H19 - Silhouette|
Electric solid body - Redburst
Production year(s) : 1963-1967 (other years possible, not verified)
The finest Harmony solid body. Hagstrom vibrato and bridge. Silvertone 1478 version has different pickups, bridge, vibrato. Holiday version has no vibrato. Note the body shape very different (larger) from the "Bobkat" H15 series. Production ended sooner than the smaller "bobkat" line, But late H16 (coloured) models also had the larger body of the H19.
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35 comments | Add your comment !
- Ben - 2006-01-01
I have one of these H19's, and they are some of the best sounding guitars i've ever heard! I found mine at a garage sale for $30, and i've restored it to it's origional condition, and kept everything original except the knobs, which i replaced with some knurled steel ones, and it still plays beautifully! One of the best made!!!
- Harpin Stevie B - 2006-02-12
I just bought an H19, really beat up but I brought her back and replaced the tremelo arm with a Fender one. I tapped the hole where the original set screw was and it fit beautifully.Excellent guitar, dated March 1966. One month before I was born!
- John L. - 2006-03-28
This guitar is also a very pro guitar! The Hagstrom tail vibrato stays in tune and the sustain is unreal! I am a rhythm guitar player though, and this does not work for me for rhythm playing. BUT if you are a lead guitarist this is your baby!! I have some friends who could not put it down-it is a great sounding instrament...John
- ricardo - 2006-11-21
i loves my "new" h-19, got it all fixed up. shape and feel is so nice. some say the neck is overly thick but i like it, plays easy & sustains forever! right now i'm playing through an old noisey heath kit amp, but i'm gonna ditch it for a fender twin at some point.
- ricardo - 2006-12-09
oh yeah, i should say that the tuners on mine were shot, so i had my local shop put a set of new grover deluxe tuners in (vintage-style ones w/ the closed box around the tuner). they said the spacing of the holes was not standard, and not just any set of tuners would fit. i would recomend this.
- sikkelee - 2007-05-08
i found this guitar under the stairs at my grandpas house and pick it up and started to play it ..its awsome! its sounds so smoth it still has the original strings, knobs, pick ups , everything! and not 1 scrach on it im glad he gave it to me haha
- alex - 2007-07-02
just bought this off of my friend for 200$. worth every cent in my book. the tone can be so sad at times, its really flawless. the pickups are great (but completely unsheilded). I wish sheilding them didnt mean taking out the rivets and thus ruining the collectability.
- cooley - 2007-07-04
i had one of these in 1969 and sold it in the 70's. i would sure love to have it back :)
- Chris Christiansen - 2008-02-22
This was my very first electric guitar. When my family moved to London, England in 1964, I acquired a Vox AC 30 combo amp that had been traded in by the Hollies at Jennings Musical Supply for a Vox AC 100 stage amp. Loved my little Harmony. Don't remember what I did with it over the years. I've since owned (and lost) many fine guitars, but will always remember that little solidbody. Too bad I didn't appreciate it more when I was younger. Now I have a Vox AC 100 (big amp), but no Harmony. Oh well............
- cjonesplay - 2008-04-01
This was my first guitar, handed down to me by my father. I always hated the way the saddle pieces would never stay on the bridge (the screws fell out, too) and the pickups hummed horribly. It never stayed in tune and broke strings like crazy. The perfect guitar to pay your dues on! That being said, it's probably the reason I ended up becoming a musician (that, and Hendrix's Third Stone From the Sun). My dad always said he could have just spent $50 more and bought a Fender Mustang - he probably should have.
A friend of mine "borrowed" this guitar, and I got it back 7 years later after his mom cleaned out their recently flooded basement. The fingerboard seperated from the neck completely, the tuners were rusted beyond repair, and the body suffered innumerable damages which I don't need to go into. I took the whole thing apart, and now it sits in my garage waiting for a miracle to happen. This guitar and I definitely have a love/hate relationship - thanks to this site for helping me bring back the memories.
- bassmann - 2008-06-15
I got a BLACK H19 (factory finish) for 55$ at a hospital thrift store. It was made exactly one month after Kennedy's assasination (dec 22 63). I LOVE it!
- Firebrand - 2008-08-21
I was given one of these almost 4 years ago, and it took some time to be able to ID it. I thought it to be "another knock off junk guitar" when it was presented...then I plugged it into my rig. wOw! My son HAD been playing it, but I bought him a Washburn to swap. I can't wait until this guitar is playable again! The strings slip out of place on the trem and the tuners are shot, but what a lovely find, especially since it found me!
- guitarpete - 2008-09-10
My cousin Peter started my lifelong love of guitar with this instrument. We added a Silvertone amp and it was "Watch Out Ventures!" or anyone else with a cool sound. This was back in 1964 when the whole thing started taking off in garages, back rooms, friday night dances and every local party. Everyone seemed to be in a band or bandS. Farfisa organs, danelectro, vox, it was all happening. What a time to grow into. Miss you, Pete. Keep rockin' cool.
- Sam - 2009-02-04
I just added one of these to my collection (I also have a H-64, the matching H-25 bass, H-56 Heathkit Rocket, and several old Harmony acoustics.)
I was surprised at the build of this guitar after owning several hollowbodies. The neck, while not slim by today's standards, is much thinner than the others. I would say similar to a Les Paul contour. I believed these pickups to be the same kind as on the Rocket, but they sound much more bright and Fender-ish here (likely because of the solid body).
But with the great amount of sustain here, this is definitely not an immitation Jaguar! This is a very high quality instrument.
- Rory - 2009-06-06
One kick*ss guitar..sustains ( on high gain channels ) way longer than any tele or strat..sounds a hell of a lot better then a gibby or fender anyway you cut it. Intonation can be great, its all in how you set it. Pickups can be microphonic when distorted heavily, I recommend getting your's wax potted.Yea the pickups aren't shielded, but its not bad. Doesn't bother me.
Sad part? Hard to find these anymore, and near impossible to find parts for. Luckly mine is complete ;). If anyone out there is associated with the current line of Harmony guitars, tell them to bring the H19 back! We don't need bobkats man, we need more of these gems.
- Benjamin Duke Larson - 2009-08-31
Found a 64 up in the rafters of my dads quonset. I was looking for something else and spotted the end of a guitar cord hanging out. When I pulled on the cord, two guitars came falling down into my hands, a danelectro and a sunburst H19! Sat on this guitar for years with hopes of restoring it one day and finally got a round to it.
Replaced the bridge with a newer one, as the old one was missing some saddles. Plugged it in and was amazed at the tone.
My H19 still had the original Hagstrom tail piece with the vibrato arm attached!
This is a great guitar.
Currently doing sessions with it:)
- Jeff - 2009-12-11
I have a 65' it was my dads first electric, and i have been restoring it back to good condition. Now that i have it working and playing good, i'm liking it more than my schecter hellraiser!
Great guitar warm tone, even after all these years.
- simon G. - 2010-02-07
It is my first guitar at 1965. My father buy for me in Mexico City. Tank you for let me remembre the early times.
- Steve - 2010-04-08
Nice to share the memories of the H19! This was my first electric in 1964. I sold it to a family member along with my Deluxe Reverb in 1970. When he passed away a few years ago the family gave them both back to me. He took very good care of them. I have considered selling the H19 several times but I just can't seem to part with it a second time. I didn't see anyone mention that the "gold" pickups are actually made by DeArmond.
- Tazredrock - 2010-11-18
My uncle has one of these beauties however, the headstock has the Gibson emblem on it. It is a very sweet vintage guitar! He bought it new back in the 60's and the pick guard has a date of 1962! can't remember the month and day though. He also has a early 60's fender bassman and a 65 gibson dove all which he is the original owner and well taken care of after all these years. I love this vintage gear!
- Robb23 - 2011-01-26
I recently acquired one of these as a gift and I have to say that in terms of tone this guitar produces some VERY warm and first rate options. Nice bound neck with MOP inlays. Stays in tune like a champ. Cant say I'll gig with it, but its certainly a keeper.
- Laskey24 - 2011-02-01
This was a guitar that my father bought well before I was born (as seems to be common to most on this page!) and when I started to play guitar back in the early 90's I played this guitar for a while but it was more of a novelty piece than a “real” electric guitar to me (Me and my friends would call it “The F.O.G.” for F*ckin' Old Guitar!). I continued to play throughout the years (acoustic mostly) off and on, whatever and the F.O.G. was laid to the side once again... However, I recently have it in my possession again! Once I changed the strings and did some small maintenance work on the fret boards (inlays were warped a bit) it has come alive and I have fell in love with it!!! We recently plugged it into some high end gear my friends have and they (who are much better guitar players than myself and have had their hands on some high end stuff!) fell in love with it as well, both the feel and the “vintage” sound!! The guitar has moved from a novelty (even a punch-line at times) to a classic!!! Thanks for all the other comments posted and thanks to this site because, until now, I never knew much about the guitar except that it was a Harmony (name still on the headstock but fading) and that it was older than me!! I can’t share the recent developments with the guitar with my Dad but if I could I’m sure he would get a chuckle out of it...
- rickyb - 2011-02-03
What an incredible site. This was my first real electric guitar I got at a pawn shop around 1969.( I was 14) I was always kind of ashamed of owning it because all my buddies were playing Gibsons and Fenders handed down from their older brothers.I hated the pickups because of noise, humm, etc. and replaced them with Gibson and Fender Humbuckers and man what a sound. After that all my buddies wanted was to play my old H19 modified. Haaah
- G - 2011-07-12
My first guitar as a teenager. My mom bought it for me from a neighbor for $30. I sold it off a couple years later for $30 because it wasn't "metal" enough for the 80's. 25 years later.....such regret.
- the flying dutchman - 2012-02-26
This was my first decent guitar and was metallic blue when purchased from Sears where my Dad worked at the time. After some years a piece of paint chipped off revealing some good looking wood beneath a thick red base coat. I decided to chip it all off and finish it natural. The body seemed to be an alder core with a skin of birch or maple on the top and back. I cut the pickguard out around the pickups to allow space to lower the action then put a couple coats of varnish on it. After I got "better" guitars, it sat unused for 40 years, the last 15 in a humid shed. I cleaned it up last night, restrung it, plugged it in through my current rig and WOW what a sound! Everything works! The pickups have nice warmth, openness and bite in the various positions. It's a real twang master. From now on it will stay out on a stand in my studio ready to rock. I reconnected with an old friend who knew me when this was my main and only axe. He remarked that I showed him you didn't need a great guitar to make great music. I realize now that the complement is due equally to this wonderful instrument. Thanks Harmony.
- Ernie - 2012-06-09
I got a new bobkat ( Holiday- Aldens brand)
for christmas 1965. I always wanted the fancier
Silhouette. By the time I could afford to buy one, Harmony had gone out of business. I just
recently got a real Harmony Silhouette (Hagstom
wammy bar and all)off EBay. The finish is a little rough but it plays and sounds great. Frets and fingerboard are like new.I really like the DeArmond tone and the near paralel fingerboard.I have never found a guitar with the neck and action like the old American made Harmonies. I realize this is subjct to taste but as for me you can't beat Harmony. I also recently got double cut away two pickup Rocket.
- Ralph L - 2013-01-08
I resurrected mine from my Dad's house. I t has a few years on it. I think I got it in 65. Great guitar...planning a full restoration.
- 9fingers - 2013-07-04
I have played electric guitar for 45 years and own dozens of nice ones (Fender, Ric, PRS, Hamer, Gibson, G&L, Parker - you get the idea).
I work on guitars a lot & found a Silhouette that needed work; a pickguard (the old one had shrunk breaking all the corners off), tuners taken apart & cleaned & lubed, truss rod adjustment, & a lot of black lacquer touch-up where paint had simply flaked of the ends.
It took me a bit to understand the Hagstrom whammy bridge. The screw that adjusts the spring has to be tight enough that the knife edge top plate of the tailpiece sits firmly on its base plate when the bar is not depressed. Otherwise it will NOT hold tune at all. So it is really a "down only" whammy system but works nicely and is really stable that way.
So- plugged in this guitar has a glorious rich deep clean tone. The neck pickup is huge and the bridge is not harsh or "ice-picky". Cranked through a 70's type Marshall (not super cranked, just a singing blues & rock tone) this is the richest sounding guitar I have ever owned. Beautiful complex tone full of harmonics from both pickups. Touch responsive and soulful.
And with a slide (on either pickup)- whoa!! Made for a slide. The Rowe-DeArmond pickups are killer! They do hum a bit as they are single coils but what a tone.
The Silhouette is great to play. it is the only guitar I ever played that has the same neck profile all the way to the body- it does not get wider or thicker. So the nut end feels a bit full & the body end feels a bit thin compared to "normal" but it plays great. The truss rod did need a good bit of tightening (1/4" nut & a very tight fit, so I had to use a thin wall nut driver on the truss rod nut). The frets are about .042" high, not super small & I can bend & shake well on it. The tuners are & will remain stiff even after a cleaning & lube but they work. I don't want to drill any new holes to replace them. The strap buttons are ridiculous tiny cheap hollow plastic things. I did have to replace those to keep from dropping the guitar.
Luckily, these guitars are not for everyone. It feels good playing a great sounding guitar that isn't like everyone else's
I guess you can tell I like this guitar.
- alan - 2013-11-06
my friend let me borrow his that his brother bought him new way back in the 60's. It's a very pretty thing to see plus the sustain is just incredible. It's kind of heavy but it's really a treasure.
- RB Jones - 2014-02-24
I'm CJonesplay's dad, from post above. I noticed that the Silvertone company has come out with a replica of the Sears version of the H19 using a Bigsby pickup. It's inspired me to get this old thing back in playing condition. When I bought mine back in 64 or 65 it took more than half of all the money I made on my paper route. As my son said, I could have bought a Mustang for $50 more, but I just didn't have it. I really wanted a Stratocaster but $300 was an unobtainable sum. You were lucky to make 50 cents an hour when you were 16 years old and your dad didn't make much more than that. I couldn't afford an amp so my dad took a hi-fi amp he had made and built a cabinet using an old radio speaker. Distortion was a thing nobody wanted at that time; loud and clean was in. But I was using it because I didn't have a choice.
- Rich - 2014-03-26
Had a 65 since my dad bought for me for $50 including an amp. that was forty two years ago. haven't taken it out for over a decade. Stripped an refinished about 30 years ago, replace pick ups and pick guard, overall I did a horrible job. But I kept all the original parts and plan a full restoration this year. It's a great sounding guitar and worth the effort it'll take.
- Robert - 2014-08-26
My parents purchased this model for me in 1966 for Christmas. I was 13 and I still own and play this guitar. It is still all original and plays very well. I will never give up this guitar!
- Rulon - 2014-11-30
I'm fortunate that my sister got me one of these secondhand as a Christmas present. The guitar plays flawlessly, and the jangly single coil vibe of the DeArmond pickups is just pure magic. If you see one of these excellent guitars awaiting purchase, just get it. Made in USA, baby!
- Jeff - 2015-08-03
I recently completed work on a project H19. Someone had stripped the original finish and added their own "artwork" to it, a lot of intricate hand detailing with an ultra-fine sharpie pen. On the back is a pretty good rendition of Mr. Zig Zag of cigarette-rolling paper fame, along with names of bands in their logos; Doors, Rush, Pink Floyd, etc. I kept the back as it was and restored the front to a red-burst finish. The previous owner had also altered the headstock to a Fender pattern(sigh). I overlaid it with black pick guard material and put a solid chrome 3-D "Harmony" nameplate on it. Found a Hagstrom vibrato, and fashioned a whammy bar from a metal shelf support rod. I hooked up two original DeArmond mustache pickups to an original Silhouette harness and loaded it all on a reproduction pick guard to complete my "Frankenharmony". Oh, I used to have an original H19 that I bought in 1971 for 75 bucks. Never appreciated it fully, always had Fender-envy of my roommate's Strat. I actually GAVE it away...
Well, this reborn guitar looks great, even if not totally original, and it just screams dirty like my old one! Sounds incredible through both my tube amp and my big Behringer keyboard amp. I gig with my H78, but as great as that guitar truly is, sometimes I need the solid-body sound and will add this to the set list for sure. And interestingly, the acoustic I use in the band is an old Opus X Sovereign, which has the same slim neck as the H78 and my H19. That neck is a bit tight above the 12th fret, but not a problem on the acoustic, and as the rhythm guy I'm seldom that high on my electric playing. The H19 screams up there too!
Now all I need to do is switch my Gretsch 12 for a Harmony H79...
- PJ - 2016-09-14
Are there versions of these guitars with Holiday (not Harmony) printed on the headstock?