Saturday, December 26, 2009
Harmony H22 Hollowbody Bass
Face it, sometimes you just get lucky. Of course, you're not going to get lucky if you don't put yourself in position to find the luck. One day I happened to walk into a thrift store that I had been in a million times before with very little luck and there sat this Harmony H22 hollowbody bass guitar over in the corner. Sunburst with a big, weird shaped pickguard and those beautiful F-holes. It looked to be in pretty good shape from a distance and had a crappy chipboard case next to it. I don't think I had ever owned a bass up until this point, but I knew I wasn't going to pass up this one. I checked out the price tag and it was a more than fair $75. I knew it was mine.
If you are like me, and god help you if you are, sometimes $75 is a piece of cake and sometimes it's the most money in the world. Lately it's been a hefty sum anytime after the 10th of the month. So, luckily when I came across this gem I was doing just fine and was able to fork over the dough. I rarely take much cash with me when I'm out junkin', so there is always that horrible feeling that I need to find an ATM machine and find it fast and hope that the lady at the counter will hold whatever it is that I need the cash for. In this case the lady was nice enough to hold it for me for 30 minutes, "but no more." I scrambled out the door as casually as possible so as not to raise any suspicions. Came back, forked over the bills and smiled my way out the door.
I really didn't know much about this bass and was really just beginning to get into cool vintage instruments. I wish I had come across it now instead because I think if I had, I might still own it. As it turns out, I believe I only kept it for a short period of time and eventually took it to a nice little vintage shop and sold it for about $350-400. Can't remember for sure. I was just looking on eBay a second ago and noticed that one sold within the last two weeks for well over $700.
So, not only did I miss out on continuing to own a sweet bass, I missed out on the financial appreciation as well. I usually do.
I got this info (and some photos) from vintageguitars.org.uk: "The H22 featured a laminated top, back, bolt-on maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, and is only really let down by its cheap looking plastic knobs, and too-small guitar style tuning pegs. The electronics feature a passive DeArmond pickup, volume and tone controls, and a 'bass enhancer' switch that really makes this instrument rumble. The Harmony company was based in Chicago where the H22 was manufactured. The company was disbanded in 1975, having produced thousands of instruments for itself and other companies."
The H22/1 featured double cutaways and looks just about as cool. I found some photos of this model and a few other Harmony basses here. I have to say, even though it's not that big of a difference between the single cut and the double cut, I really like the single cutaway better for some reason. Maybe the double just looks more standard or Gibson-esque.