1963 Harmony Rocket H59 with 3 Rowe Industries DeArmond "Gold Foil" Pickups
Posted on August 09 2012
This one has been a favorite since day one, the Harmony Rocket:
I just about jumped out of my chair when this one popped up in PoDunk, AL (not a real place). It was covered in half a century's dirt and dust from being in a garage for so long. After a quick wipe down with a barely damp cloth the finish was sparkling. I was amazed at how well this one cleaned up.
Seems like the first thing anyone notices about these are the knobs. SO MANY KNOBS:
Individual Bakelite volume and tone knobs for each pickup. The rotary pickup selector allows you to select pickup 1, 2, 3 or All. So if you want just pickups 2 and 3 you must select All and turn the volume all the way down on pickup 1. I really like the tone possibilities as well as the way all those knobs just call to you when you see it.
Tuners are cheap Kluson knock offs that tune very well after you lube them and adjust the screw on the poll. I have had no problems with them and do not wish to change them out. No, they are not as smooth as "Grovers", or as lame. Sorry.
These had very thin Nitrocellulose finishes that wore off very easily in certain places:
This one shows very little (to no) fret wear. It does have this tasteful looking wear mark on the neck. Almost looks like it had some kind of red primer or undercoat. Do any of you guys have any definitive info on this? Comment and let me know. I'm curious to hear what you think.
The Rowe Industries Gold Foil Pickup:
I really like these pickups. Loads of output but still has a jangly, single coil "Harmony" thinness to them. Kind of hard to describe I guess. If you want a '57 Classic sound then do not buy this guitar. Go buy a Gibson.
These pickups usually read about 12k ohms which is pretty hot! I haven't measured mine but they sound great. Check these pickups out on eBay- people are really digging them as of late. You could buy one of these guitars and make money just parting out the pickups on eBay. Don't do that please!
|October 30, 1963|
Still has the original case which is pretty dirty and wouldn't do a very good job protecting it on the road:
The only downside to this example is that it doesn't have an adjustable truss rod.
The later ones ('65 or '66 and later not sure) did have an adjustable truss rod. The neck is actually pretty straight and plays well. It has just a little more relief in it than I would like. Probably would benefit from a fret leveling and crowning but I haven't gotten around to it. I do most of my play between 0 and 9. I'm no lead shredder. It sounds really good with just a little tube compression and nice smooth bluesin'.
See those little wooden spacers? These guitars don't have adjustable poles or pickup heights unless you can make more spacers out of Walnut! I really like the aesthetics of the spacers. They just look really classy and neat.
A note on my pictures: I am not a photographer. I don't know anything about it. My wife has a cool camera that I borrow. Do you have any feedback on how I could get better pictures? Let me know.