Catch of the Day: 1960 Harmony Roy Smeck

1960 Harmony Roy Smeck

I suspect that Roy Smeck endorsed more instruments in his long career than any other musician. Starting in the 1920s and going on into the 1960s his name appeared on guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, banjos and steel guitars, all instrument that he had mastered, a skill that earned him the title of the Wizard of the Strings. We’ve looked at two Smeck guitars before, a circa 1930 Harmony Vita-Guitar and a 1963 Harmony H-65, and like those two instruments, today’s Catch was made by Harmony. Although this Roy Smeck looks like a solidbody guitar, it actually has a chambered body like the Gretsch Jet series of guitars. The Roy Smeck was based on the Harmony Stratotone Jupiter, one of the company’s top-of-the-line guitars in the early 1960s. Like the Jupiter, the Roy Smeck had two pickups, two volume controls, two tone controls and a four-way pickup selector switch. The Jupiter did have an extra blend knob, which the Roy Smeck doesn’t have. But the Roy Smeck does have a very striking pickguard that recalls a lightning bolt or perhaps a cartoon explosion. Smeck started as a showman in vaudeville and it was always important to him that his instruments stand out visually, as this model certainly does. I’ve never played a Roy Smeck like this one but I have played a few Jupiters over the years and while they don’t have subtlety of tone of a Gibson or a Fender, they do have clarity and punch that is appealing. This particular example is in very nice condition and it comes with its original chipboard case. If you’d like to add it to your collection, just send $1199 to Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar.

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