The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Harmony Jupiter - why is original cheaper than reissue?
Old 30th July 2020
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Harmony Jupiter - why is original cheaper than reissue?

Hello Gearslutz,

I recently played a Harmony Jupiter reissue at a local shop (before Covid obviously). I thought it was a pretty cool guitar and was actually considering buying it, even though as a relatively new product (hasn't been in production in many years) it may not be tried-and-true yet.

However looking at the market I was surprised that the original 1960s models were going for cheaper than the reissues. Does anyone know why that is? Seems odd to me, but I figured since vintage guitars are often better than the reissues (at least in my experience) I wonder why they'd be going for less in this case. Perhaps there's an issue with the vintage ones that I'm not aware of?

I do know for sure that the new pickups in the reissue are unique and are humbucker versions of the goldfoil-style pickups that came with the original, but considering how much the original pickups can go for on their own, isn't it a bit odd that the guitar would be cheaper?

I guess if anyone has any opinions on these guitars, at all, I'd like to hear them!
Old 31st July 2020
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooseherman View Post
Hello Gearslutz,

I recently played a Harmony Jupiter reissue at a local shop (before Covid obviously). I thought it was a pretty cool guitar and was actually considering buying it, even though as a relatively new product (hasn't been in production in many years) it may not be tried-and-true yet.

However looking at the market I was surprised that the original 1960s models were going for cheaper than the reissues. Does anyone know why that is? Seems odd to me, but I figured since vintage guitars are often better than the reissues (at least in my experience) I wonder why they'd be going for less in this case. Perhaps there's an issue with the vintage ones that I'm not aware of?

I do know for sure that the new pickups in the reissue are unique and are humbucker versions of the goldfoil-style pickups that came with the original, but considering how much the original pickups can go for on their own, isn't it a bit odd that the guitar would be cheaper?

I guess if anyone has any opinions on these guitars, at all, I'd like to hear them!
Well, the old Harmonys were not always that great a guitar to begin with. So it's entirely possible that the new ones are, in fact, better instruments.

Something to be aware of is that the "gold" foil on "gold foil pickups" is just trim - it serves no actual function. And not all gold foils are the same, or even very similar, inside. Some were pretty good, some wear really terrible. We can assume that anything made these days is going to at least be decent, which was not always the case back in the '50s and '60s.
Old 31st July 2020
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Well, the old Harmonys were not always that great a guitar to begin with. So it's entirely possible that the new ones are, in fact, better instruments.

Something to be aware of is that the "gold" foil on "gold foil pickups" is just trim - it serves no actual function. And not all gold foils are the same, or even very similar, inside. Some were pretty good, some wear really terrible. We can assume that anything made these days is going to at least be decent, which was not always the case back in the '50s and '60s.
Good to know! I'm 33 and have been hearing from older guitarists my whole life that reissues are never as good as the originals but I guess that's more true of brands like Fender and especially Gibson. I think I may just go ahead and get that reissue (once the pandemic dies down and I can actually gig again).

Do you have any gold-foil pickup guitars or anything similar? Any brands that you like? Just want to see what people think since this whole style of pickup is someone unfamiliar to me, just want to learn more if I can.
Old 1st August 2020
  #4
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
I had a '62 Harmony Meteor for 10 years and thought it was a wonderful guitar. Well made, but nothing special. The adjustable rosewood bridge was cool.

The neck was like butter in every way possible and better than any modern neck I've played with exception to a Warmoth neck I have on my strat. But the Warmoth is made to my specifications.

I thought the gold foil pickups were very nice in that guitar, not sure how they would have sounded in something else. Very warm but present with good clarity and very articulate. But there's the thing: the magnets were 44 years old at that time - 2006. IMHO you just can't get that kind of tone from just about any modern pickup. I could be wrong and John Eppstein may have a different experience.

The other thing to consider regarding the $1200 price tag is that Jupiter you're talking about is made in the USA. I haven't played one personally but I would guess the quality and craftsmanship is worth the $$.
Old 4th August 2020
  #5
Yeah, the newest reissues are made in the USA, at the Heritage plant in Kalamazoo (the old Gibson factory before they moved to Nashville). They have pretty top-spec components, including dark ebony fretboards and are put together by the same guys who have been working on Heritage guitars for years.

The old ones were catalogue junk - if you can find a good one, it is to be treasured as a fun piece of history, but they are rife with issues, often unfixable, made out of lowest-common-denominator parts and their value is only what it's at thanks to a handful of artists popularising them by using good ones on records.
Old 7th August 2020
  #6
Lives for gear
 
becks bolero's Avatar
also the new Harmony pickups were designed by the fellow who ran the Gibson custom shop for years; so they are probably pretty good!
Old 8th August 2020
  #7
I'm mentioned this before and probably will again.....

That a pickup is "gold foil" means nothing. the so-called "gold" foil is just trim. It's actually colored aluminum and has nothing to do with the operation of the pickup.

What is behind the foil can be nearly anything. There are weak, noisy single coil "golds" that use a rubber magnet - a strip of rubber impregnated with magnetic material. This is probably the most common type of "gold foil" pickups on old "vintage" guitars.

But there are several other types, using alnico and ceramic magnets in various configurations, single coil, humbucking, whatever. Some are so monophonic that you can sing into them. Some aren't. Some use polypropylene coil forms that don't grip the coil wire and are therefore microphonic as hell.

Most original gold foils were made by D'Armond, which made some great pickups and some really horrible pickups. Some were made in Japan by Teisco, etc. Now they're being made by a lot of different sources, ranging from China, Inc to boutique winders in the US and Europe.

The point is that just because it's "gold foil" DOES NOT MEAN A DAMN THING except for aesthetics.
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 44687 views: 2628314
Avatar for BudgetMC
BudgetMC 1 week ago
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
🖨️ Show Printable Version
✉️ Email this Page
🔍 Search thread
🎙️ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump