Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Can you identify this unknown archtop guitar?

Ariel writes:
Hey, just discovered your site and I really admire it. I've had this beauty to call my own for around three months now. It has no labels, markings, or anything until I got a good look at it a few days ago and found a few numbers printed inside. I'm guessing it's what was left of the serial number. My closest guess is that it's some sort of Harmony. I added the pick gaurd with an attached pickup to it. Anyways, if you or anybody could figure out what kind of guitar I have, it would mean the world to me.
Any ideas? Those f-holes are certainly a distinctive shape and might provide some clues.

G L Wilson

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  1. Martin used F holes like that. The headstock looks Martin-ish too.

  2. Epiphone masterbilt. ORIGINAL epiphone. Same F Holes.\, general body shape and design, and epiphone used label instead of impressing serial numbers into the body or headstock.

    It may not be a masterbilt model, but the similarities mean it could be an epipohne. the differences between it and the masterbilt photographed in a book i have is a bound neck and block inlays. The f-hols match perfectly.

    Sadly, I can only find a photo of it in that book, not in google so I have little proof.But the similarities are very telling.

  3. Looks like an F9 from Martin! http://www.guitarbench.com/Images%20for%20articles/M%20model/F.jpg

  4. Looks similar to this no-name Canadian archtop from the 40's

  5. Looks like a Harmony to me. And don't forget that Harmony often made guitars for other brands.

  6. This site may help (lots of pictures) http://harmony.demont.net/
    My closest guess, a prewar Harmony Cremona : http://harmony.demont.net/images/0/H1304_Cremona_IV_1937_06.jpg

  7. From the shape of the sound holes and the round top of the headstock, it could be a Harmony. It looks similar in some ways to a Monterey. Sometimes there was a paper label and/or a stamped number inside - H1457, for example, which was a blonde colour. The things to note are the dot inlays and lack of truss rod. If it is a Harmony that would put it between 1952 and 1956 when the truss rod was introduced. The dot inlays were usually used on the cheaper models and the top of the body was usually bound. It's hard to tell in this photo. The headstock looks a little crude on this guitar and is very different to the Epiphone shape. The back of the Harmony headstock was very distinctive and often painted black or dark brown with a pronounced vee shape toward the neck. The only way to get more info would be to take a look inside with torch and see if there's a number or label. Otherwise it's guesswork. Harmony's were decent guitars so they were,no doubt, copied and this could be just that.

    1. beleive it or not, early epiphones and the majority of the epi's produced by the orignal comapany, were not the 'pursed lips' or eleongated open book style, or the sheraton headstock. they were, for a long timne a lot more plain. The Masterbilt I mentioned above, had a simple rounded top headstock, and simple hardware as wel asthe stencil f-holes. It was a sunburst, but this could simply be stripped. Removing all identifiable marks.

      That said, one photo and no other description does not really help the interested people figure it out... Ariel has not been very helpful in some ways.

  8. Love those stencil F holes, Harmony.

  9. Hey ariel here :), so I had found 4 numbers stamped inside the body of the guitar. The numbers are 6898. I'm guessing they're what remains of its serial number even though I don't see any sign of any other faded numbers or markings, just these four clearly visible numbers.

    Andsteve, sorry that I didn't give off enough information or pictures. If you or any body else who is interested in helping me out wants to look further into this than I would be glad to send you more and better pictures. :)

  10. The two closest guitars I've found are a harmony cermona IV and a Martin R-18 from 1934 which bares a strong resemblance although it has a sunburst finish



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