Vintage Instruments: Electric Guitars & Amps

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1956 Harmony H-88 Doublet Stratotone

Harmony’s H-88 Doublet is the two-pickup counterpart to the more common H-44 Stratotone. It was built for a few years in the mid 1950’s, before Harmony redesigned the Stratotone line to the chambered solid-body that most people are much more familiar with.

The H-88 features a neck-through design with a small solid body and a huge neck. The pickups are DeArmond high-output single coils which are anatomically similar to the Gold Foils that arrived on the scene a few years later, and they are controlled by concentric volume and tone knobs and 3-way switching. A remarkably simple guitar, the H-88 doesn’t look like one of the best sounding electric guitars on the planet, but looks certainly can prove to be deceiving.

The guitar has a hugely fat output. It’s bold and clear, and about as creamy as a single-coil can be. Thick, wooly, and dark with awesome touch-sensitivity and dynamics. The guitar can be played clean and pretty or raunchy and loud with equal knack. Its certainly among the most tonally rewarding guitars we can remember, and tops in the Lo-Fi guitar category.

With its big round neck, short 24” scale, and small body, the H-88 takes a little bit of getting used to, but the tone is completely worth it. It’s not the easiest guitar to play, but its among the most inspiring.

With original chipboard case

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