H174 - Classic|
Production year(s) : 1959-1967 (other years possible, not verified)
Top of the line classic model. Spruce top, mahogany body, rosewood overlay on the head.
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|All solid woods|
Related to this model
23 comments | Add your comment !
- Michael Flory - 2005-11-17
Many thanks for your posting of the database. When I was in high school my parents bought me a Harmony Model 174 (date-coded 1967). I remember their efforts to make ends meet, and I always assumed that the 174 was the economy model. I was very touched to learn, nearly 40 years later, that they'd bought me the top of the line. I've still got it and it still sounds good.
- Pat - 2005-12-09
Me too: sounds great and after all these years my son is now playing it with a vengance. Thanks for the oppurtunity to comment on this guitar.
- Dawn Marie McCandless - 2007-09-15
I found & bought a well used 1967 model. The poor old thing has a couple of cracks in the sides. One is in the waist from poor shipping service. The heel was lifted and the other crack starts there and runs down the shoulder. I glued things back together as best as possible. The finish has fine crackles all through it from heat, age or whatever it went through before. The fret board has an ever so slight relief in it from it's rough past. However, it is still an easy guitar to play. There is a slight indented scoop in the back side of the neck before the octave to make the grip easier. It is how the guitar was made. It makes playing the octaves a lot easier for my short fingers even though the strings are a tad high there because of the neck damage. The guitar has a wonderful deep mellow sound. You can feel the whole guitar vibrate for the longest time after it is strummed. The harmonics are beautiful. With the onset of arthritis I had given up a mid-line Brazillian made classical thinking I could never play a classical guitar again. Well, this guitar has given me new hope! The colors of the old woods are absolutely beautiful. For anybody owning one of these-the old woods are too delicate for steel strings. Do as the label says and use only good quality nylon strings!
- tarzi - 2008-06-23
My father bought me a H174 in 1962 when I began classical guitar lessons. From the start it had a beautiful rich and mellow tone, and it kept getting better and better over the years. My father bought the best he could afford for me in those days, and he made the right choice. I've played that H174 up until the early 80s, when I stopped playing altogether - for no good reason. I gave it to a broke musician friend who needed a guitar. He promptly sold it... I am 63 now, and taking up the guitar again. Boy, do I wish I still had my H174...
- Jerry - 2008-08-13
I acquired a '66 H174 that was rescued from somebody's attic. It was there for many years. I had to repair the bridge (the previous owner had removed the saddle and had the strings sitting directly on the bridge). Fortunately, it's still playable and sounds great!
- Grandpa Jimmy - 2008-08-23
I have had my 174 since 1965. I had to replace the tuning pegs/machine heads back in the 80's and it has suffered a few cracks and smacks over the years. The darn thing still plays and when I get out my folk songs I can finger pick them like I used to. I have a 3 year old grandson who strums it now ( have it tuned to E) All the kids started out with this one first. Would not give it up now if I had to. I think the music store ripped me off because I paid $150.00 for mine and this page says it was worth $100.00 Oh Well, too late now.
- netspirit - 2009-06-19
I just bought one online for $25. The guy I bought it from did not seem to know much about it.I was very excited to find out that it is a Chicago-made Harmony.I don't think mine was played much because its action was very high. I lowered it and it is more playable. It will never be a true concert classical guitar, but what a wonderful tone it has from the solid woods!
- Dow D. - 2010-01-11
I just got me a 174 off Ebay. Super nice looking, definately taken care of. It's a '66 model, and I think it sat in the case for over 30 years....because....it sounds awful. It has no tone, it sounds dead. Nothing is clear or bright..just real dull and gutless. And the action on the neck is sky high...cant finger pick on it. This is pretty much the same guitar Jerry Reed used, without the 3rd ring around the sound hole and no prismatone...I've got to say that I am really let down. I've played laminate top guitars with better sound.
- Tom - 2010-02-17
I recently found a H174 in a Goodwill Store. It had some problems long crack in the lower rim.It had obivously been dropped. After sealing the crack and putting on a new set of strings..all I can say is what a great guitar! When you play one of the basses the entire body vibrates and its extremely low with a very pleasant tone. I would like to have 5 more just like it.
- gregg - 2010-10-30
I just acquired a Harmony 174 and it looks old. I absolutely love it. I have a whole bunch of "good" guitars but I can't put this one down. It has such a rich low end and the high end is not too bright. It's there, but mellow. Not much "attack" as they say. And it just looks so cool and is full of vibe. You can tell the wood is very high end. Have only had it a few weeks, but i can tell you already it's a buddy for life.
Can anyone tell me how to tell the year it was made? is it possible? Thanks!
- Brian - 2011-03-22
I purchased my H174 about 5 months ago. I saw it sitting in a local music store. With a few "army" stickers. I believe Beatle Baley? Anyways. I had a crack in the top, but for 30 bucks? The crack can be fixed. But I bought the gutiar for only ONE reason. History!
- lilleyen - 2011-05-23
I was recently given a 1966 (stamped inside), model 174 by a good friend, that was stored in a damp basement for many years, in a hard case with no lining etc. The case was ABS and broken.
The guitar has many scars and scratches, a few cracks in the top above the sound hole.
But the neck was straight, no major structural damage, bridge good and well attached etc., so I I decided to make it mine. Haven't played for 30 years, so almost starting over.
I put new tuners and strings on it, bought a new soft case and an electronic tuner and it sounds great. No buzzing or rattling.
Deep mellow tone, just the way I like it.
(I don't like harsh tinny sounding classical guitars.)
AND, it's solid wood throughout, (mahogany and spruce as near as I can tell), no laminates!
And 45 years for the wood to mellow too (a bonus)!
Something to treasure that's for sure.
I used to have a Yamaha classical guitar that I bought new, and I was forever fussing with the finish and polishing it to keep it perfect.
While I will take good care of this 174, I can relax and enjoy it, don't have to worry about scratching or marring the finish, just play it, and love it.
So glad I found this site too. Didn't quite realize what a treasure I had, until I started doing research on it.
- Henk - 2013-01-10
I got one for $80 on eBay. The action was high, very high. I lowered it a lot and now it plays like a dream. The guitar is very light and it is very loud. A great guitar in my collection.
- Michael - 2013-02-20
My brother had a H174 back in the late 70's. My Parents got him this guitar used but he really wanted a bass. So he decided to fit the classical with bass guitar strings. He routed the nut and saddle and strung on the bass strings. He was able to make a 6 string bass that actually sounded pretty good. Being just a kid then I didn't know anything about a guitar's structural integrity. Amazingly the guitar held up perfectly well with the added tension. My brother played it a lot thumpin' away as he did. I got the guitar when I was 12 when my brother went away to college and he told me to have fun with it. I lent the converted bass guitar to a friend of mine in high school, and it was returned to me with a giant crater in the soundboard at the bridge and a broken headstock. It ended up in the junk pile after that.
- Robert - 2013-04-21
I bought a H174 at a garage sale a decade ago. It looked good and sounded alright. One string was missing and the basses were rusty. It is date stamped 1964. I restrung it with thicker gauge strings and it sounds real nice. The bass is amazing. Better than my Yamaha classical. This guitar sure can vibrate! I had an under bridge pick up installed and I play it through an Ampeg 1X15. It will rattle windows and piss off my neighbors:) Pretty amazing for a classical guitar!!
- Joseph Hunt - 2013-05-25
I have a 1965 H174 that my father bought while he was in the navy. He used to play me it for me when I was a child. Good memories.
My younger brother got the guitar after my Dad passed. My brother owns several high end guitars. He left my Dad's in the gargage since it was no value to him.
I took it way and it is now in my home.
I was sad to see it is now damaged
The guitar will be repaired by a guitar craftsman.
I owe to my Dad and my Son whom I will pass the guitar onto.
- - 2013-07-17
I discovered Harmony guitars quiet lately, though I've been playing on acoustic nylon strings guitars (Jerry Reed style) for thirty years ! But I must say that when I started to learn, in the late seventies, it was very difficult for us (in Europe) to know what kind of guitar Jerry Reed was playing… However that may be, I purchased my first classical Harmony guitar last year from an american seller (thanks to Internet). It was a 1970 H173. I still have it and I like it very much. Ever since, I've bought two more (a 1968 model, which is incredibly in mint condition and plays beautifully, and a 1962, in a great shape too, just because '62 is my year of birth…). And then, after months of patient watching, I got my first H174. That was seven months ago. Unfortunately, It arrived damaged from the States, though the packaging was excellent. A gifted french luthier repaired it perfectly. Now, this H174 is the jewel of my collection. Beautiful instrument, nice sound, comfortable fingerboard : I'm in love with it ! And I'm very proud to possess this pretty old product of the Harmony Company. It' a great musical account of the "good old days"… Believe it or not, I purchased since another H174. It looks much older than the first one, has some dings and scratches, but it has lot of charm. It sounds well. That's my short story about Harmony classical guitars. They are incredibly attractive and affordable. I'm a real fan now !
- Greg - 2013-11-05
A childhood friend of mine had one of these Harmony classicals. If I remember right my friend received his guitar as a christmas present sometime in the mid '60s when he was around 10 or 11. He took lessons for about a year and lost interest. He let me "have" his Harmony for a while of which I rocked (but horribly) a lot of pop music of the day: Beatles, The Turtles, The Troggs.... I never took guitar lessons, but basically just tried to play by ear. I wanted an electric guitar and not a weak sounding gut strung acoustic, so I gave my friend back his Harmony. Entering our college years our parents end up scooping up all that "decorated" our old bedrooms, and boxing things to go into an attic or cellar. I lost touch with my friend throughout college. Decades pass, we get old, and surprise with cyperspace we can connect with our lost lost friends. I reconnected with my childhood buddy about five years ago. We started talking about guitars of all things. I mentioned the Harmony gut strung acoustic he had. He told me that he and his sister and brother did a clean out of their parents' home, and he found his old Harmony in the attic, not in a case, on its side, sitting on a rafter covered with pounds of dust and, yikes! the inside of the guitar was chocked full of rat droppings dried urine and walnut shells!!!! He told me that guitar smelled so bad, had a cracked neck. the headstock gnawed and two splits in the soundboard. It's kind of sad but my friend had no choice but to dispose of the old Harmony. Back when we were young we had no idea that a Harmony classical guitar was anything special. Fast forward almost 50 years and these things are selling for more than new!
- Allan - 2015-02-22
I had a Harmony classical that I received on my 9th birthday in the late '70s. It was a full size guitar, (I was tall for my age:), and I remember the guitar having really good volume and strong bass end, enough to make my own body vibrate whenever I played with gusto! And it was pretty easy to play.
I took lessons for 3 years and eventually lost interest in guitar. I ended up giving my Harmony to my younger brother who used the guitar for other activities, instead of music making, like shooting pencils from the guitar strings like it was a bow and arrow! LOL!
Eventually my younger brother didn't want the guitar and he gave the Harmony back to me, and I restrung it with heavier gauge nylons.
It sounded really, really good!
I began playing again, a little, but then I was off to college leaving my Harmony at home.
I hadn't thought about my old Harmony for years until a few years ago I saw on ebay what those things were selling for nowadays. I called my dad and asked him if my old guitar was still in our family home. My dad informed me that 10 years ago he had the entire attic (where my guitar was stored) re-insulated because "the rats disgraced everything up there."
So most of what was stored in the attic had to be disposed of. My dad said that rats had chewed through my guitar's case and made a mini hotel for themselves. And that the case was filled with rat feces, urine, some weird white milky stuff, and snail shells! Rats will indeed consume garden snails and we always had lots of snails in my mom's garden.
Sadly my old guitar is somewhere in landfill. It "died" an untimely and unhappy death.
- Bill - 2015-09-25
I found my H174 at a garage sale recently. It had a couple cracks in the side, so the guy gave it to me for $1.00, including the case. Despite the crack, the finish is very good, for it's age, still high gloss after all these years. I re-strung it, and re-glued the cracks, touched up a few spots. lubricated the tuners. Lo and behold, it has a nice, rich mellow tone. My first real guitar was a Harmony, back in the 60's, and this one resonates with me.
- Ole Geezer - 2018-09-13
Yeah, I've got this model. It still has a beauteous tone, and it's in great shape. It must be from the late 1950s or '62. My parents bought it used. It's a bit odd that the model "H174" is just not there... maybe it's faded, but I see no trace of it. The 2 labels read clearly and are well adhered. Maybe the Harmony factory hired a ghost who put the finishing touches on this Classic, and skipped the step of stamping the model number. As Johnny Cash commented about his brief recording of You are My Sunshine: "It don't matter to me".
- Ricardo - 2019-12-06
what kind strings would you recommend
- Cullen - 2020-05-18
I got a good deal on an h173 from goodwill (the labels aren't always incredibly informative if you don't know what you are looking at), and it has been my living room quiet noodling guitar. Since the h174 is the top of the line, I started searching for an affordable example online. The auction wasn't labeled as h174, but clearly enough people knew what it was to push the price up into the $150 range (with a lifted bridge--which I had the tools to fix). It sounds nice, but I need to fit both with the same strings for a direct comparison.
I was mostly moved to comment because I stumbled on a Silvertone version of the h174 which I haven't found reference to anywhere else. Other than the interior label and the rosette (which I think is actually nicer) it is identical to the Harmony model. I've been through the Sears catalogs from the early 60s, but don't see reference to this model. It came to me in a kind of cool old Japanese chamois-lined leatherette gig bag, but with some fairly dramatic soundboard cracks and a loose brace.I buttoned up those problems, but the damage was too old and grimy to make the fix invisible. I'm waiting for the strings to stabilize to find out how it really sounds...