gold foil

Killer pickups and slim, light, high-quality construction distinguish a very evolved Harmony.

Distinctive pickup tones. Biting trebles that still ring. High-quality build. Light weight. Slim profile. Super comfortable.

Some imbalance between high-end and low-end volume and energy. Prone to neck dive with some straps.


Harmony Comet


Followers of current events might be astonished to learn that the internet isn't quite as effective at separating myth from fiction as its early advocates and creators promised. I was reminded of this state of affairs whilst sniffing out sentiments about vintage Harmony guitars and the complex, convoluted world of gold-foil pickups. Needless to say, there are a lot of strong opinions out there—from advocates that defend old Harmonys as underrated, to snobs who still consider them universally substandard, to the growing cult of gold-foil fanatics who sing their praises to the sky without even agreeing about what a gold-foil pickup is.

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God-like gold-foil tones from a boutique beauty.

Coincidence or emerging trend? That’s what I wondered after unboxing the Grez Mendocino. It’s the third consecutive guitar I’ve reviewed that integrates elements from 1960s budget guitars into a high-performance boutique beauty.

The main retro touch here is a pair of Lollar Gold Foil pickups. These are modernized versions of the inexpensive rubber-magnet pickups once used in cheapo Japanese Teisco guitars. (The pickups are no longer cheap: A pair of these will typically set you back north of $300.)

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A masterful Fender-inspired mashup with tones of its own.

If this guitar were getting married and you were an usher, you might have trouble seating the guests appropriately. Yeah, you could put the Telecaster relatives on one side of the aisle and the Stratocaster kin on the other, but then where would you seat the Gibson cousins?

The 112 model from Hahn Guitars is a Tele/Strat mash-up. Except it has P-90s. Plus a gold-foil pickup, because why the hell not? That might sound like a 6-string platypus with identity issues. But the 112 is a superb instrument whose unconventional parts conspire to produce lovely and unique tones. (Luthier Chihoe Hahn reportedly developed the model in tandem with the late Walter Becker.)

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