Silvertone H-42/1 Solid Body Electric Guitar, made by Harmony (1957)

Silvertone H-42/1 Solid Body Electric Guitar, made by Harmony  (1957)

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Item # 8566
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Silvertone H-42/1 Model Solid Body Electric Guitar, made by Harmony (1957), made in Chicago, yellow lacquer finish, hardwood body and neck, rosewood fingerboard.

Originally listed at all of $69.95 the this striking "Sunshine Yellow" Harmony Stratotone H-42/1 is about as basic, small, simple and handy as an electric guitar gets. With its bright canary-hued "Colorama" finish and the metal-and-rubber "Harmometal" body trim this guitar is a fantastic example of 1950's "Populuxe" aesthetics. The basic H-42 format was offered in different colorful finishes under several brand names-this most improbably eye-catching version is unsurprisingly the rarest variant.

The through-body neck is very chunky, topped with a dot-inlaid rosewood fingerboard. The body is made up of two glued-on side wings and is very thin and light. The single chrome-plated pickup is the same simple DeArmond made unit as the more upscale H-44 and quite chunky sounding. The compact controls are a single tone-bypass switch and a cool stacked tower of concentric tone and volume knobs. This well-worn but super cool example carries a Silvertone logo stencil indicating it was originally sold by Sears. Combined with its bright yellow finish this makes for a rare and fairly unusual variation on an already relatively rare guitar.
 
Overall length is 36 1/4 in. (92.1 cm.), 11 in. (27.9 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/4 in. (641 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.). We defy any "artists' out there with the hammers and sandpaper to create a relic like this…this is as genuine "Relic" as it gets. When this little Harmony/Silvertone came in we nicknamed it "Swamp Thing" as it looked like it had spent decades in a Bayou barn. The amazing thing is it is still (almost) all original, plays way better than it ought to and sounds fantastic. The bright yellow finish has flaked a lot, and there are wear marks just about everywhere. We did clean off a lot of scuzz, but left the underlying patina intact. The only alteration is the screw-on wooden bridge is a drop-dead exact replacement, but made of genuine ebony as the original soft wood piece had warped beyond redemption.

The nut is an aged bone replica as well, but all else remains original. The neck is surprisingly quite straight and the frets in good order; this guitar plays way better than anyone would expect from looking at it. The back of the neck was slightly wet sanded to help smooth off and seal the remaining finish, so it is no longer flaking off. The pickup roars and the tone bypass switch still does its job perfectly, all despite what would seem to be decades of life with the gators. Not clean, but doggone mean, this canary yellow Silvertone is perfect for conjuring the swampy underside of rock'n'roll. If ever a guitar was meant to spend its life playing in E, this is it. Very Good + Condition.