H173 - Classic|
Production year(s) : 1957-1969 (other years possible, not verified)
49 images in database
mouse over image for file name - click to enlarge
|Body wood||Hardwood (birch ?)|
|All solid woods|
|Body depth||3"3/4||96 mm|
|Neck at nut||2"||51.8 mm|
|Neck at 12th||2"3/8||61.5 mm|
30 comments | Add your comment !
- rlspt - 2005-11-22
my first guitar was a h173. i loved it, there were times when it was my best friend, helped me through some hard times. it was destroyed in a house fire.
though i've had dozens of different guitars since, and usually have 8 or 10 around, just recently i bought another h173. i just like having it...
- harmony help - 2005-12-12
I just bought an h173 and it sounds great!!!The highs are sharp and the lows resonate beautifully.I cant believe these instruments arent woth more.
Theres a number before the h173,what does this number mean?......the numbers 7063 and Iam assuming because of the rich sound that it is a solid top?.
- Southern Harmony - 2006-02-03
What a Guitar for the money. I have owned this Guitar for about 12 years and it plays and sounds great. It is very loud and projects very nice. It is a 1965 model and the wood is in wonderful shape. I have seen these Guitars sell in the $150 to $250 range and it is a true bargain for the quality that you get.
- Gregory Jones - 2006-04-17
I attempt to fingerpick blues on guitars. I was looking for a 12-fret guitar with a slot head. A friend found a 173 in a Dallas pawn shop. It had steel strings so old and rusted they had to have been on there for years. But, the top was fine--no bridge pulling. $50---get it. Several years later with .011's it still has no "classic---he he" damage from living with steel strings. Sounds wonderful throughout the entire range. I wouldn't recommend it----but I didn't do it. Just bought it that way. I love it.
- chris D. - 2006-08-28
my 64 173 was purchased practicaly unused for27 dollars by me in 1988. i had to have it, at any cost, thank god the guys sister didnt want any more. since then i have almost worn it out (had to refret etc. broke out and lost a brace it has been almost every where i have, even picky snobs and proffessionals have complimented its sound, it still sounds irreplaceable to me (only comparable a similar martin @$1000.00, some wide neck gibsons from $1500-3200.00) and what damage diminished in tone has been replaced with undeniable mojo. Willie Nelson signed it but almost worn off. Same w/ Joe Pritchard from the Recipe. It is undeniably my guitar, and the one irreplacable guitar i have. If i had to i would redily pay the fair price of $200.00 for another(and might anyway) and would pay up to 2000.00 if availability demanded. Any custom guitar of this style i could commission would be made to its specifications, i could go on forever.
- muman - 2007-01-05
I have an H173 (66) bought it a Salvation Army Thrift Store for $4.oo I just love it!
- Skippy - 2008-12-30
My mother brought this guitar home in 1969. It is a '65 model. I learned to play on this and still play it now. Sounds warm and full and just gets better the older it gets.
- theguitarmedic - 2009-02-19
I have two of these now. I bought one on Ebay for $45. I was in disbelief at my good fortune. It is a 1960 model and immaculate. I also recently found one at Goodwill (shopgoodwill.com) in Orange County, and got that one for $35. It is a 1969 model. They are identical, except the 1969 model has aftermarket tuning machines. I found tuning machines on eBay that were advertised as Gibson but they're definitely Harmony. I've restored the 1960 to orginal and it is playable and BEAUTIFUL. The 1969 still needs those tuners--which auction ends on 2/21/09. I look forward to restoring it as well. These are great guitars--well built with birch sides and back, and solid spruce tops, mahogany necks, and Brazilian rosewood (now protected) bridge--and possibly ebony or ebonized rosewood fretboard. It is a very similar guitar to sister H174--which is the Harmony version of the guitar made famous by Jerry Reed--the Baldwin guitar (the "Claw"). This guitar is a priceless one to own and has a wonderful heritage. If you own one, count yourself as quite fortunate!!!
- Wingborn - 2009-03-31
Hey, muman. I think you're the winner, but a friend of mine is close. I'm cleaning up an H173 for him that he got at a garage sale for $5.00. Seriously underrated guitar, IMHO.
- Bill - 2009-06-11
I've got the neck off a 3/68 dated H173, and I can see the end grain of the soundboard. It is indeed solid spruce, not a laminate. The back and sides, however, are absolutely plywood. The neck is poplar, or something similar, very greenish.
- Wingborn - 2009-07-15
Hey, Bill. I liked my friend's H173 so much I went and got one of my own. The necks on both of ours are mahogany, and the backs and sides are solid birch. Solid enough that you can see the grain matches from the inside to the outside of the body. His is an F-63 and mine is an S-61.
- Stockton - 2009-09-16
I'm 18, and this was my Dad's starter Guitar. He'd been playing for 30+ years, and I had absolutely no interest in playing until I picked this Guitar up. It's a thing of Beauty.
- t_wanger - 2009-10-02
Been a Harmony fan since my teens. Just bought an H173 on eBay for $65. Wanted nylon strings as my hands are too creaky now for steel. Very nice instrument...spartan in looks, but wonderful tone and good playability. Mine is a s-63, looks like it sat in someone's closet for 40 years, hardly a scratch! Neck looks like stained maple, I don't think it is real mahogany. Fingerboard also appears to be a stained birch or maple in imitation of rosewood. Very sweet instrument, made in USA!
- Dow D. - 2010-02-03
I inherited a '70 H173 a couple of years ago...nice shape...but well played....sounds AWESOME!!! The tone is so deep and rich, very loud and clear...love it! And I bought a '65 model off ebay a couple weeks ago...it is very nice looking too, but it didnt have the same great tone of the other one I had. I've been playing the tar out of it everyday now and it is coming back to life....knocks the socks off the 174 I have. I cut down the bone saddle to lower the action so I can finger pick Jerry Reed style...super slick little guitar!
- TMc73 - 2010-04-04
I inherited a H173 from my mother today. I remember trying to play it when I was just a kid over thirty years ago. It came in an old soft case which I will probably discard due to its condition.
I will have to restring it as it only has three strings on it, but after tuning those three strings I could not believe how beautiful it sounded!
It looks like it suffered some water damage as the back has a slight pucker aprroximately 1/4" long but other than that it is in pretty good shape.
It may not be the most beautiful guitar in the world, but damn if it doesn't sound the part!
- WFB from Austin - 2012-02-26
My parents paid $75 and a slot car set to a guitar teacher in NJ in 1967 to get a guitar and some lessons. The guitar was a 1957 Silvertone H173. I learned nothing from the lessons, but picked the guitar up again at college in 1971 and taught myself to play over the next 40 years. The bridge dried out and cracked about 10 years ago, so I took it to the neighborhood guitar shop, which turned out to be Randy Erlewine's operation. Believe me, the techs weren't impressed when I dropped the guitar off (Bob Dylan's roadie had just been in giving them some work), but when I came to pick up the guitar, they were impressed because of the guitar's rich sound. Years of playing has conditioned the wood, and the guitar resonates and projects so well that I've been asked if I'm using some low-level form of amplification. By the way, the Erlewine folks mounted a new bridge with a beautiful inlaid anchor bar. While the guitar is no longer pristine, it sure looks good.
- OVG - 2012-04-17
Just got one . 1967 vintage.
- poorpicker - 2012-04-20
So I gather mine is a 1961.s-61-1c.I had no idea it was so old.It has been a source of comfort and joy to me for close to ten years now.I dont even have a case for it(I'll fix that now that i know how long this gem has been around).As I remember it was about 100 bucks at a music shop.I picked it up expecting 100 bucks worth of sound and was blown away.So now when I go to guitar center or a boutique shop and pick up an $800 martin I think 'what a pile of crap.....I paid a hundred bucks for a way better guitar than this'
- cellist - 2012-12-01
The parents stopped my music for college, but this was my first- the perfect guitar. Tried to find a better one, from the above comments, I may stop looking. Sure "guitar players" laugh when I open the case, but after a few minutes, just try to take it away from them. So playable,so cuddly, it's been to Girl Scouts etc., now after 30+ years away from it, I bought the Clapton Unplugged songbook, brushed up on tablature, and zingo/yippee, it sounds great. Josh White sounds real good on it too.Went looking at guitars the other day, no price ceiling- ick! Do people like the tinny, unsubstantial tone better? Have they blown out their hearing in the higher frequencies? You be the judge!
- Charles - 2013-06-21
My father had one of these Harmony classical guitars I think was from the '50s or early '60s. He didn't play much and the guitar was more or less of a recreational item my siblings would goof around with. Well, one day when I was about 3 years old I was scooting around on my little trike, in the big recreation room in our basement, my dad's Harmony guitar leaning against a beanbag chair, and here I come full force wanting to collide with the beanbag chair and I smacked right into the guitar! I didn't get hurt it was my trike's solid rubber wheel that caved in the guitar. I was afraid my dad would be pissed, but he didn't say much about it since he figured it was an old guitar that he didn't play much. It was funny though that when I turned 16 my father brought out the busted up old Harmony and made me promise that I wouldn't do something like this when I got a driver's license!
- B. Morrison - 2013-08-26
In 1959, when I was ten years old, my mother purchased a used H173 Harmony at a pawn shop. We lived on a farm in a remote area of Eastern Kentucky, without television, and that guitar became my best friend. I became self-taught and, as recently as 2007, I used the H173 on a recording session. I've owned the guitar for 54 years and, although I own Martin guitars and a Fender telecaster, it's still my sentimental favorite. It's great for studio work!
- James Geikie - 2015-04-10
So, I've owned a Harmony classical model for nearing 18 years now. I swear by it. She plays amazing, intonation is fantastic, tone is full, projection is second to none. The back panel has started to pull away a little on the bottom left corner, but structural stability has not been compromised. The only issue, the label inside says 17 S, not 17 3. The stamp, next to the string notice is also S-65 AP, and I've never seen any others like that. If anyone has any info on this, please let me know, but regardless, I wouldn't trade this for the world.
- Dan in Des Moines - 2015-06-06
I bought a 1965 model 173 at an auction back in about 2003 -I think it was included with a Martin tenor and a couple clunkers. It sat -and was moved a couple times until I dug it out a couple months ago. It was missing strings but I tuned the E-B-G strings and when I played part of a chord the old Harmony came alive with amazing sound - It rang like a bell! I had no idea. I immediately strung it up and have been playing it every day since (while Martin, Gibsons, Guild & Fenders sit in their cases).
A friend of mine who comes by often was equally amazed at the sound of the 173 & offered me $100 (No way), then $200 (No, but I have a Yamaha classical I'll sell for $100) -Then he offered $500. While I have become very attached to the 173, made, in USA in 1965 (year I was born), I reluctantly accepted his offer but only because I need the money. I know $500 is more than the "market value" of the guitar but I would challenge anyone to find a new solid wood, hand-made in USA guitar with such amazing tone for less. There's no way!
- Susanne - 2016-06-25
I had all steel string guitars, but after playing with my husbands aunt, who broke out her 1965 nylon string Kaye, I thought I need to get a "classical" guitar. Yes the neck of her guitar seemed gigantic to me, but the tone was beautiful. It must have been solid wood... so I decided to search out a vintage one for myself. I had always been intrigued with Harmony guitars, but thought that a steel string would probably need a lot of work to get the action just so. I didn't think it mattered as much to me personally with the nylon string guitar, so I figured that would be the perfect opportunity to seek out a Harmony. I ended up purchasing one on ebay. I have a H-173 clearly marked S-70, made in the USA, with serial number 3792H173. The production date to 1969 confused me. ... I guess they made some into early 1970.Since it was in the 1970 catalogue. This was mislabeled on it's auction listing as a different model number but from the pictures it clearly looked like a 173 to me... I am so appreciative of this web-site, I would be clueless otherwise... and it definitely is now that I have it in my hands. It's in pristine condition, and the case is in great condition too with a few spots where the faux leather is scratched off, and the hinges a little rusty.. but it works fine. The guitar has a fantastic sound, and is really comfortable to play. Perfect action up top, a little high at the bottom, but plenty of nut height to bring down a little bit if it ever becomes necessary. Right now I am happy just the way it is. When am I ever going to afford a solid wood guitar, made in the USA and case for less than $150 (including shipping).. no it wasn't a $5 find, like some stories here.. but $5-$150 really isn't the issue.. just feel so fortunately to own this quality instrument at such a reasonable price!! If you can get your hands on one I highly recommend it. Love my vintage Harmony!! Thanks for all the work you do on this web-site. I have learned so much!
- Wayne - 2016-07-08
Picked up a 1970 H173. Back wood matches grain inside. Top does as well, so it's definitely all solid. Wood is dry, light as a feather and stiff as a rock. Sounds amazing. Looks like it had a neck reset a few years ago
- Sam Stevens - 2016-07-30
Now retired, I've always wanted to learn how to play the guitar, I answered an ad locally yesterday 7/29/16 for a Harmony Classic, not really sure what it was, but the price was right: Free! I am left handed. So the H173 looks like a perfect model for stringing backwards as it will not look upside down when strung so. It is in almost perfect condition, only a slight scratch in the finish (not deep into wood top). Looking around on this site, I tentatively identified it from pictures as the H173, then learned where to look for any markings. It's an S 69 serial 7574H173. I am very pleased with 'The Find' and hope to learn to play it over time... Great site, Very informative.. A holding bank for historic information from a bygone era. I mean, who hasn't seen one of these for sale hanging on a wall somewhere through the 60s & 70s.
- Guitar_Mike - 2016-10-08
I've got an S-70 stamped H-173, which I believe indicates second half of '70. Sweet tone, amazing value. Brought the saddle down a bit and dialed it in with new strings and I can not put the thing down. So much tone for so little money.
Harmony guitars are the greatest value in the vintage guitar market!
Thank you for this site!
- Frank - 2016-12-12
I have a guitar very similar to the ones in the third row of pics, photos 7 & 8 from the left. Cleaned it up and put two steel strings on and realized that steel strings are not right. Glad I came here and saw the labels saying nylon strings only. I'm guessing I need low tension.
- Mario Dobbin - 2018-07-21
Harmony's model numbers consisted of an 'H' followed by a 2 to 4 digit number. The 'H' stood for the name of the company.
- RSF - 2018-12-21
Thanks for your work on this website - what a great resource. I just got my hands on an H173 (F66). The tone is awesome. They say spruce ages well, and to go by this little gem, I believe it. I feel like I own a relic of a time now fast receding, when a mass produced, all sold wood guitar, made in America, no less, was possible to imagine. I wish I could say thanks and well done to everyone who worked on this instrument. My only gripe is that the saddle is glued to the bridge and I want to lower the action. Does anyone know if it was normal procedure to glue in the saddle at the Harmony factory?