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History Fender doesn't have the same legacy in acoustic guitars as they do in the world of electric guitars and so their early acoustic ...

The Harmony-Built Fender Acoustic Guitars

History
Fender doesn't have the same legacy in acoustic guitars as they do in the world of electric guitars and so their early acoustic instruments are often forgotten. You could buy a cheap acoustic from Fender as far back as as the 1950s but it wouldn't be until the early 60s that you could buy an acoustic that was built in the Fender factory. These were not well received at the time but aren't terrible instruments and those models inspired Fender's current line-up of acoustic instruments. .

To preface, the first Fender-built acoustics were introduced in 1963 and featured bolt-on necks (often with Stratocaster headstocks) paired with bodies that had an aluminum rod running parallel to the strings connecting the neck and tail blocks. On their official website, Fender has an article called Beaches, Stages and the Silver Screen: A History of Fender Acoustic Guitars which covers these models. These guitars are most closely related to what Fender is producing today and many of the model names were recycled. But fans of the Tim Armstrong "Hellcat" guitar might notice an unusual shift in design and that is because Fender did not build the instrument that it was based on.

For background, the Harmony Company was based in Chicago, Illinois and was one of the world's largest producers of musical instruments until it's dissolution in 1975. A significant portion of Harmony's business was through selling their instruments to distributors who would resell them and allow for smaller stores to tap into the growing musical instrument market. Many Harmony instruments don't even have the Harmony name on them as they were often built and sold unbranded or custom ordered with a company's chosen brand name painted onto the instrument.

Fender first sold unbranded Harmony instruments in the late 1950s and in the late 1960s commissioned Harmony to build a line of Fender-branded acoustics that blended the styles of the Fender-built acoustics and the regular Harmony lineup. To the best of my knowledge, these instruments were only offered between 1969 and 1971 before Fender shifted to Asian-import acoustics in 1972.

The purpose of this article is to document these Harmony-built instruments and provide a cross reference for model numbers.

Fender F-1000 / No.150 (1956-1959, 1969-1971)
aka Harmony "Stella" H-929 or Harmony H-150
Image Credit: Reverb - Two Losers Vintage


First appearing in the late 1950s as the No.150 "Student Spanish Guitar", the Fender F-1000 was the cheapest acoustic you could buy from Fender and one of the cheapest from Harmony. In the early days, it appeared at the end of the Fender catalogs like a footnote and did not bear the Fender name. Later it received its own Fender model number and finally had the Fender name on it's headstock.

It is based off two Harmony models; the H-929 Stella and the H-150 (which was likely it's early namesake). The headstock profile is identical to both models but it blends design features from both with pearloid dots in a dyed fretboard, large two-tone sunburst, trapeze tailpiece, and a modified pickguard.
  • Neck: Poplar
  • Fretboard: Ebonized Maple
  • Top: Solid Birch
  • Back and Sides: Solid Birch
  • Binding: Painted
Fender F-1010 (1969-1971)
aka Harmony "Stella" H-949

Image Credit: Reverb - Galloway Originals

    The Fender F-1212 is a rebranded Harmony H-949 which was their budget version of their popular Harmony H-162. It has the Fender designed headstock, custom rosette, custom pickguard, and Fender styled bridge. 
    • Neck: Poplar
    • Fretboard: Ebonized Maple
    • Top: Solid Birch
    • Back and Sides: Solid Birch
    • Binding: Painted
    Fender F-1030 (1969-1971)
    aka Harmony H-165 Folk

    The Fender F-1030 is most closely related to the Harmony H-165 all mahogany folk guitar. It has a unique Fender headstock shape, pickguard (pictured model lacks it), and bridge. It has a larger, painted rosette than the H-165 typically has. This model was the originator of the Tim Armstrong "Hellcat".
    • Neck: Mahogany
    • Fretboard: Indian Rosewood
    • Top: Solid Mahogany
    • Back and Sides: Solid Mahogany
    • Binding: None
    Fender F-1050 (1969-1971)
    aka Harmony H-1203 Sovereign
    Image Credit: Myself

    The Fender F-1050 is a rebranded version of the Harmony H-1203 Sovereign acoustic guitar with a unique Fender headstock shape, pickguard, and bridge. 
    • Neck: Mahogany
    • Fretboard: Bound Indian Rosewood
    • Top: Solid Spruce
    • Back and Sides: Solid Mahogany
    • Binding: Black and White Celluloid
    Fender F-1060 (1969-1971)
    aka Harmony H-1260 Sovereign Jumbo
    Image Credit: Reverb - Spacetone Music

    The Fender F-1060 is based on the H-1260 Sovereign Jumbo which is an incredibly popular model even today. It is a jumbo dreadnought instrument. It has a Fender headstock with an inlaid tortoise celluloid veneer, custom pickguard, and custom bridge.
    • Neck: Mahogany
    • Fretboard: Bound Indian Rosewood
    • Top: Solid Spruce
    • Back and Sides: Solid Mahogany
    • Binding: Black and White Celluloid
    Fender F-1070 (1969-1971)
    aka Harmony H-1270 Jumbo

    Image Credit: Reverb - Michael's Gear Emporium


    The Fender F-1070 is essentially a Harmony H-1270 jumbo 12 string guitar. It has a Fender headstock with an inlaid tortoise celluloid veneer, custom pickguard, and custom bridge.
    • Neck: Mahogany
    • Fretboard: Bound Indian Rosewood
    • Top: Solid Spruce
    • Back and Sides: Solid Mahogany
    • Binding: Black and White Celluloid

    Value
    The extremely helpful website GuitarHQ.com has documented many of the Fender-built instruments and has assigned them all a collectibility rating of an "F". I believe that rating doesn't accurately reflect the market value of these instruments on their own and is skewed because of the comparisons to the value of similar Fender products from that era.

    As the market shifts and values change, always consult Reverb.com's "Sold Listings" to see what people are actually buying them for. At the time of this article's writing, this is what they are going for.

    The Fender-built acoustics vary but I've seen them go from $500 to $2000 depending on the model and with earlier models or rare colors selling for more. The King and Kingman are the most desirable.

    The Harmony-built acoustics tend to stick pretty close to their Harmony-branded counterparts but it isn't unheard of for them to bring a little bit more money from people just wanting a vintage Fender-branded acoustic. They can go from $150 up to $800 depending on model and condition. 

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