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Harptone guitars?

#1 User is offline   Jayla 

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:51 AM

Any of you know anything about or have ever played Harptone acoustic guitars? I'm curious to learn a little bit about them, and there's relatively little info out there (at least, that I can find). I know that Harrison played both a 6- and a 12-string (links below), so I've heard them on record but have never seen or played one. They haven't been made for years, pehaps they're collectors items now, who knows. I'm just curious.

Here's a link to a page containing Harrison's 12-string Harptone, that was recently auctioned, and here's another to a page on Scotty Moore's site -- scroll down to see the 6-string Harptone given to H. by Pete Drake. Lots of other interesting info/pix there as well.

Finally, here's a pick of H. in his guitar room, ca 1980s. The 6-string Harptone is to *his* left, second guitar from the front:

Posted Image

#2 User is offline   TheLiveSoundGuy 

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 02:52 PM

I've heard the name, but that about sums up what I know about them. I'll see what I can find.


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#3 User is offline   TheLiveSoundGuy 

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 02:57 PM

Found this:

From 1961 to 1967, Standel had a short period as a manufacturer of stringed instruments.

Actually Standel never made instruments, but the name went on a series of good quality electric guitars and at least one hollow body electric bass, built by Sam Koontz at the request of Bob Crooks. Bill Lynch of Prattville, Alambama is the current owner of the electric bass, called a 400-D, serial number 1023L. Some of the instruments were sold as Harptone, Mosrite is also involved but it's not real clear how.


Sam Koontz Guitars
by Wayne Wesley Johnson

Sam Koontz made his first guitar, a classical, in 1959, followed by a solid body bass and carved top jazz guitar in 1960. Since then he had made over 200 additional guitars, each with the unmistakable craftsmanship and sense of design for which Sam was renowned.

Prior to setting up his own shop in Linden, N.J. (1970) Sam worked as a shop foreman for the Framus line importer; later he designed guitars for the Framus factory while working for Philadelphia Music Co. Design work was also done for Martin Co. during this tenure.

Sam was then assigned the task of developing the Standel and Harptone guitar lines, including the manufacturing procedures. In some cases he even designed the machinery which was used to manufacture the instruments. In his Linden shop, he continued to fashion beautiful and beautifully sounding guitars, along with custom work and repairs.


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#4 User is offline   TheLiveSoundGuy 

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 03:03 PM

...and this:

Guitar - General - Standel guitar
Expert: Bill Ruxton - 9/11/2007

Standel was best known as a maker of the first successful transistorized amplifiers. The company was started as ďStandard Electronics,Ē a part-time radio repair business, in electronics engineer Bob Crooksí garage in New Jersey. In the 1950s, Crooks was approached by guitar innovator Paul Bigsby about making amplifiers, and by 1961, Crooks developed a line of powerful solid-state amps that quickly became popular.

In 1966 or 1967, the Harptone company offered to build guitars for Standel, and hired luthier Stan Koontz to design a line of acoustic and electric guitars and basses. These were made at Harptoneís facilities in New Jersey, and according to one source, only about 200 were made.

Around the same time, quality problems with components tarnished the reputation of Standel amps, and by 1970, Crooks sold the company to the distributors, CMI, in Chicago.

I think that CMI may have had some guitars bearing the Standel name made in Japan, but I havenít found anything to document this.

Over many years, Iíve only seen a few Standel electric guitars, and I canít recall ever seeing a Standel acoustic.

Any used guitar is worth only what some buyer is willing to pay for it, and the value is important only if you're buying it, selling it, or insuring it. If it has family history or sentimental value, you canít put a price on that. Condition is also a big factor, and the level of demand for a particular model is another.

A Standel/Harptone 12-string acoustic would be so rare that itís very difficult to establish a value. Because of itís rarity, there is very little brand recognition, and thereby little demand. Without seeing and handling it, I canít offer much else. I strongly suggest that you have it examined by a competent luthier.

Most Harptone products were "budget-grade" instruments, but Koontz's designs for Standel were probably better than Harptone's typical output. A collector might be willing to pay $1000 or more for a high-end New Jersey Standel 12-string in very good-to-excellent condition. A lower-grade Harptone or a Japanese model would be worth much less, but still might be an interesting instrument.

If you email me some pictures to bilrux@aol.com, I might be able to tell you a bit more about it.


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#5 User is offline   TheLiveSoundGuy 

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 03:39 PM

Jackpot!


http://cgi.ebay.com/...p3286.m63.l1177


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#6 User is offline   Jayla 

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 07:34 PM

Thanks, livesoundguy, for all of that info -- very interesting stuff! I've hunted around a bit from time to time but have found very little.

Just a point of clarification: I don't own one and wasn't looking at one to buy, just curious about a guitar used by players I admire (Harrison, Pete Drake). It's interesting to me that guitars used by players of that caliber and stature have pretty much disappeared from sight. This seems especially ironic at a time when there's a sort of obsessive interest in celebrity gear -- I mean, there are entire books and websites devoted to all of the gear the Beatles used, but nary a page about the guitar used to record "All Things Must Pass," for example. (BTW here's Harrison playing his 12-string Harptone at the concert for Bangladesh.)

#7 User is offline   Michealjones 

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 11:44 PM

You've got to read this new book called The Talent Code-- the introduction is about a girl who did a month's worth of practice in five minutes -- there's an excerpt here (The Talent Code)

#8 User is offline   TWilson 

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 03:42 AM

Jayla - watching that video makes me realize how much people like George Harrison are missed. Thanks.
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#9 User is offline   Jayla 

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 12:30 PM

Quote

Jayla - watching that video makes me realize how much people like George Harrison are missed. Thanks.


Yes, I feel the same way. I find myself more and more appreciating his work, though some of his Beatles era songs were already among my favorites. Things of his I love to listen to and play on acoustic:

- Long, long, long (probably my favorite Harrison number)
- Let it down (after the beautiful demo he made for Phil Spector)
- Only a Northern Song
- If I Needed Someone
- Within you without you (it's just one loooonnng G7 chord =D> )

And LiveSoundGuy -- thanks again for your research. Much appreciated. I was also surprised at the idea that the Harptone (at least some models) was considered a "budget" guitar...

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