Sunday, September 20, 2009

Late 60's Harmony 415 amp

The Harmony 415, an old 15 watt tube amp that belonged to my older cousin 40 years ago and soon spent most of it's time in a cold dark damp basement. My older cousin gave it to another cousin (younger) but he only played around with it 15 years ago. While visiting my aunt, uncle, and my cousin (who flew in from Texas last week), I saw it in their basement and went ga ga over it. He gave it to me along with an old guitar.

The amp has all the original tubes and still works! The speakers even with a thick layer of dirt and dust are ok, but not worth using (super cheap). The electronics are in perfect condition. The cabinet had a 1/4 inch of dust and dirt on it along with several nice layers of mold.

I cleaned up all the switches, jacks, and controls, hooked it up to some good speakers and voila... a classic old tube amp sound ala VOX AC15 came pouring out. Tremelo works too.

These amps were built in Chicago and incredibly cheap at the time, cheaper than Peaveys if that tells you anything. However the electronics are solid and hand wired point to point. The cheapness was in the construction of the cabinet and the lousy Jensen speakers that sound like tin cans. Even so, the amp goes for about $450 now.

I've stripped the rotting vinyl covering. It was built with lightweight laminated pine underneath, so it is very light, but not designed to be dropped more than a couple feet of the ground. I'm trying to sand it down (broke my sander) then paint it or perhaps I'll try my hand at applying tolex.

I've also replaced the old two prong power cord with a three prong grounded cord. People back then must have had a death wish playing through these old amps without a ground. Of course nobody wore seat beats then either.

Finally here's the guitar... a 1969 Japanese Teisco. It's pretty rough and not worth much monetarily (maybe $100). But it is different, belonged to a relative, and I plan on cleaning it up, maybe using it, maybe decorating the wall with it. Teisco had some really interesting guitar designs back then, like guitars with four pickups and uniquely shape bodies and necks. This one is missing the tremolo, but I might catch one on eBay sometime. Cheers!