Harmony Meteor

Matt asked me if this old Harmony Meteor could be made workable again…

Aside from a very interesting neck repair job from long ago…

…the guitar was pretty much intact, except for a large split in the side which should be fixable.

And it has also had it’s original machineheads replaced with a set of Gotohs.

The Harmony Meteor seems to have existed between 1958 and about 1966, and was invariably finished in a traditional sunburst. It was a spruce-topped, single cutaway archtop with a bolt-on neck and fitted with two Harmony Goldentone pickups made by Rowe Industries who I think also made the DeArmond pickups used by Gretsch prior to the advent of Filter’trons.

The guitar was intended for the lower end of the guitar market and sold- in the US- for about $170 or so. A Gretsch Hollowbody would have been at least another hundred dollars dearer.

The serial number on Matt’s guitar is no longer readable but it would seem to date from earlier in the H-70 Meteor model life because the pickups changed in the mid 60s to the perhaps more familiar “mustache” pickups.

Sadly there is only one pickup remaining, but it works…

I have a couple of DeArmond pickups in my collection of old pre-loved parts and using one in place of the missing Goldentone seems to be a reasonable proposition.

First- repairs are carried out on the split in the treble side.

Also in my collection of parts is a tailpiece that I’m sure I’ve seen on old Maton archtops that will certainly do the job on the old Harmony…

…and an archtop tune-o-matic bridge that will be better than the original.

At some stage in the past, the guitar seems to have been rewired and when I hooked up the DeArmond into the wiring- everything worked!

So on managing to get everything back inside the guitar where it came from, and wiring in the DeArmond pickup, the guitar has come back to life.

The base of the bridge had to be reduced by a couple of millimeters and the string spacing isn’t as good as I would have preferred but it all works rather well!

Now, the original knobs are long gone with no hope of ever finding something like them again, but I’ve fitted a set of the same knobs that I used on my Radiomasters- they have a bit of a retro vibe and are really good quality with a locking grub-screw and they look quite at home on the Meteor…

Matt has decided that the old Meteor is a very useable guitar and he’s now decided that the headstock should be painted black like it was originally and a “Harmony Meteor” logo reinstalled as well.

I’ve managed to track down an original logo from Banana Guitars in the States and it’s on it’s way…

The headstock is painted black…

…and then polished and the replacement logo installed.

A truss rod cover is made and installed…

And now a year or so later, Matt wants the job finished- the body is to be sanded back and refinished in clear, a Bigsby fitted to replace the tailpiece that I fitted and a replacement scratchplate and switch “diamond” made and fitted and a better set of machine heads fitted.

Matt has just left with his newly completed 1959 Harmony and we’ll look forward to seeing and hearing the guitar being put through it’s paces at his Ballarat gig in the New Year…