The Bluesbox Collection

Late 1950's Harmony Stratotone (rebuilt)

All I had to start with was a badly beaten up body and the neck. The tailpiece was intact, but the tuners were trashed. There was a slightly cracked pickguard. The finish was so bad that I immediately decided to refinish it. This is the original photo that I saw on eBay. Here is what the body looked like when I got it (minus the black plastic pick guard).

My first task was to get hold of some vintage DeArmond pick ups, so I decided to look for them on eBay. I actually found one that was exactly like the ones that would have been on this guitar, but the seller had no idea whether the pick up actually worked, and besides, this is a two pick up model. So I discarded that idea and started looking for a second junker with 2 pick ups still intact. A couple days later I found a 60's Silvertone junker (actually a 1965 Harmony Sillouette solid body model) with DeArmonds and a complete wiring harness. The Stratotone body arrived a week or so later, and while I waited for the second guitar, I started stripping the finish. I found that the body was actually built from high-quality laminated maple, so I decided to just give it 7 coats of good clear lacquer. I left the old finish on the neck, but I did reface the peg head with maple veneer to match the body, and created my own decals in order to put the Stratotone logo back on the head. The original pickguard was useless, but I decided to use it as a base, and laminated some tortoise shell material onto it. The finished pick guard is about 1/16" thick and quite stiff and strong. I redrilled the original holes for the volume and tone controls. The original guitar had a Tele-style three position lever switch, but I decided to just use the toggle switch that came with the Sillouette - since this guitar has been refinished, and mixes 50's and 60's parts, I figured I had nothing to lose on that score.

When the second guitar arrived, I found I was able to use the pick ups, switches, and even the knobs. I also stole two of the marker dots from the second guitar's neck to replace two that were missing on the Stratotone neck. I installed a set of Ping sealed tuning machines. The rebuilt guitar is quite nice to look at, and plays and sounds great.

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