My guitar collection - Acoustics

 
 

The name Buck Owens can be found in several places on this website. He certainly is associated with this beautiful G&L ASAT Classic ‘Buck Owens’ with its distinctive Red, White, and Blue color scheme. These colors were clearly Buck’s favorite. Even in the 1960s, when he and his Buckaroos could be seen on the TV-show Hee-Haw, Buck would wield another guitar with that color scheme. When visiting the Buck Owens site, clicking the Museum button just right of center at the top, and hovering over Buck’s Red, White, and Blue acoustic, its origin is laid out: “Buck came up with his idea for a red, white, and blue guitar in 1967. They were originally made in one of the Harmony guitar factories owned by Gibson and sold through Sears at a retail price of about $100. Many thousands were sold.” Indeed, the Harmony Company, before it went belly-up in 1975, was the largest musical instruments manufacturer for many years and also built stringed instruments under a variety of other brand names like Silvertone, Stella, and Sovereign, many to be found in the Sears Roebuck catalogs throughout time. The Harmony H169 Buck Owens American model has a mahogany body with a spruce top, fat 25½” scale neck with 19 fret, bound rosewood fingerboard, 1¾” nut width, and covered open tuning machines. All this gives the guitar a very different sound compared to the more high-end Martin and Gibson models of that era. And that would basically be the end of it were it not for 2 iconic other appearances of this model. The first is in Nirvana’s seminal MTV Unplugged in New York concert from 1993 where Pat Smear, and Curt Kirkwood later during the event, can be seen playing one behind Kurt Cobain. The second is Ryan Adams, who own at least 3 Bucks (seen here going through Dan Erlewine’s shop), and uses them heavily, both in the studio and on stage, while thriving on that unique sound. Although there is plenty of information on the Harmony Buck Owens online, it is all pretty scattered. Hopefully this Harmony Database page will be helpful. It may not be totally up to date, but it has plenty of pictures when searching for “Buck Owens” and is clearly a labor of love, not unlike this website.

 

Harmony H169 Buck Owens American

The story behind this guitar

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This model became very intriguing ever since I became a big fan of Ryan Adams. And wouldn’t it be a nice complement to the other ‘Buck Owens’? But its current popularity reflects itself in commensurate prices. After watching Dan’s video for the umpteenth time over the 2017 Holiday Season, I found this specimen for a reasonable price at Thunder Road Guitars PDX on Reverb. It looked so clean, especially when compared to the other listed guitars. Clearly for a reason: before being put on sale, Nate Wood of Stahman Guitar gave it a thorough go-over, made the necessary repairs, and set it up “ready to go on the road”. You would not necessarily call it original. It has a repaired side crack, new heel cap, and non-original Gibson Deluxe Green Key (rebranded Kluson Supreme) tuning machines. The headstock overlay is clearly a replacement and looks as crisp as the ones Dan Erlewine makes in the referenced Ryan Adams Bucks video above. Although the pickguard is non-original, it can be found on many a H169 Buck Owens, as seen in this video where a similar guard is being removed. Given the “F-70 Made in USA” stamp visible through the sound hole, the guitar is definitely from 1970. But the meaning of the ‘F’ varies as can be read here. And that sound! That sound is just amazing and none of the aforementioned modifications have any averse influence over that! All the tone and volume in the world. And mojo!

The story behind this guitar

1970

9641H169

D’Addario EJ16 Phosphor Bronze Light (12-53)