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Thread: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

  1. #1
    Registered User oldhawkeye's Avatar
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    Default Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Here is a mandolin I purchased on eBay a few weeks ago. It seems to be a bit of a fixer upper, didnít cost much and I think will make a nice beginners/camp fire instrument.

    Iím an amateur in this and thought everyone might get a kick out of following along. I have done a 1965 Kay guitar neck reset and rebuilt another 60ís model Monterey mandolin so Iím not a total beginner but close enough to count. I donít have a workshop per se but make the best use of the laundry room, kitchen table, outside deck, bathroom and bedroom. A few of my tools will give the professionals here cause for laughter or nightmares and of course any helpful comments or suggestions along the way will be appreciated.

    Here are the eBay pictures except for the side/tail shots which I took. This wasnít in the listing and adds a bit more challenge to the project but hopefully can be overcome.

    The mandolin has no date stamp and I would like to know if it might be able to determine the decade from the unmarked tuners. Also if anyone has a cloud tailpiece cover in their parts pile I am an interested buyer as that is the only original part missing.
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  3. #2
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    I can't help you with your dating question, but Mike E is our go-to Harmony expert here so I'm sure he'll be by to help out.

    I can say I've never seen inside one of these before and your photos are very interesting.

    The bracing is noteworthy to my eye as is the second bit of blocking behind the main neck block.

    Good luck with your project.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
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  5. #3
    Every day is a gift. Sheila Lagrand's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Best of luck on your project, and I'm so glad you plan to share your progress. I will be following with interest. My Louise is in need of some refreshment, and I'm a rank beginner at attempting such a project. I've replaced her 90-year-old tuners (after studying up on all the other things that could be wrong) and her corroded tailpiece. She needs some touching up of scratches and I have no idea how to proceed there.
    Now, what was I after when I wandered in here?

    Phoebe, my 2021 Collings MT mandolin
    Dolly, my 2021 Ibanez M522 mandolin
    Louise, my 193x SS Maxwell mandolin
    Fiona, My 2021 GSM guitar-bodied octave resonator mandolin
    Charlotte, my 2016 Eastman MDO 305 octave mandolin
    Giuliana, my 2002 Hans Schuster 505 violin
    Sally, my 2021 Jasmine S35 guitar

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  7. #4
    Registered User Greg Mirken's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    I got an identical mandolin, Harmony Monterey, for my 13th birthday- 1962.
    Shade Tree Fretted Instrument Repair
    Now located in Nevada City, California
    http://www.shadetreeguitars.com

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  9. #5
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    I must have done 100 fret jobs on my kitchen counter. I was very happy when I moved to house with a basement with a concrete floor and a ceiling tall enough to stand under so I could set up a work bench and some shelves. An above ground shop with lots of light, a bandsaw, and a finishing room would be nice, but . . .

    Strad didn't have no belt sander. I try to remember that when my shop seems inadequate.

    That job has got work written all over it. I can't think of a better way to learn the craft.

  10. #6

    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    There is a lot on the web about Harmony guitars. Not as much about mandolins. I am not finding the old database. I see this but have not studied it.
    https://www.snathanieladams.com/2020...y-guitars.html

    Looking foward to your progress!

  11. #7
    Registered User oldhawkeye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    I was going to comment on the extra block at the neck later, but since you brought it up...
    It is actually the original tail block that was just placed there by the seller for the picture. Why anyone would try to build a new one is beyond my knowledge. They also glued the new one in with some tenacious stuff to just the top leaving the sides loose except where extra glue grabbed the ends.

  12. #8
    Registered User oldhawkeye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Mirken View Post
    I got an identical mandolin, Harmony Monterey, for my 13th birthday- 1962.
    Well, you and I are the same age! I got my 1962 Martin D-28 a year later and paid for it with a newspaper route.
    Try delivering the Sunday edition of the Demoines Register in Iowa at -15. Hated the job but loved the results.

  13. #9
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    My first mandolin was a Monterey Harmony that looked like yours (minus the side damage). Wow, that will be a challenge (for anyone), good luck. Here's a previous thread: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...rmony-Monterey
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  14. #10

    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Well done! Those oblong plate Waverly tuners suggest it may be very late 30s or early 40s. Harmony got close to Kluson in about 1940- Kluson helped arrange the finance for Harmony's management to buy out the company from its owner- Sears, Roebuck. Harmony handed over their machine shop to Kluson and used Kluson tuners until the late 40s or possibly early 1950s. I am just attempting to do up a circa 1935 Harmony made Supertone- that needs plenty of love. I bought it for its crown tailpiece and it appeared to have late 1930s Kluson tuners with Gibson Phillips screws-probably off an EM 150 electric mandolin. I can see the oblong plate outline now I have pulled the mandolin apart and I am attempting to glue the back on to it right now! The mandolin looks okay from the front but the back is different- warped cracked and a bit of a mess- the mandolin has had attention in the past! I managed to buy two circa 1937 S S Stewart mandolins based on the Monterey- but a more exalted version to yours. One looked like a wreck and had been played to death but was a very quick fix. The other looked like it might be okay and it had a great case- it was in disarray in the auction photos. In fact it turned out to be almost perfect! I will show the Supertone and the S S Stewart- the almost perfect one but the other sounds as good but will not win a beauty contest!

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  16. #11
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by oldhawkeye View Post
    ...They also glued the new one in with some tenacious stuff to just the top leaving the sides loose except where extra glue grabbed the ends.
    As my parents used to say, you'll probably have to "drill and blast" to get that block out.
    You can make a new block, use the old block, whatever, so obviously you don't have any use for the glued in block, and trying to get it out in one piece (or minimal pieces) is a likely recipe for damage to the top. If very gentle wiggling doesn't pop it loose easily, I'd cut the block out, probably after first drilling away a substantial part of it

  17. #12
    Registered User Denis Kearns's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Unlike their guitars, Harmony seemed not to date their mandolins; however, there were changes to design features that are useful in estimating the age of a particular instrument. I looked into this in my attempts to figure out the age of a H410 that I picked up a few years back. To date it at around 1937, I used a combination of old ads, published images of mandolins (with the caveat that they may be wrong), and comparison to headstock logos on dated Harmony guitars. I still need to put it all together in a coherent article that I can share with the Cafť, but will offer these tips now. Useful changes include the logo on the headstock (also compare with guitars), tuners (square ends are older, which may have been replaced), the bottom of the fretboard (changed from a straight to a curved angle around 1940), and three-parted f-holes versus one-part f-holes (H410 only, other models had 1-parted f-holes early on). Various tailpiece options have been available, so not as useful in dating.

    From what I can see on your photos, I estimate that your Mandolin is post 1940 (the curved fretboard base), but older than the early 50s (older headstock logo, single part f-holes). Good luck with your repair. I like my Harmony mandolins. They are not as nice as my Webers, but still fun to play and I can leave them out to play anytime I walk by. Because I live in earthquake country, my nicer instruments remain in their cases unless they’re in my hands. Click image for larger version. 

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  19. #13

    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    This thread below from a few years back discusses Monterey mandolins. About the seventh comment there is a post by Mike Edgerton and there is a catalogue page from the mid to late 30s he uploaded. Yours -if it is late 30s would be the one on the left, whereas my S S Stewart mandolins- are just the Monterey on the right. The interesting thing about these S S Stewart mandolins, is they have "saw tooth end" Waverly tuners which harmony used in the late 20s and early 30s. I wonder if Harmony found a cache of them- or Waverly wanted rid of old stock and they were used on that model of Monterey as they are quite flashy tuners! Your mandolin does have those segmented f holes- three cuts into the wood per f hole and Harmony stopped doing this a long time ago. You will see the catalogue ad shows this feature.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...rmony-Monterey

    Here is a set of those Waverly tuners on a late 1920s Harmony made Supertone.

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  21. #14
    Registered User oldhawkeye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Well all, thanks for all the information, thread link and your correct assumption Sunburst. From the tuners it seems to ba a 1940's then? My other one is from the 60's. It will be showing up later as this repair progresses. I spent about 2 hours removing some of the glue on the top braces. Tried Ronsonal, Lacquer Thinner, Acetone, a heated pallet knife to pretty much no avail. The thinner did soften it a bit but it will still stretch and finally just a small piece will come loose. I need to get it removed to re-glue the braces properly. This stuff is very stretchy and don't believe it will hold up under string tension. The tailpiece block seems like it might be balsa wood? No grain whatsoever and would need to be removed anyway as some major fitting was never done. This will probably take me several hours at least. It doesn't even want to split so I could remove small pieces.
    THanks again everyone for the information.

  22. #15
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by oldhawkeye View Post
    ...Tried Ronsonal, Lacquer Thinner, Acetone, a heated pallet knife to pretty much no avail...
    If it is AR glue (Titebond et al) or PVA glue (ELmers et al) white vinegar will slowly dissolve it. (I suppose any color vinegar will work, but when you read about it they always say to use 'white' vinegar.) Give it a try and when it doesn't work assume you'll have to physically remove the glue.

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  24. #16
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    If the glue on and around the braces is old hide glue, denatured alcohol might help. It can liquefy the glue or dehydrate it, making it easier to tool it out. If it's epoxy or plastic resin, it might be best to split or plane the braces out and replace them.

    You said your tooling was very limited. If you decide to sacrifice a brace, you can grip it low with a pair of end cutters. The brace will split and you can work your way down the whole brace in a couple of minutes. Then you can finish it off with the weapon of your choice. If you prefer to use a less drastic technique and you don't have a small plane that will work, a very sharp chisel or gouge and/or a rasp will work if you are careful.

    My local Ace store now carries a blue Gator CeraMax 80 grit sandpaper that cuts fast and doesn't clog too quickly. You can glue it to a block of wood and remove quite a bit of material with it before it wears out. And coarser sandpapers are available at the local auto paint and body supply house.

    You may be able to reduce the tail block from the top with a Dremel in a router base. If you don't have that, you can drill some vertical holes in the tail block to reduce the amount of wood you will have to carve away by hand.

    I re-braced a Goya TS-4 12 string guitar last year. It cost $150 plus shipping, and had a good European spruce top, but when it got here it was dead as a door nail. When I looked inside, I found out why. The first thing I had to do was to pull out the 3 1/2" x 14" x 3/8" thick piece of plywood that served as the bridge plate and needless to say, killed the tone of the instrument. My Dremel had just given up the ghost and I didn't feel like repairing it at the moment, so I just dug into it with chisel and gouge, layer by layer. Once I figured out the best way to handle the tools, it took about an hour to pull most of it out, and then I finished the job up with a fine chisel and sandpaper on a block.

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    Here are the last pictures of the re-braced instrument before I reassembled it. The unusual "half X" bracing pattern was inspired by a rather unique 1929 Gibson L-1 that was used for the sound track of the camp fire scene in the "Oh Brother" movie.

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    I have since done quite a bit of re-graduation through the sound hole-- My new bracing was too heavy, so I thinned and tapered the V braces and front tone bar, thinned the rear ladder brace, and took about 1/3 of the rear tone bar out. She sounds pretty good now and projects quite well, but she's a little heavy in the mid-range and could use a little more bite in the treble, and I've reduced the braces as much as I dare. I might pull the rest of the rear tone bar and replace it with a new one installed at an opposite angle, a la Larson Brothers

    One thing I learned from this project was that there really isn't much information available on 12 string guitar construction.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jul-28-2021 at 9:23pm.

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  26. #17
    Registered User oldhawkeye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Nice job on the guitar rc56! Finally got the tail block out. Had to use a small hammer and flat blade carving tool and split it in about 10 pieces and carefully pulling each piece out. It dawned on me late last night the adhesive is silicon caulk. It acts like super strong rubber cement and you can pull and stretch it to about 10 times its' length, let go and it's back in place. I'm using a small hooked tool, hemostat and my fingers to remove it. Starting to come along nicely. Tonight I'm going to soak the inside top where the tail piece sits, heat it up and then clamp it to try and bring down the warped section. The reason it is in this shape is it looks like the bottom screw holding the tail piece pulled out and the instrument sat with full string tension for a long time. Unsure how successful as it will probably take several attempts. For those that are not familiar with celluloid binding or fret board markers they are a bit persnickety about heat. If you overheat them you will see a small burst of flame, a bit of smoke and Elvis has left the building. It's no fun and don't ask me how I know.
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  27. #18
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Many of us who do any kind of carpentry believe that silicon caulk or "RTV" should only be sold to people with a special license.
    I wish you the best of luck in getting all of the residue out of there.

  28. #19
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    One of your biggest challenges will be undoing the former "repairs". I think NickR had the date right and that ad from Harmony was a real find as it was the back side of a Kalamazoo catalog page I bought years ago. Every now and then I run into a guy that has a similar age Harmony that he has actually made into a really nice sounding and playing mandolin.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  29. #20

    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    It was a lucky find that old late 1930s advertisement, Mike. Nice to see how inexpensive tailpieces were back in the late 1930s- I paid $55 for my Supertone mandolin- about what I would expect to pay alone for its "crown" tailpiece- and a lucky bonus getting those late 30s Kluson tuners in perfect condition as well. I have now got the mandolin back together and it plays well- less than a 2mm action at fret 12 and it is very easy to play with its 13 inch scale. At some point someone had planed the neck and added a fillet of wood ( there is probably a technical term for this) under the board- not very pretty, but this explains the good action. I got lucky when I filed down that fillet before I put the nut back in place- it was way too high as it was. and it appears to be just right now! The mandolin has a very sweet tone- it is only 9 inches wide and sounds more like a bowlback. I just need to glue the back binding on as I am awaiting some glue and may not reuse the old binding- some was missing. My two S S Stewart Monterey mandolins sound really great. Luckily, I was not hampered by the earlier "restoration" which actually made removing the back very easy.

  30. #21

    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Here are some photos of the 1934/ 1935 Supertone I was working on. I have actually used a different set of Kluson tunes to those it arrived with- I will sort out a cheapo set for it with time! The photos are a bit hazy, I think.

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  31. #22
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Here's my lo-fi repair, it looks like the strad-o-lin segmented f-holes but not sure of brand. I had to remove the top as there were 2 longitude cracks. I also needed to remove the fingerboard in order to take the fingerboard support off to get the top off. I got aggressive with removing the fingerboard and it cracked at a fret line. It was a clean enough break that it reglued back on neatly. Not a valuable piece but might be a fun beater for someone. The one shot has a Gibson refrigerator label laying on it for fun.
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  32. #23
    Registered User oldhawkeye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Last night I soaked, clamped and heated the top at the tail piece. Let it sit all night. It's some better but am going to do it again shortly. I also sanded the top and brace bottoms, at the loose spots with 120 grit,blew them out with compressed air, vacuumed out the inside then glued and clamped the brace at the neck block. Will leave the tail one loose for now as don't want to fight it to straighten the top.My clamping blocks are made from scrap 3/4" cabinet grade ply with cork faces. My glue spreader for under the braces is made from a wood coffee stir with the end sanded down to about 1/4" original thickness. Strong yet flexible and re-usable. Almost forgot, I will be using original Titebond glue throughout this project.

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  33. #24
    Registered User Denis Kearns's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Hawkeye - Thanks for keeping us updated on your repair of this Harmony 410. As an instrument that has survived nearly 80 years, it deserves to be restored so it can continue to make music and last another 80 years. From a purely monetary perspective, maybe not good “business”; but as an old guy, also with some damage, I’m happy to think that some of us are worth repairing and keeping in good playable condition, even if we are maybe not the most-desirable models!

    I have some very nice instruments, but I still like playing my Harmonys.

    This thread has been a lot of fun to follow. I really appreciate all the wonderful Cafe folks that comment, share their expertise (and opinions!), offer great advice, show how they have repaired instruments, and make me laugh now and then.
    - Denis

    “If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.” - Dr. Seuss

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  35. #25

    Default Re: Harmony Monterey H410 Rescue

    Two useful products. I have not used them on an instrument. They do soften stretchy glue.

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