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Harmony Guitar Brand Origins The Harmony Company was based in Chicago, IL and built musical instruments which were either sold directly t...

Harmony Guitar Brands and Aliases

Harmony Guitar Brand Origins

The Harmony Company was based in Chicago, IL and built musical instruments which were either sold directly to consumers or through a distributor. Sometimes distributors would put their own labels on the instruments as a cheaper alternative to building their own house brand. Tracking down what brand names were built by whom is often a difficult process and takes someone who is very familiar with that builder's characteristics to identify. So I've decided to go ahead and create a list of as many brand names and aliases that Harmony musical instruments could be found under. This list will focus only on the US-built guitars by Harmony and so any of the instruments built after 1975 will be ignored.

Disclaimer: Brand names were often shared as distributors changed who they wanted to buy instruments from. There are brands listed here that were made by both Harmony and Kay as well as other companies.

Credit to Jedistar.com for having one of the largest searchable indexes of guitar brand names which definitely has helped.
Also to the Internet Archive'd DeMont Harmony Database's Brand list for having a large list of confirmed Harmony brand names
And Jake Wildwood who restores vintage instruments and is an immeasurable source of knowledge on obscure guitars.

Check out my page on Kay Guitar Brands and Aliases
And compare all 3 manufacturers on my page: Kay, Harmony, Regal Brand Cross Reference

Airline

Image Credit: Reverb - Ben's Gear Emporium
Airline guitars were sold by Montgomery Ward through catalogs and physical stores. The brand was used from 1958 to 1968 and more recently reissued by Eastwood Guitars. Airline guitars were built by Harmony and Kay








Aloha

 "Aloha acoustic guitars were sourced primarily from Chicago-based Harmony." [2]

Armstrong

Image Jedistar



















Biltmore

Image Credit: Jake Wildwood
Appeared in the Vitak-Elsnic sheet music company in the 1930s [5].

DeMont Harmony Database















Broman

Image Credit: Jedistar
"After a lot of googling it appears that Broman was a marketing company in the US that sold Broman branded guitars, lap steels from around the 1930s to 1950s at least." [6]

DeMont Harmony Database









Bruno










Buckeye

Not to be confused with the "Buckeye" stenciled design featured on many cowboy guitars of the era.

DeMont Harmony Database

Carelli

"The "Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars" shows a 30's archtop, Harmony made Carelli "Artist model E" (property of Gary Sullivan, seen at the 19th Dallas Guitar Show), and similar to a H1305 Cremona (well they say H1307 but I say H1305)." [7]

Carl Fischer

Image Credit: Jedistar
"Carl Fischer Music is a major sheet music publisher that was based in New York City’s East Village since 1872. The company has since moved to the Wall Street area in 2013. After 140 years, the company remains a family-owned business, publishing both performance and educational music for students, teachers, and virtuosos." [8]













Columbian

Image Credit: Reverb - Midwest Buy and Sell Chicago

Distributed by Selmer UK [9]

DeMont Harmony Database






Commander

Image Credit: Jedistar
Distributed by Aldens














Concertone

Brand of Montgomery Wards used from 1914 till the 1930s. Also labelled Lee Gibbs[10]

Continental

Image Credit: Reverb - JL Guitars
Produced from 1929 until the late 1940s [Wright 169, 170]. Produced for the Continental Music Company [11].









Crest

Image Credit: Jedistar
Late 1930s











Esquire

H&A Selmer, (Elkhart, Indiana) distributed Esquire guitars made by Harmony in their 1938 catalog. The upper grade Esquire models were made by Kay at the time. Of course there is no connection with the German Hoyer Esquire model, nor with the most famous Fender Esquire [3].

Fascinator

Image Credit: Facebook - Michael K Arata
















Fender

Image Credit Premier Guitar
Built in the 70s by Harmony for Fender. Common models include the Sovereign
















Galiano

"Although many Galiano guitars were relabeled Stellas made by Schmidt, a fair number of them were made by independent Italian American luthiers such as Antonio Cerrito, Raphael Ciani, and Joseph Nettuno. Still others were purchased from various large Chicago factories like Kay, Regal and Harmony." [12]


Gaylord

Image Credit: OfferUp


















Gretsch

Built guitars for Gretsch during WWII like Kay also did for Gretsch. Wooden tailpieces are a key indicator. [14]


Heath 

Image Credit: Reverb - SilverDozen Guitars
Distributed by Heathkit based in Minnesota [15]. Branded "Harmony by Heath"









Holiday

Image Credit: Jedistar
"The Holiday brand was the “house label” for Aldens, a catalog mail order company." [16]

They can also be seen as Kay-built guitars

Gui






Jay Johnson

DeMont Harmony Database

Lee Gibbs 

Brand of Montgomery Wards used from 1914 till the 1930s. Also labelled Concertone [10]

Lombardi 

Image Credit: Jedistar
Built in the late 30s and 1940s by Harmony, also labelled as Nobility [17].

















Manhattan

Distributed by Selmer from Elkhart, Indiana [14].


Marvel

Image Credit: Ebay - Bigmatt55
Marvel guitars were marketed by the Peter Sorkin Company out of New York, USA. Made in the 1940s through the 1970s according to Jedistar and ebay [18].











Marwin

Image Credit - Reverb - Bruce's Geetars
The guitar pictured to the left has the late 30s, early 40s headstock; other listings on the internet show that the brand continued into at least the 50s [19]

Distributed through the Barth-Feinberg catalog based in NY [37]

DeMont Harmony Database











Master Art


Minerva

Image Credit: Jedistar
"Distributed by Eaton's Canada" [20]

DeMont Harmony Database












Melody King

Image Credit: Reverb - Ray's Music Exchange
"Was a Bronson guitar and amplifier brand [36]". Also produced by Kay

The pictured model to the left is a 1936









Mitchel 

Image Credit: Reverb - Old Towne Strings
No information is known


















Nobility

Built in the late 30s and 1940s by Harmony, also labelled as Lombardi [17].

Opus

Image Credit: Jake Wildwood
Built between 1974 and 1975 as one of Harmony's last lines of instruments. Higher end construction to try to combat the rising Japanese import market. [21]

Sonata

Image Credit: Jedistar
"A Harmony Brand and available from at least the 1940s" [22]

The pictured guitar is a late 30s, early 40s model of the Harmony Monterey.












Orpheum

Common name used by Kay and other manufacturers. Built by Harmony in 1939 [23]

Paramount

"In 1934, the William L. Lange Company (New York) debuted the Paramount guitar series - and some of the models were built by the C.F. Martin guitar company. However, Lange´s company went out of business in the early 1940s. In the late 1940s, the Paramount guitar line was reintroduced and distributed by Gretsch & Brenner (source: Tom Wheeler, American Guitars).
But it looks like no later than 1942, a Paramount line of guitars were built by Harmony." [24]


Playtime

Image Credit: Reverb - Music Stuff
Sold as a budget brand through Sears [35]














Prairie Voice

'"Speaking of Canada, one source stated that each year, Harmony made 200 Roy Rogers-style guitars for the Calgary Stampede, and that such istruments were marketed under the "Prairie Voice" brand name" (source: Willie G. Moseley, Stellas & Stratocasters).' [25]

Premier


Regal

"Harmony aquired the rights to the Regal brand name in 1954. Regal guitars were licensed to Fender in the late 1950s, and some of the Harmony built "Regals" were rebranded with the Fender logo. This agreement continued up until the mid 1960s, when Fender introduced their own flat-top guitars. [4]"

Rex

Image Credit: Reverb - Great Vintage Items

Built by Kay and Harmony in the 30s and 40s [26]

DeMont Harmony Database











Rogers / A. Rogers

"House Brand of Selmer (UK) (source: Willie G. Moseley, "Stellas & Stratocasters")" [27]

Serenader

Image Credit: Jake Wildwood

Distributed by Buegeleisen and Jacobson and also built by Kay. [28]









Silvertone

Image Credit: Myself

Probably the most common brand out there. Built by Kay and Harmony and distributed through Sears, Roebuck, and Co for a majority of the 20th century.





Sonata

Image Credit: Reverb - Mike and Mike's Guitar Bar










SS Stewart

Image Credit: Jake Wildwood
"Harmony-made S.S. Stewart-brand guitars (sold by retailer/catalog-house B&J at the time) can be commonly seen from the late 1930s through the early 1950s, but it's rarer to find the earlier ones. Judging by the build, size, and hardware, this is probably a 30s model and it's a nice one at that. I'm pretty sure the top on this one is carved as opposed to pressed, though I can't say that without a doubt. [34]"




Supertone

Image Credit: Jake Wildwood
"Supertone brand was used by Sears and Roebuck, 1914-1941." [1]

DeMont Harmony Database






Suprema

"Distributed by Eaton's Canada" [29]. Also built by Kay.


Tone King

Image Credit: Jake Wildwood









Tower

No known information

Truetone

Distributed by Western Auto. More commonly seen with Kay built guitars


Vega

"Some Vega guitars have Harmony made bodies. Harmony may have made complete Vega guitar models too." [30]

Vibratone








Vita Uke

Image Credit: Jake Wildwood

Can be seen with the Roy Smeck endorsement








Walters

1930s to 1950s [31]

Weymann

Image Credit: Reverb - Mike's Gear Garage













Webster

Built in the 1940s

Windsor

Distributed by Montgomery Ward [32]. 

Wizard

Image Credit: Jedistar
Possibly a house brand for a South African company as a couple people on Jedistar.com say thats where they found them [33].

















Sources:

[1] http://jedistar.com/supertone/
[2] https://web.archive.org/web/20071016091452/http://vintageguitar.com/brands/details.asp?ID=89
[3] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230858/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=48
[4] https://web.archive.org/web/20071224094016/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=27
[5] http://jedistar.com/biltmore/
[6] http://jedistar.com/broman/
[7] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230848/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=46
[8] http://jedistar.com/fischer-carl/
[9] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230913/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=51
[10] http://jedistar.com/lee-gibbs-concertone/
[11] https://www.stlamateurluthier.com/2018/10/kay-guitar-brands-and-aliases.html
[12] http://www.stellaguitars.com/about/stella-guitar-myths-factoids/
[13] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230853/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=47
[14] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230150/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=17
[15] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230155/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=18
[16] http://jedistar.com/holiday/
[17] http://www.vintaxe.com/cgi-bin/vintaxe_viewer.pl?cat_1938lombardi_001&cat_1938lombardi_001
[18] http://jedistar.com/marvel/
[19] http://www.guitarsite.com/discussion/messages/326.shtml
[20] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230727/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=25
[21] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230958/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=60
[22] http://jedistar.com/sonata/
[23] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230928/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=55
[24] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230918/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=52
[25] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230908/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=50
[26] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230737/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=28
[27] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230115/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=1
[28] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230743/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=29
[29] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230803/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=36
[30] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226230808/http://harmony.demont.net/brands.php?id_brand=38
[31] http://jedistar.com/walters-gb-walters/
[32] http://jedistar.com/windsor/
[33] http://jedistar.com/wizard/
[34] https://jakewildwood.blogspot.com/2017/02/1930s-harmony-made-ss-stewart-archtop.html
[35] http://www.guitarsite.com/database/Guitars/rec/1733/wwwboard/messages/196.shtml
[36] https://www.guitar-list.com/brands/melody-king
[37]http://www.vintaxe.com/catalogs_pages/catalogs_american_marwin_bf_1951.php

Updated: 4/4/2019

















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