1962 Harmony Roy Smeck Stratotone
Manufactured by Harmony in Chicago,
USA, in mid-1962.
Similar to Harmony Stratotone
H49 Jupiter, but different pickups and controls.
Neck and Bridge pickups are similar to
some models found on some Harmony/Silvertone Rockets.
Controls are Neck Volume, Neck Tone, Bridge Volume, Bridge Tone
Rotary pickup selector switch is a 4-way:
1 - neck (full on)
2 - neck + bridge (in phase)
3 - bridge (full on)
4 - bridge (slight attenuation?)
The tones are rich and meaty, quite spectacular. Position #1 reminds me
of a dark-sounding P90, really
full and fat sounding. Position #3 is almost as aggressive as a good
Tele bridge pickup, while position #4
is just a tamed down version of this. #2 is somewhat like the middle
position on a Tele, or 2/4 on a Strat,
the neck sound dominates, but the bridge brightens it up a bit...it's
the most polite sound on the guitar.
Above are shots of the front and rear.
There's a little flame in the top if the light hits it right.
The back and neck are finished in an
differing from the H49 Jupiter which was sunburst.
The pick guard is unique and the points often break off (2 of them in
Another weakness of this hollow
Stratotone design is the thin side walls.
There were several cracks here already so I installed a Les Paul style
jack plate that is rock solid.
Very interesting pickups. The
originals in this guitar read open on the DMM indicating a broken
wire inside. I disassembled them in a repair attempt but was
unsuccessful (more on this below).
These replacements are from another Harmony guitar from 1964 and are
style for this
model. They both read about 10.25K ohms and are LOUD. Since the
rivetted to the pick
guard, I needed to use a drill to remove them.
The new pickups are screwed directly into the body of the guitar. All
the original holes
in the pick guard were used so it looks fairly original. During pickup
installation, I also
installed new 500KA CTS pots and Orange Drop tone caps (0.015uF neck,
Here's one of of the original pickups
taken apart. From L to R:
rivets that held the enclosure together, the chrome cover, paper
insert, bobbin, brass spacer.
[Left] This shows the pickup
with the cover removed. The shield from the cable is soldered to the
and the hot lead is connected
to a copper strip. The coil is covered with the tan-coloured tape.
[Right] This shot has the same pickup
tilted up slightly. I've removed the tape and copper strip. The RED
points to the thin wire exposed from positive end of the coil (almost
impossible to see). The pressure of the copper
strip against this small wire is the only connection on the + side of
the pickup! I tested this connection and it was
good - so the problem was elsewhere.
This photo shows the ground connection
for the start of the pickup coil. I think the negative end of the
coil should be connected to this point (there's a blob of solder
intended for something), but I couldn't confirm
whether it was actually connected or not.
The top of the bobbin is just thin black plastic and if you pry it up
you can see the wire coil undeneath.
Finally, here's the original Harmony alligator case...