Stratotone H44 alternatives

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by 56_Special, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

    Messages:
    1,995
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    East Village
    I can't really see paying $2,000 for a Harmony guitar. But there are many models that seem quite similar. Are there any other guitars out there that have the same baseball bat neck-through and DeArmond pickups that would get you in the Stratotone neighborhood? I hear that the Eastwood version is not that great.
     
  2. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

    Messages:
    7,415
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    The Greater San Jose Metroplex
    Don Mare makes some pickups called Swing-o-tones that are Strat sized Stratotone pickups. Get yerself a Warmoth or equivalent Tele or Strat body and a horse-leg neck, drop a pair of the Mares into it, call it a day? Not neck-thru, but easy/quick?
     
  3. stratotonedude

    stratotonedude Senior Member

    Messages:
    597
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    You might be able to find an H42 Newport for a little bit less. Though recently an H44 sold for just a little over $800 on eBay. All things considered, if you have to have that sound get the real thing.
     
  4. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

    Messages:
    1,995
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    East Village
    I saw that. It was a refin. I should have bid on it.

    What is the story on the H42. Is it neck through?
     
  5. straightblues

    straightblues Member

    Messages:
    8,962
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Location:
    The LBC
    H44's have a very unique sound and feel. I had an original and have also owned an Eastwood version. The Eastwood is not an exact copy. There are a lot of diffrences. One big one being the originals have pickups that are about 3.5k and the Eastwood are around 16k. Having said that, the Eastwood version gets you in the ballpark. It is a funky guitar and is pretty cool in its own right but just don't expect it to be just like the original or you will be dissapointed.

    I have also played guitars with Don Mare Swing O Tone pickups. His pickups capture most of the mojo of an old Harmony and you get it in a much more playable tele or strat. Don is a great guy and really likes the Stratatones.

    Another option is to buy stratotone pickups and mount them on your guitar. If you do this, which I have also done, you need to run a seperate ground wire to the back of the pickup because they only have one wire coming out of the pickup. You alos need to use 50k or 100k pots to make them sound right.

    In short, the H44 have a lot of magic. You won't capture it fully in any other guitar but you can get close. Only you can tell if close is good enough for you. For me, playability of a modern guitar coupled with great statatone pickup is close enough.

    BTW, here is a video clip of an H44 in case people don't know what we are talking about.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBYBqAo9JJ8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SBntGgWrdE

    The Eastwood version (you can hear the pickups are much hotter)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9b9-k1uOC8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWlDSV94V28&feature=related
     
  6. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

    Messages:
    1,995
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    East Village
  7. jaxworlds

    jaxworlds Member

    Messages:
    130
    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Location:
    Agoura Hills
  8. stratotonedude

    stratotonedude Senior Member

    Messages:
    597
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Yes, the H42 is a neck through and has the same electronics as the H44. The H42 actually looks a bit more hip than the H44 because it has Harmometal binding.

    Rick Holmstrom is playing an H88 in the video clip posted by straightblues. Junior Watson is playing an H44.
     
  9. dorfmeister

    dorfmeister Member

    Messages:
    3,718
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
  10. dorfmeister

    dorfmeister Member

    Messages:
    3,718
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
  11. burner

    burner Member

    Messages:
    2,613
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    They are going for Two-Grand!?
    Hmmm.....
     
  12. wedgehed

    wedgehed Member

    Messages:
    452
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Strangely enough, the Eastwood version rates higher than the Harmony reissue with the folks on the Harmony Guys forum. They say the reissue's neck is too thin, while the Eastwood's is nice & beefy.
     
  13. mikelaw

    mikelaw Member

    Messages:
    1,461
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    Location:
    CT
    nothing is like a stratotone, the sound, the feel the weight. the only thing close would be a hollowbody with a p90
     
  14. mikelaw

    mikelaw Member

    Messages:
    1,461
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    Location:
    CT
    ps-- h44's arent $2k. theyre less.
     
  15. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,051
    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Location:
    Rocky Hill, CT
    My suggestion would be one of Valco's student models, like this guy:

    [​IMG]

    They were sold under a variety of brand names, including Supro, National, Oahu, Gretsch and Tosca. Some of them were short-scale guitars, but even these were better-made than Stratotones and have often survived in better condition.

    They are true solidbodies (not the semi-solid Harmony or Kay construction) with bolt-on necks. The pickups are very fat and thick, with high output for a '50s/60s design and moderately compressed. It's not exactly the Stratotone tone, but it's a similar vibe. They are single-coil units, although some look just like humbuckers, and they also tend to have better hum rejection than Stratotones.

    Best of all, they can be found for under $800 all over Ebay and Gbase - far less if you wait around long enough. They came with pickups in either position (a few had two pickups), and there are a few examples bearing the Airline name that come with an amp-in-case setup.
     
  16. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,105
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Location:
    New England
    The alternative to an H-44 is not having an H-44. The p.u.s are not the only failing on the eastwoods; wrong woods, etc. If you could have a woodworker type cut you out a poplar carcass and you could find an original p.u. and put it all together for under $2000 (I don't know anyone who would pay that for a real 44), then that's a possible alt.

    I don't think Holmstrom plays an H-88. He has at least one 44 with an added p.u. (see mine below). By my experience the H-88 falls short of a good H-44.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. mikelaw

    mikelaw Member

    Messages:
    1,461
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    Location:
    CT
    correct on all accounts here jon. I agree 100%. Can you do this for mine? :) :)
     
  18. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

    Messages:
    1,995
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    East Village
  19. jetlag

    jetlag Member

    Messages:
    1,122
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2004
    Those aren't H88 pickups in that guitar. They are toaster top (some call model 41) in the bridge spot and a toaster top cover over a stock H44 pickup in the front spot. The guitar is a H44 refin'd green, newish pickguard etc. I was told that Marco Fiume (rip) refin'd it but don't know for sure. The green looks really cool to me.
     
  20. Buckshot

    Buckshot Member

    Messages:
    454
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2002
    Location:
    Denton, Texas
    Are H88 pickups really different from H44s? If so, how? I always figured they were just different covers.
    Secondly, I know that Lollar will do a Hershey Bar repro - has anyone tried that route?
    I just picked up an Eastwood really cheap & it feels/plays ALOT like the H44 I had. I know it wont ever be exactly right, but I think it could be useably close with the right pickups.
     

Share This Page