As I go through life, I find myself collecting guitars that I always wanted as a kid. My parents would take the family shopping at Sears, and I can remember standing in the music section lusting after Silvertone’s flagship model—the Harmony-built three-pickup H77 in a shiny cherryburst finish with a Bigsby tailpiece. I forgot all about those days until I saw a fellow playing an H77 in Taos, New Mexico. The seed was thus planted, and I searched eBay until I found and won this beauty. The seller only accepted Postal Money Orders—which can be cashed at the post office with no paper trail to declare at tax time—and a buyer can often negotiate a 20 percent discount for such a restrictive payment option.
When I received the guitar, I had a beautiful flashback to my youth. The guitar’s condition was remarkably good. The neck was slightly bowed—due in part to its heavy gauge strings—but after replacing the strings with my favorite GHS light-gauge set, the neck straightened out just fine, and I was wailing away. (I adjust the trussrod as a last resort on guitars this old, because they are frequently frozen up and can break easily.) I especially dig the three toggle switches that turn each pickup on and off, because you can get pickup combinations that are unattainable with a traditional 5-way switch (such as all three at once). The single-coil DeArmond pickups sound warm and fabulous, and the H77 can easily handle country, jazz, rockabilly, and even a little rock. I love this guitar! She’s definitely a keeper.