HAVING FUN WITH GUITAR DESCRIPTIONS ON E-BAY

A while ago I was surfing the E-bay auction listings, looking at the various Harmony guitars offered for sale. There's always a soft spot in my heart (and perhaps a bit of space in my closet) for an old Rocket or Stratotone. Scrolling through the listings, I've seen them all, from a gorgeous mint-condition Espanada to a trashed low-end Archtone, sold by everybody from a big hot-shot dealer to somebody's Aunt Sophie. E-bay, of course, is the great equalizer. And always a source of amusement and amazement. Here are a few E-bay howlers that had me amused and amazed. Some of the lengthier ones have been edited slightly. The spelling and punctuation are "all original".

"This is a beautiful sounding Harmony solid mahogany acoustic guitar. Very mellow. This is the "Plane Jane" model. No binding, no frilaments, no bells buzzers or whistles. But this baby delivers warm full tones that are quite surprising to me. There is a golfball sized bash near the soundhole, just below the upper cross brace. This could be fixed with some elmers and a couple clamps and cauls. Actually, this is a pretty decent guitar. It's no Gibson, nor a Martin, but it's all American, and it's all wood. It's a HARMONY."

Yeah, bud, it's a Harmony, all right. Just drive a few more golf balls through it, and it won't have any "frilaments" left at all. But that's OK, we can just fix all the" bell buzzers" with some "elmers and a couple clamps". Then the tones will really be surprising.

"WOW!!!! Winning Bidder gets free, insured shipment of this BEAUTIFUL, 1965, Neo Classical, Single Cutaway Harmony H-74 w/ Original Hardshell Case!!!!!! They were the top of the line Harmony put out then, (and they're best seller in a 2" thick, Thinline Archtop Electric guitar). The neck is straught and true. Original Grover tuners work perfect. This is a very ccol guitar. Just plug it in and the sound is from very tonal to blast off. Even Harmony sold this guitar under the acronym "The Poor Man's Gretsch". Please email me any questions and I will get back ASAP. GOOD LUCK ON A VERY HARD TO FIND A 1965 IN SUCH EXCELLENT CONDITION. DON'T LET THIS ONE GET AWAY!!!!!!!"

Original Grover tuners are very "ccol". Too bad they were never original to any "straught" Harmony that I know of. Catch this 2" thick best-seller before it goes tonal and blasts off on you! I'm not sure which acronym stands for "The Poor Man's Gretsch", but I think it's B.S.

"An old Harmony 6 string Electric Guitar. A good inexpensive instrument to learn on Matter of fact there are some stickers on the fretboard the would suggest that this was a student guitar NEEDS 2 tuners buy it and i will throw in a set of chrome tuners Dont play faster than you can!!"

Just how many stickers does it take to determine that a particular guitar was a student model? At least three, but no more than five, because that already makes it a collector's item. "Don’t play faster than you can!!" sounds like very good advice, if I could only figure out what exactly that means. I won't even get into the punctuation…

"YOU ARE BIDDING ON A NOVELTY GUITAR THAT IS AN EXCELLENT GIFT OR INSTRUMENT TO PLAY AROUND WITH. THIS IS A 3/4 SIZED ACOUSTIC GUITAR WITH STEEL STRINGS. COMES WITH A STEEL REINFORCED NECK, AND EVEN INCLUDES A PICK!"

Wow, it even includes a pick! That's worth shouting about, I'm sure. Just the kind of novelty guitar I've always wanted to "play around with", if not to actually play…

"Not sure how old but I belive this one might be an older Harmony Says on it Harmony and in red letters the name Monterey It has a beautiful finish on the guitary Guitar does have a problem though there is a slit in the guitar about 3 1/2" long starts at the cutout and goes down. Might be able to be repaired by a professional No strings on guitar either. LOOK FOR BUY IT NOW ON THIS ONE AT $85. "

Yeah, I too "belive" it must be an older Harmony "guitary" if it's old and says "Harmony" on it. Beautiful finish, indeed. What's left of it.

"1960s Harmony Rocket Electric Guitar Red. This is an original Harmony Rocket thinline hollow electric guitar. It appears to be all original except for a missing pickguard. The condition is excellent (about a 7 out of 10 cosmetically) with some minor wear on the back of the neck (see pictures). No breaks or cracks. Search words, Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Les Paul, Gibson, Fender, Marshall, Kramer, Charvel. Jazz Bass, Precision, blonde, sunburst, natural."

Can somebody please explain to me why anyone searching for a Kramer or a Marshall would be interested in an old Harmony Rocket? The seller forgot to add Danelectro, Ibanez, SG, doubleneck, PAF, pre-CBS, Ampeg…

"This is a great old guitar that is signed: "Harmony" at the top...and on the inside "Harmony Musical Instruments Company Handcrafted Quality Model NO H202". Measures 34" long in total length...there is a tiny bit of usage wear. Has its steel cords...This is a great old guitar!!"

I've often wondered… why are people who know absolutely nothing about guitars always so diligent about measuring them? Like that's the most important piece of information I would need to know before bidding! Armed with that knowledge, I too would conclude that this is a great old guitar, "steel cords" and all. At precisely 34" in total length, it must be! Quick, how long is a Les Paul in total length? What do you mean, you don’t know?

"This is a very rare Harmony Electric guitar from 1966 MADE IN THE USA( I was told this was one of the last years made in the US)It is dated on the back of the pick guard, all I know is I have had it many years and this is the first electric I ever owned, It is in fair to good condition with a few minor scratches and nicks, Has a beautiful rosewood I belive fret board, with a nice peral inlay, dual gold and silver pickups, The original tuning keys are not on it as when I got the guitar they were bent and broken, I replaced them with grover mine keys! they work excellent. Has a beautiful tortise shell pick guard(which this one is rare from what my guitar teacher said since it is layered) It plays and works wonderful! Beautiful black cherry outside with like a candy apple middle! any questions or comments please email, Like maybe what the name of this guitar is as i have had it for 20 years and dont know!"

This listing is one of my favorites. Just one paragraph, but I already know more about the seller than I do about the guitar!

"This is a harmony rocket from the late 50s this guitar plays good and sounds good but it has many cracks in the top a couple in the back and sides and missing the pickguard it has 2 S-holes but the guitar is sound it was in my friend's basement for many years I will ship this guitar in a nice fender padded gig bag the original case was trashed the neck is nice and fat like most guitars in the 50s I was playing this guitar thru a old fender twin it really sounds good no reserve you can have a really cool vintage guitar cheap."

I don't know about the guitar, but anyone who writes such run-on sentences sounds like an "S-hole"

"Here we have a nice early Harmony "F" key guitar in ok condition. This is one of those old guitars that will need to be restored. I believe it has ivory key adjusters. There are two cracks in the body. One on top near the bottom and one on the bottom near the bottom. This is the all original finish on it. It appears to have never been refinished before. It will need new strings but still has a few on it that let me know it still has great sound. "

Not sure about the "F key", the "ivory string adjusters" and the "bottom near the bottom", but the fact that it has "never been refinished before" speaks volumes…

"1960 MODEL HARMONY HOLLYWOOD ACOUSTIC ELECTRIC GUITAR.BEAUTIFUL COLOR OF GOLD AND BROWN.COULD BE A SUNBURST."

This is a perfect example of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. Gee, I have no idea what exactly "sunburst" means, but let's put the nice-sounding word into my ad anyway, just in case. After all, it COULD be a sunburst…

"I got this from my Grandfather some years ago. I'm 40 now. I can't find a model number. It has a few scratched and dings. I comes with an old case also. It may need neck work. "

You're 40 now? Good for you! You comes with an old case also? Hmmm…

And just so you don't think I'm picking exclusively on Harmony owners, here's an ad from a Gibson seller:

"1970 Gibson SG standard. Changed tuners, headstock repair, originally had a long tailpiece, been removed and stop tail added. Pickguard's been cut. Pickups are Seymour Duncan JB, and a '59. Back of body has been sanded. Refretted with BIG frets- very cool. A few dings, dents, etc. Other than these things- it's dead mint!!!"

Never allow a few minor trifles to prevent you from calling your guitar "dead mint"!

 

© 2003 JunkGuitars.com. This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine.

 

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