Guitar - General/old harmony


Hy, the other day at a garage sale I picked up an "old" acoustic guitar for $2.  On the headstock it says (Harmony String Instruments   Chicago, U.S.A.)  Itís a smaller guitar.  I think they call them parlor size?  Its a dark color brown and originally had a silver coating on the finger board.  Around the sound hole is a pretty simple rosette.  A painted on, slim white ring with a thinner black outline.  No pickgaurd, floating bridge, and no strap knob.  The condition is pretty bad. Looks like the neck had way too much tension on it.  There is a crack in the front and the front and back are starting to cleave from the sides.  Oh, and on the inside it says S-34 in a circle.  Itís just stamped on.  It canít be worth much but I would like to know something about it.  When it was made, what it sold for originally.  Stuff like that.  This is more or less for my own curiosity.  I donít plan on selling it unless itís worth more than my house.  I plan to restore it to a playable condition and give it to my son for a first guitar.  The reason I bought it is because of the considerable wear on the front of it from where the playerís hand or pick rubbed.  Also there is a lot of ware on the neck.  It indicates that the life long player was left-handed and held it upside down.  Seems to me a shame to just let such a well-loved guitar sit around and collect dust.

Any info is much appreciated, thank you for your time, Corn Likker Carson

Hi, Corn Likker--

Your guitar was made for Sears by the Harmony Guitar Co. before WWII.  The "S-34" indicates that Harmony made the guitar for the "Spring/Summer season of 1934.

Here is some general info from the Blue Book:

"The Harmony Company of Chicago, Illinois was one of the largest American musical instrument manufacturers. Harmony has the historical distinction of being the largest "jobber" house in the nation, producing stringed instruments for a number of different wholesalers. Individual dealers or distributors could get stringed instruments with their own brand name on it (as long as they ordered a minimum of 100 pieces). At one time the amount of instruments being produced by Harmony made up the largest percentage of stringed instruments being manufactured in the U.S. market (archtops, flattops, electric Spanish, Hawaiian bodies, ukuleles, banjos, mandolins, violins and more).
Harmony was founded by Wilhelm J.F. Schultz in 1892. Schultz, a German immigrant and former foreman of Lyon & Healyīs drum division, started his new company with four employees. By 1884, the number of employees had grown to forty, and Shultz continued to expand into larger and larger factories through 1904. Shultz built Harmony up to a 125 employee workforce (and a quarter of a million dollars in annual sales) by 1915.
In 1916, the Sears, Roebuck Company purchased Harmony, and seven years later the company had annual sales of 250,000 units. Max Adler, a Sears executive, appointed Jay Kraus as vice-president of Harmony in 1925. The following year Jay succeeded founder Wilhelm Schultz as president, and continued expanding production. In 1930, annual sales were reported to be 500,000 units, with thirty-five to forty percent being sold to Sears (catalog sales)."

It sounds like a nice little guitar and it is lucky to have found someone like you to care about it!

If your son would like some free lessons, please visit my site--Everything is Absolutely Free!

Best Wishes,
May Music Studio  

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Lynne May


Any question relating to guitar playing: scales, chords, music theory, arpeggios, soloing, chord progressions, key signatures, buying a guitar, guitar tabs, writing guitar music, musical styles including rock, blues and classical. I can no longer answer questions as to the value of a guitar. Please do not flag your question as "Private", as this prevents other readers from benefiting. I will no longer answer "private" questions.


I have played guitar for 30 years. Fifteen years of that time I spent traveling nationwide as a performer. I have owned and operated May Music Studio in Washington state for the last 20 years. I also teach piano and drums. Recently I have started a website which provides absolutely free music lessons:

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