The conversion of Matt Daniels’ 1954 Harmony Stratotone H-44 guitar to a two pickup instrument was inspired by our good friend Rick Holmstrom, one of the west coast’s foremost blues and swing guitarists. Rick has been largely credited with fostering the re-emergence of the Stratotone almost two decades ago. The modifications to Rick’s H-44 were closely related to the H-88 Stratotone DUO (two pickup model), but we decided to pull ot all the stops on the Matt Daniels project. Brett Brubaker of Foggy Mountain Guitars provided us with two 1950’s vintage “Hershey Bar” pickups modified for use with a five position “Super Switch”.
The H-44 pickups were usually permanently fastened to the instrument’s pickguard, and therefore non-height adjustable. So, I designed, fabricated and attached special brackets to the pickup base plates, making them fully adjustable (Patent Applied For).
Guitar wiring guru Emmett Brown, AKA “Deaf Eddie” worked with us to devise a unique wiring configuration for the switch that renders all the usual two pickup combinations, plus In-Series, and In-Series out of phase options.
After a highly customized re-fret,and the modification of the tailpiece for height adjustable screws, the instrument plays effortlessly with action set at just about 1/8” over the entire length of the neck. The tone and response from the pickups are spectacular on T-Bone Walker and West Coast jump and swing arrangements, and a full compliment of ‘50s and ‘60s tones are also readily available at the flip of the switch. I really hated to give the guitar back to Matt!