Sears, Roebuck at that time.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    Yes Mike it looks like your attachment except the tail guard is slightly different. So, if I understand everyone correctly, I should check inside again verifying the model numbers and also look for a S-64 or F67 marking and check tuner type (24:1 tuners). You all have been very helpful and I appreciate your time and expertise!
    Last edited by Barry1013; Aug-20-2019 at 2:46pm. Reason: Additional

  14. #14
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    Look for the stamp that starts with an F or an S. The number may be different. It could be enclosed in a rectangle or oval or it might just be the letter and the number.

    Count the teeth on one of the cogs on a tuner. If there are 24 teeth that identifies the tuners.

    You are probably missing the tailpiece cover that looks like a cloud. In that ase you would just have the tailpiece with the strings ends exposed.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    Thank you. You are correct about the tailpiece. The mandolin comes with the original case and both In very good condition. Im getting this mandolin via bartering with a friend. About a $160 exchange.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    The date stamp from 1959 onward is not in a box and the date sits above the words MADE IN USA. This lasted until 1973 when I assume the date stamp was dispensed with- not long before Harmony also disappeared.

  17. #17
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    The date stamp from 1959 onward is not in a box and the date sits above the words MADE IN USA. This lasted until 1973 when I assume the date stamp was dispensed with- not long before Harmony also disappeared.
    I had a 71 or 72 and I don't recall seeing the Made in USA. Like everything else, inconsistencies were the only constant.

    Added: In looking at examples of the date codes I'm going to assume I just missed the Made in USA. I don't have one on hand right now but every example I can find is showing the Made in USA. They must have started exporting them or something. The imports didn't really arrive in large numbers until the late 60's.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Aug-20-2019 at 9:53pm.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    The MADE IN USA started in 1949 in an oblong "double box"- to the right in the smaller section of that larger box, the date code was printed vertically. The various codes are all detailed from their inception in 1932 (F32) in the book Cowboy Guitars. I think the information given is pretty exhaustive but there may be minor variations- possibly down to impromptu activities.

    Harmony guitars were exported to the UK 1930s and also Canada. In the UK in the 1930s, by law, all imports had to be marked as such. My Harmony guitar from this era has a 1934 date stamp and was imported by Beare & Son- then a big Gibson dealer in London- a firm which still exists. This company was also based in Toronto and imported Harmony guitars to Canada. The Beare & Son brand for these imported American guitars- Regal and Kay as well as Harmony, was The Michigan and the badge stated Made In USA. However, there was also an added sticker that stated MADE IN USA- a badge of pride to any owner- who had an American instrument. I am sure. After WW2 when the foreign exchange crisis led to import bans of US made guitars, The Michigan guitars were made in Europe and the Made In USA disappeared from the badge. Beare & Son has a fiddling cat as its emblem. I saw a 1930s Harmony archtop on ebay that had this cat carved into the plastic headstock overlay- it was wonderful- I have never seen another.Click image for larger version. 

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  19. #19
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    Everybody that exported including Gibson had to add the country or origin stamped somewhere on the instrument. When I was a young man I worked for a company that imported bicycles into the US (from England, France and Italy). When the customs guys came to inspect a shipment coming in they wanted to see the country of origin on the bike. If the US required this I'm sure most other countries did as well. The marking on the Harmony instruments obviously started at some point where they realized it was easier to mark all of them than it was to just mark the instruments leaving the country. That's the way you can identify early Gibson products as having been made for export. They will have Made in USA stamped on the back of the headstock. I have no idea when they finally just put it on the label but that's not uncommon.

    When Japanese guitars started showing up in the US and for years after actually they had a sticker on the back of the headstock that said Made in Japan. The first thing I always did was peel it off when I got home. It was easy to peel off like they assumed you were going to do it. You don't see a whole lot of those late 60's/early 70's guitars with the Made in Japan label on it and even though I'm getting ready to pay $35.00 for a single tone knob for a late 60's guitar to restore it, it never occurred to me to replicate one of those labels.

    Well, somebody is selling them on eBay. I'm still not putting it back on.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Harmony Mandolin

    My Suzuki mandolin- bought new in 1977 had one of those MADE IN JAPAN labels- I think it wore off. With regard to the 1930s, as far as the UK was concerned, the item had to be shown to be foreign- it did not have to state the nation. As I wrote, having MADE IN USA was a badge of pride- as it would be a more expensive guitar at all price points than one made in Europe. My Martin Coletti G80- a very expensive guitar at 18 guineas in 1934-- about $90 in the USA at that time- a Nick Lucas knock off but of equal quality has FOREIGN on the label which states "AMERICAN MODEL GUITARS. Some had FOREIGN MAKE impressed on the headstock as well.

    It seems someone has beaten you to those Japanese labels!

    I was thinking about those mandolin tuners from Grover. The most logical conclusion is that Waverly stopped making them- as the company was up for sale and Harmony needed mandolin tuners- Kay had already gone- and the name was used for imported instruments. It is possible that Grover made a run of tuners that replicated the Waverly plates but used those new gears and worms.

    Here is a Martin Coletti- made in Czechoslovakia for London dealer John Dallas. You can just discern FOREIGN MAKE impressed on the headstock:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by NickR; Aug-21-2019 at 12:08pm.

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