Like others before him, Denver-based luthier Matt McGibney has discovered you don't always have to start a guitar build with the raw materials. Sometimes the best way to create something new is to start with something old. An old guitar that just wasn't built right can be remade into something totally new. When you reuse that old wood, you can unlock its true potential. Plus, any guitar built out of an old guitar retains the authentic mojo and character of a vintage axe.
The "H-160E" (as we've come to call it) is an extremely cool Frankenstein-level creation that starts with a Fender-branded Harmony H165 body. Like the H165, these guitars were made in Chicago entirely out of solid Mahogany. They were originally ladder-braced, but McGibney has rebraced this one to a hand-scalloped Martin-style X brace. This optimizes the tone, lending greater overall balance and more dynamic subtleties.
From there, the H-160E has a sunburst-finished neck from an H167. It has the six-on-a-side headstock that gives this McGibney some Fender flair. With brand new Kluson tuning machines, a new nut, and new frets, it rings out clear and true all the way up the fingerboard.
Borrowing from the J-160E acoustic-electric design, McGibney set this guitar up with a P90 just past the fingerboard extension. It has two top-mounted controls—volume and tone—that use replica Harmony stratotone knobs.
All-in-all, this McGibney creation is an inspiring OM-size guitar with nuanced tone and style like no other. It combines a lot of nerdy details you don't often find on the same guitar. We call it the H-160E. It includes a Martin Custom Shop case.