Harmony H-22 Electric Bass Guitar (1962)

Harmony  H-22 Electric Bass Guitar  (1962)

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Item # 8447
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Harmony H-22 Model Electric Bass Guitar (1962), made in Chicago, sunburst lacquer finish, laminated maple body. maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, black gig bag case.

One of the 1960s' finest bass bargains, the Harmony H-22 "Hi Value" Electric Bass retailed originally at $99.50 and was the giant Chicago company's first bass guitar offering. The H-22 was officially introduced in Harmony's 1962 catalog, and it remained pretty much the same into the late '60s when the body design was altered to a double cutaway.

This bass is from the first year or so of production (the pickup is actually dated to December that year, so likely it was sold in early 1963) and features a lightweight flat-topped fully hollow body mounting one excellent sounding DeArmond pickup down by the neck. The neck itself is thick but comfortable, with a 30" scale dot-inlaid rosewood fingerboard. This early example has a block rosewood tailpiece covered by a chrome handrest (that incidentally was designed for Gibson steel guitars in the 1930s!). The bass' most distinctive cosmetic feature is the large white plastic off-center pickguard, which certainly gives it an unmistakable look! Controls are simple, with single tone and volume knobs and large "klunk" switch that works with the tone control for instant tone modification from dark to "baritone".

The H-22 was used extensively in the mid-1960s by both Muff Winwood in the Spencer Davis Group and Ronnie Lane of the Small Faces, and its aggressively thumpy tone can be clearly heard on many recordings. Popular up into the late 1960s, the H-22 has recently again become a much-used and sought-after item with new generations of players discovering its quirky charm, extremely easy handling, and excellent sonic qualities.
 
Overall length is 44 1/2 in. (113 cm.), 15 5/8 in. (39.7 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 2 in. (5.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 30 in. (762 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.). This is a well-worn but still original and fully functional, fine playing example of this Harmony budget bass classic. The finish has lots of dings, chips, and flaked spots, although really overall it doesn't look bad. The tailpiece area has some flaking and loss it looks like the bottom edge of the bass was exposed to dampness for a time. The finish on the side by the control region has an area where it was crazed from contact with something in the case.

Someone long ago sprayed some black paint on the back of the headstock, and the back of the neck has some dings smoothly polished out. Some of the scratches and scuffs overall show amateur attempts to touch them up. The back has the largest of these areas. There is light corrosion to some of the metal parts, but everything works as intended. The frets are in very nice shape; this one likely had flatwound strings on most or all of its life.

Everything is solid; there is one small repaired laminate crack to the front edge of the bass side F hole but no major damage. The floating wooden bridge is a modern unit, but everything else appears original including oft-missing pieces like the "batwing' white plastic pickguard, plastic strap buttons, rosewood finger rest, chrome tailpiece cover and small-button Waverly tuners. There is a period decal on the upper back from Skidmore Piano Company, Blytheville Arkansas; this bass has likely played some funky down-home gigs in its time! While not the cleanest H-22 we have had, this is a nice gigging example of this very popular bass with a great vibe. Very Good + Condition.