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  1. #1

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    There's a really nice one being sold locally. He knows what he has so it's no bargain but $900 Canadian is only about $750 US and that's still a pretty reasonably priced guitar if the size and specs are right. I'm also curious about the gold foils. How noisy are they? Can they do a decent jazz tone? etc. All comments appreciated.
    Harmony Rocket '65 with gold foil pickups ... anyone know the lowdown?-harmony65-jpg

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  3. #2

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    harmony dearmond gold foils (different from teisco gf's) are great pups..they have a very broad range...loud and relatively clean ..but great pushed as well...have high resistance due to very thin wire used...in the p-90 area as far as single coil noise

    i just posted (in another thread) this vid with jimmy james using one...he has a humbucker in the bridge spot..but looks like he plays in middle position



    harmonys are also nice for fingerpickers since the necks don't taper too much...stays fairly the same width from nut to body joint

    nice guitar!

    cheers

    ps- just found this very thorough write up by pup maestro dave hunter

    Classic Gear: Gold-Foil Pickups | GuitarPlayer

  4. #3

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    I tried one once. That was enough. The pickups were incredibly noisy, much more so than any other single coil I've played, and they had this very raucus/dirty sound even at low gain/volume settings. Can't hurt to try one, but I would never buy one without trying with the intention of playing clean-tone jazz on it.

    John
    Last edited by John A.; 02-18-2021 at 05:25 PM.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    harmony dearmond gold foils (different from teisco gf's) are great pups..they have a very broad range...loud and relatively clean ..but great pushed as well...have high resistance due to very thin wire used...in the p-90 area as far as single coil noise

    i just posted (in another thread) this vid with jimmy james using one...he has a humbucker in the bridge spot..but looks like he plays in middle position



    harmonys are also nice for fingerpickers since the necks don't taper too much...stays fairly the same width from nut to body joint

    nice guitar!

    cheers

    ps- just found this very thorough write up by pup maestro dave hunter

    Classic Gear: Gold-Foil Pickups | GuitarPlayer
    Thanks. Molly Miller sounds great in that Guitar Player article.

  6. #5

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    she's playing the new harmony line...made in the heritage factory!!!...pups are not quite the same as the vintage s goldfoils!..tho tone is in ballpark

    cheers

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    she's playing the new harmony line...made in the heritage factory!!!...pups are not quite the same as the vintage s goldfoils!..tho tone is in ballpark

    cheers
    She actually got me to go to their site to look. She sounded really good. I've heard really nice things about the ones being made at the Heritage factory.

  8. #7

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    I also found this on the modern Harmony site. I think this sounds fabulous.


  9. #8

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    My only experience of gold-foil pups is the guitar I found for my great-granddaughter - a rather elderly Teisco-type with one pickup. In setting it up I got to get to know the instrument a bit. The sound was very articulate, with a complex upper-midrange edge - not harsh, just clear - the type of tone a nice spring reverb really enhances. As far as "jazz tone" goes, that's ear of the hearer territory, but I was able to dial in a nice mellow tone with a bit of knob-twirling on the instrument and amp. I've found long, cheap cords, preferably cloth-covered (or better yet, coiled!) tone-suck the harshness away, as well.

    I've always craved a Harmony/Silvertone Rocket or such with about four or five pickups and a dozen switches and knobs, preferably in that rouge et noir splatburst.

    Or just Black with Ivory appointments. Or green sparkle.

    With my wide-panel tweed Deluxe and my El Pescadoro pedal I think I'd be set.

  10. #9
    I had a h54 with the moustache gold foils for a bit . The are mounted to the top of the guitar so there is no pickup hole. The run the wire in to the f hole and can be fairly muddy good for blues or Indy rock . But really they are a one trick pony and they get boring after a while. People seem to forget they are just a cheap guitar . They where made cheaply , play like a cheap guitar and sound just as cheap . But nevertheless they are cool.


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  11. #10

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    I've got the H59, an early 60s model with the three Rowe/DeArmond gold foil pickups and with six knobs. Other than that and the tobacco sunburst, it looks to be the same as the one you're considering. As noted above, the pickups are mounted on the top, though the wires are usually covered by a pickguard, which seems to have been removed based on the photo you provided. The H59 has a rotary pickup switch, enabling each individually or all at once. I just played mine with the bridge and neck pickups engaged. It's not a Gibson tone, not a Fender tone, something between perhaps. Personally, I like these pickups, they are not noisy at all and can be quite clear to my ears. Oddly, they seem to run "hot," for lack of a better term, in that the tone has a bit of "hair" on it going into the amp. However, they clean up on an amp with more headroom. I'm not a technician and so don't know how to describe their output in more accurate terms. The neck is narrow and thick, perhaps what is usually described as D shaped. Your photo doesn't show the headstock, but mine says "steel reinforced neck." I think some later models will have a truss rod. There's some attention given to Harmony Rockets, they seem to have a niche, so a little search around can probably yield more info than I have been able to provide, but I hope this is helpful.

  12. #11

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    I used to play with a buddy who had one of the 2 pickup rockets. Pickups sounded great. On the noisy side. Took a lot of work to make that guitar more playable. I couldn't get used to the narrowness of the fretboard. Doesn't seem much wider up by the body than it is at the nut. So not for me, though I like the tones.

    That narrow neck also put me off another Harmony (actually Silvertone, but Harmony made) guitar I've always liked. The 1446, with minihumbuckers. Love the sounds, just can't get comfortable with it.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by silvertonebetty
    I had a h54 with the moustache gold foils for a bit . The are mounted to the top of the guitar so there is no pickup hole. The run the wire in to the f hole and can be fairly muddy good for blues or Indy rock . But really they are a one trick pony and they get boring after a while. People seem to forget they are just a cheap guitar . They where made cheaply , play like a cheap guitar and sound just as cheap . But nevertheless they are cool.


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    I like cheap guitars. They fit my budget. Something for every taste and budget, say I.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    I like cheap guitars. They fit my budget. Something for every taste and budget, say I.
    Yeah I found mine for $400 . If you can get one for a decent price then for sure grab it because they are getting hard to come by


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  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by mad dog
    I used to play with a buddy who had one of the 2 pickup rockets. Pickups sounded great. On the noisy side. Took a lot of work to make that guitar more playable. I couldn't get used to the narrowness of the fretboard. Doesn't seem much wider up by the body than it is at the nut. So not for me, though I like the tones.

    That narrow neck also put me off another Harmony (actually Silvertone, but Harmony made) guitar I've always liked. The 1446, with minihumbuckers. Love the sounds, just can't get comfortable with it.
    I heard last night about the fingerboard basically staying the same width all the way up and that pretty much killed my interest.

  16. #15

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    I don't know about the new ones, but in the olden days you could pick up those guitars for $100 easy. They were very basic guitars that were decently constructed, but nothing special. I recommended them to my beginner guitar students. The action, intonation and sound were all acceptable, but nowhere close to a Gibson, and certainly not a Soloway. They stood out because they were inexpensive new guitars that were actually playable. In the pre-CNC days most cheap guitars were real dogs.

    I don't know what Heritage has done with them. It could be a completely different animal now.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan0996
    I don't know about the new ones, but in the olden days you could pick up those guitars for $100 easy. They were very basic guitars that were decently constructed, but nothing special. I recommended them to my beginner guitar students. The action, intonation and sound were all acceptable, but nowhere close to a Gibson, and certainly not a Soloway. They stood out because they were inexpensive new guitars that were actually playable. In the pre-CNC days most cheap guitars were real dogs.

    I don't know what Heritage has done with them. It could be a completely different animal now.
    Probably a sign of how old I am but in the old days I picked up a Gibson ES125 for $100

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    Probably a sign of how old I am but in the old days I picked up a Gibson ES125 for $100
    Wow, when I started looking for 125s they were around $1,000. I couldn't scrape that much together at the time. Of course, in those days I could never buy a guitar or amp without trading in another. That was how my '62 strat and I parted company.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan0996
    Wow, when I started looking for 125s they were around $1,000. I couldn't scrape that much together at the time. Of course, in those days I could never buy a guitar or amp without trading in another. That was how my '62 strat and I parted company.
    But for me the "old days" was 1964.

  20. #19

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    How things have changed! When I had my retail store in the 70's and 80's, we'd have these hanging on the wall for $75 and couldn't sell them. Lots of things that used to be cheap are bringing big money nowadays - guess I shoulda kept some of that stuff. Had Bassman and Bandmaster heads stacked 12 high for $125 ea. The store I worked in before opening mine had a left handed '54 black LP Custom (fretless wonder) hanging there for $150 - couldn't sell it - also an ice tea L-4C finally sold for about $400 - this was '72-'73 era.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    But for me the "old days" was 1964.
    Me too. And those old days were quite different from now in Europe. Back then Gibsons and Fenders were not commonly seen i here. Both Brian Jones and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones used Harmony guitars in their first years before they went on tour in US and was exposed to especially Gibson/Epiphone. There were none in London shops (and maybe they couldn't afford them either at that time). John Lennon bought his Rickenbacker while the Beatles was in Hamburg. George Harrison bough his "first good guitar", a Gretsch Dou Jet, in 1961 from a steward on a Cunard liner docking i Liverpool. From around 1963-64 Gibsons and Fenders became more common in European instrument shops, but German instruments like Hoyer and especially Höfner was also common. In Scandinavia where I lived, Levin was a big name and they had some georgeus looking archtops back then which made me drool in front of the shop windows. I went to a guitar show in Copenhagen with my father in 1964 when I was 12 years old and I especially remember trying out a blonde 1 PU Sal Salvador model. The man at the Levin stand remarked that there was something for me to consider - if I could persuade my father. But we didn't have that kind of money so when they gave me a guitar the following Christmas it was a cheap DDR made Musima classical model. If anything, it strengthened my finger and hand muscles with its high action and it got me started - and, hey, it was a guitar.. three years later I scraped money together from my paper route and bought a Höfner 456 at a bric-a-brac shop. It was only in 1973 I got my first Gibson (a 175 which I still have).

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldane
    Me too. And those old days were quite different from now in Europe. Back then Gibsons and Fenders were not commonly seen i here. Both Brian Jones and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones used Harmony guitars in their first years before they went on tour in US and was exposed to especially Gibson/Epiphone. There were none in London shops (and maybe they couldn't afford them either at that time). John Lennon bought his Rickenbacker while the Beatles was in Hamburg. George Harrison bough his "first good guitar", a Gretsch Dou Jet, in 1961 from a steward on a Cunard liner docking i Liverpool. From around 1963-64 Gibsons and Fenders became more common in European instrument shops, but German instruments like Hoyer and especially Höfner was also common. In Scandinavia where I lived, Levin was a big name and they had some georgeus looking archtops back then which made me drool in front of the shop windows. I went to a guitar show in Copenhagen with my father in 1964 when I was 12 years old and I especially remember trying out a blonde 1 PU Sal Salvador model. The man at the Levin stand remarked that there was something for me to consider - if I could persuade my father. But we didn't have that kind of money so when they gave me a guitar the following Christmas it was a cheap DDR made Musima classical model. If anything, it strengthened my finger and hand muscles with its high action and it got me started - and, hey, it was a guitar.. three years later I scraped money together from my paper route and bought a Höfner 456 at a bric-a-brac shop. It was only in 1973 I got my first Gibson (a 175 which I still have).
    We're the same age but our experiences, shaped by our locations, are very different. I grew up in Winnipeg, Canada. No one in Canada was building guitars so it was all imports and our biggest trading partner, then as now, was the US. Gibson, Fender, Gretsch, Rickenbacker, were thought of as the high end with Harmony, Silvertone as the mid range with Kent and other inexpensive Japanese guitars as the low end. My parents took me to a local pawn shop in 1964 to buy my first good guitar and they had a Gibson ES125 for $110. Lenny Breau lived in Winnipeg in those days and was the local guitar hero, playing weekly on a couple of locally produced TV shows. He was playing an ES125 in those days and if it was good enough for Lenny, my parents, who knew nothing about guitar, assumed it would be good enough for me. We offered $100. They accepted the offer and that became the guitar I played throughout my teen years. I had no idea that it was a jazz guitar. It was just the guitar we bought at the pawn shop.