Bad Guitar Buys on eBay

Bad Buys - Ebay

Yet Another Bad Buy On Ebay

Poor Quality Pick Guard

Opinions On All Things Acoustic


On this page, please find various comments on acoustic guitars and related work.

Seller Beware!

Ebay now allows buyers to specify that they only receive positive feedback. What a joke. I am moving all guitar sales to Reverb.

Just had buyer "susdar_g1nxxxylr" refuse to pay for a sale, thereby wasting three weeks of my time.

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Buyer Beware!

Even brand new (50s-60s-early 70s), in case, never had strings on, with hang tags, in OEM plastic bag Harmony guitars very likely will not be playable by modern standards. In our opinion, no such Harmony is worth more than $200 unless and until it is properly evaluated. Harmony was very careless about neck set and intonation. They used great quality materials but had very poor quality control. The string through bridge made it impossible to correct any neck set problem once the guitar was completed and strings installed. Think about it: how could they string to tension, notice too high action, then remove the strings, modify the saddle, then put the strings back on? It is very obvious that they stuck them together then shipped them out.


Please please please do not ship by USPS. They simply are not geared for handling delicate acoustic guitars. We just received yet another torn up, smashed up package with badly damaged guitar.

We are still the best deal on the internet

We often see restored Harmony guitars on the internet. I say again, if the bracing is not converted to X-bracing (top flattened and stabilized) you are not getting your money‘s worth. The top and sides will continue to deform and action will get worse over time. New or old, that is what ladder braced guitars do.

John Sebastian

How about that. John Sebastian was playing an H1260 at Woodstock.


We need to clarify the term RESTORED. This is used on ebay quite frequently when, in my opinion, restoration work has not taken place. Restoration means to return to original or intended functionality or condition. For acoustic guitars, restoration provides three characteristics: Durability, Playability, Great tone. This is what you are paying for. So what constitutes each of these things?

Why Install a Pin Bridge?

The pin bridge offers no sound improvements. Problem is, the string through bridge makes nice low action setup very difficult. When we adjust string height on our pin bridges, it is easy to remove the pins, pull out the strings, remove the saddle, adjust as needed, replace the saddle, replace the strings and replace the pins. That is how we work it down to 4/64 of an inch at 12th fret. Those last few tiny fractions of an inch might require removing the saddle 3 or 4 times. Harmony guitar company was relying 100% on a few jigs and on manufacturing the glued in saddle and bridge assembly to a certain height before it was attached to the top. Once attached they did no further adjustments. In a string through bridge, you have to remove the strings at the tuners, bend them out of the way, etc. They were not going to do that in a production setting. This is why so many Harmony guitars had very high action right out of the factory.

Harmony Guitars and Collectable Guitars

You hear and read that since Harmony guitars are vintage and American made they are collectable. Since these are vintage collectable guitars they should not be modified. A modified guitar is worth much less than an original condition guitar. Let us consider this.

First, Harmony Sovereigns in no way compare to Martin guitars in terms of collect ability. They do compare in terms of materials quality. Regardless, current values are not in the same ball park or even on the same planet.

Second, if strung to 440 pitch for all these years, 95% of all Harmony Sovereigns are now unplayable. Probably all of them are unplayable. Frankly, they were not all that well built in the first place. Ladder bracing was a cost saving measure during the build process. Any low wage worker off the street can install ladder bracing. It takes real skill and a higher wage worker to install x-bracing correctly.

So what do you have with your collectable Harmony guitar? A nice bit of wall art. If you continue playing your untouched vintage Harmony it will only get worse. Also, do you ever wonder if it could sound better?

So what is the true value of your collectable Harmony guitar?

So you have this original condition, low value, unplayable or at best very unfriendly guitar. Why not have a playable, reliable, great sounding guitar?

In my very biased opinion, a complete rebuild is the only way to go.

These Things Make Me Crazy

Having owned an Airline Harmony H1260 my folks bought me new in 1964, and having played, evaluated, repaired and rebuilt hundreds of them over the years I have a few opinions about these guitars. There are several "repairs" that make me crazy:

It makes no sense at all to only do a neck reset on a 40-50 year old ladder braced guitar without fixing the top. Why fix the action when the rest of the guitar is still a mess? At the least, the top is still sunken or deformed. There may be other problems needing attention. Many problems can only be fixed by removing the back.

Furthermore, I think modifying the original string through bridge to a pin bridge in situ is a bad idea. Every mod of this type results in a bridge that is too thin. This invites a cracked bridge, a cracked top, and may contribute to further top distortion. Some Sovereigns have a maple reinforcing strip or plate under the bridge, but many have spruce or mahogany. Spruce and mahogany are not appropriate for reinforcing plates!!

External neck bolts and screws in the neck heel: YUCK! ’snuff said

The Excellent H1233 12 String.

The Harmony (almost Sovereign) H1233 is a superb candidate for a major rebuild and rehabilitation. Most of these are a 14 fret 12 string version of the H1203 six string. It seems that pickers don't know what a super nice 12 string this little guitar can be.

Most H1233 copies we have evaluated only had laminated sides.

Buyer Beware: The New Harmony

That old new stock, never played, vintage but factory fresh Harmony H1260 may well be a great guitar. But take caution: many Sovereigns had at least two problems right out of the factory: bad intonation and poor playability. In 1964, I well remember driving all over Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia looking for H1260s with good action and correct intonation. You can imagine the frustration of a 14 year old picking up guitar after guitar and having my dad reject everyone for one as not good enough. I just wanted a new guitar. We finally found a good one -- which I still have -- but the memories are still fresh about all those bad ones. Where was Harmony quality control?

Titebond III Waterproof PVA Glue

Titebond PVA Type III glue is resistant to every debonding chemical we are aware of. Even DeGoo Glue and paint striper won't remove it. This is not a good choice for do it yourself guitar repairs.

And Now A Completely Self-serving Announcement

Beware Asian built guitars. They are cheaper because they are cheaply made, for the most part. Asian builders are generally focused on price and not an sound quality. If you want a great sounding guitar buy American.

What Do I Know About Playing The Acoustic Guitar?

I am a money winning, prize winning competition flat picker. Years ago I entered solo guitar picking contests and won four or five. Well, I never got a first, but I got lots of second and third place awards. The deal is you stand on stage in front of a mic and flat pick your brains out. It's great fun but prep takes lots of practice. My poor wife heard the same tune played 5,000 times at least.

Ebonized Maple

There is no such thing as Ebonized Maple

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