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Standel - Harptone Acoustic Guitars


Standel - Harptone Acoustic Guitars

The group for Standel and Harptone Acoustic Guitars.

Members: 4
Latest Activity: Jun 2

This is from Bill Ruxton at

"Standel was best known as a maker of the first successful transistorized amplifiers.  The company was started as “Standard Electronics,” a part-time radio repair business, in electronics engineer Bob Crooks’ garage in New Jersey.  In the 1950s, Crooks was approached by guitar innovator Paul Bigsby about making amplifiers, and by 1961, Crooks developed a line of powerful solid-state amps that quickly became popular."  

"In 1966 or 1967, the Harptone company offered to build guitars for Standel, and hired luthier Stan Koontz  to design a line of acoustic and electric guitars and basses.  These were made at Harptone’s facilities in New Jersey, and according to one source, only about 200 were made."  

. . . and the following was originally posted at the:
Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum, Founded by Steve Stallings.

"Standel is mostly famous for their amplifiers used by Chet Atkins, Merle Travis and many Nashville musicians"

"Standel made three attempts at marketing electric guitars under the Standel name. The best article on the subject is in Vintage Guitar magazine, May, 2002. It is very detailed and far beyond the scope of this website."

"In 1967, a third and final attempt at electric guitars was made. This time, Standel was determined to create something very special. This series of instruments was designed by luthier Sam Koontz of Harptone Manufacturing Corporation located at 127 South 15th Street, Newark, New Jersey. These instruments were beautifully made and are quite rare, about 300 were made. Prices ranged from $385 to $1,200 (in 1967 dollars). The instrument pictured below originally sold for $922 including hardshell case. Today, examples of these instruments have appreciated in value considerably and sell for very respectable prices."

 I had originally asked Acoustic Guitar to create this group before I knew there was already a great Harptone/Standel site on Facebook hosted by Eric Sutton, who knows more about my Standel E-6N Deluxe than either Stan or Del.

Anyway, we'll see what happens. With less than 300 of these things out there, maybe the market for Standel/Harptone groups and forums is already saturated.


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Comment by Eric Sutton on June 2, 2015 at 11:33pm

A little info on dating your Standel and Harptone guitar.

Standels, both acoustic and electric.

If label says Harptone- 1967

If label says Standel- 1968

All acoustics start at 2000 and ends around 2700 in 1971. restarts at 2000 until company sold in 75.

1972 to 1974. Dove tail pick guard, rectangle bridge added.

1975. zero fret removed.

Comment by Eric Sutton on June 2, 2015 at 11:21pm

 It's been a long time since I last viewed this web pages. I need to do a little followup and updating.

I started my Facebook page a little over 3 years ago. We reached 100 members as of last November, (2015). the last 7 months has seen member climb to 141.

I have learned so much about Harptone and the guitars they made thanks to member postings. We even discovered 3 of Semi Mosley's 1960 prototypes are residing near me in the Washington DC area. There were only 10 made.

My collection has expanded massively. I now have over 16 acoustics. Spanning from the early Standels, 67, to a Diamond-S D10, 78. Most are Eagle 6 and 12 strings with a few Larks, also 6 and 12 strings. The mix includes Mahogany and curly maple models in Standard and Deluxe trims. The electrics include two 400 bases, one cherry, one sunburst. A 410-C, and a 420-S. A 510 and 520-C, A 810 and 811-S, and a 910-S custom.

I learned that Harptone's owner Sonny Brooks never threw out anything. I've seen quite a number of surplus and factory seconds that were sold out of Diamond-S's shop in Independence Va., or given to Diamond employees. The electrics mostly have miss matched electronics hardware, and neck/ body pairings. I have an example of one. It's a 410-S with a 500 series harness and cheap Jazz master looking PU's. Some are complete with and without labels. Most of the left over acoustics are overstocks. Again with or without labels.

One important note is Harptone started making acoustics in 1965 under the Supreme label and sold in Sam Ash stores. These guitars had a three point crown head stock. An early Standel 811-S showed up in Argentina sporting this style of head stock. It might be a prototype as all other Standels and Harptones had the Bulls head head stock.

Harptone made a limited run of curly maple Eagles for C. G. Conn. It thought that only 100 were made. They made 4 models. The F-60 is a 6 string, the F-65 is a 12 string. The two other model are the F-70 and F-75. are Indian Rosewood back and sides. Non of these have surfaced to date. I don't know if 100 units were built of all 4 models or 100 for each model.

Now the Yamaki connection. Yamiki introduced Harptones to their 1971 catolog line and shows up again in their 73 catolog. Their 76 catolog shows Copies of Harptones called Bulls Head.

Now the big question is did Yamaki make Harptones for import? The answer is yes. I'll need to backup and little bit to answer this correctly. In 1975, Sonny Brooks sold Harptone to Larry Sturgel who formed Diamond-S of Independence Va. Larry is the nephew of Dave Sturgel who worked for Grammer guitars. All histories on the net state that Dave is the one who bought Harptone, but Dave was a non paid adviser to Larry. Now Diamond-S lasted to early 1981 and was liquidated. Larry owned the design patients and logo copyrights. He formed Trycor Inc. of Columbia Md. and imported a shipping container of Harptones built by Yamaki. So yes, there are a few out there.

I like to thank Larry Sturgel for letting me interview him twice over some tasty burgers in a Ellot City Md. dinner he likes to frequent.  

Comment by Anna Marie Lancaster on April 28, 2012 at 7:12pm

Is she a Jersey Girl?

Comment by Anna Marie Lancaster on April 28, 2012 at 7:11pm

Comment by Anna Marie Lancaster on April 28, 2012 at 7:09pm

Hi Standel,  I’ve also posted this question on Eric Stanton’s Harpetone page on Facebook. You also have knowledge about guitars made at the Harptone Facility in Newark, NJ. I did an internet search of my Conn F-65 12 string.  I found a website maintained by a Conn guitar enthusiast named Joseph Brock. On Mr. Brock’s website he posted that Conn F- 60 – 6 string & Conn F-65 12 string guitars are solid wood guitars & made at the Harptone Facility as prototypes. All other Conn guitars were manufactured in Japan. I sent some family pics to Mr. Brock of us playing the Conn.


 I hale, originally, from the south end of Bloomfield, NJ. I have no intent on ever selling the guitar because of the sentimental value. (All Conn guitars have a low book value, including the F-60 series) Both my sons discovered their love for guitar playing with it. If the guitar was made in Newark, so close to where I grew up, it would add even more to that sentimental attachment. Do you have any suggestions as to how I could verify if the Harptone - Conn F-60 & F-65 connection is true?

Comment by Eric Sutton on October 15, 2011 at 8:19am

I estamate that Harptone produced about 2500 guitars between 1967 and 1975. I can't back this for there are no surving records from Harptone or any of the companies that contrated with them. All of them are gone and most of the people involved are dead.


Comment by Eric Sutton on August 29, 2011 at 6:58pm
Thanks for starting the group Kim. The 300 number is the apx numbers of acoustic guitars and basses, simi hollowbodiy guitars and basses, and archtops that Harptone produced for the Standel Amp Co. in 1967/8. Dating is easy. If the label says Harptone, then it's a 67. If they say Standel, then it's a 68. All Harptone records, as are early Standel records are lost. There is a white sheet that Bob Cooks kept in the very early days,(1950's) of Standel that show the SN of his amps and who bought them.

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