The Recording King brand has quite the history. It started out in the ’30s as the label stamped on mail-order acoustic guitars, and has since been revived for today’s players, carrying a number of affordable vintage style instruments under its name. The RPH-07 Harmonella 0 is part of this line up, dressed up in ’30s cosmetics without the frailty and excessive price tags of old instruments.
The company describes this parlor guitar as a throwback to the dry and throaty sounding department-store instruments that became the favorite of many blues players. It’s main distinctive feature is its floating tailpiece, which gives this instrument a true old school appeal.
The Harmonella 0 starts off with a solid spruce top, which is quite impressive especially when considering it’s super affordable price tag. Instead of using ladder bracing which were used with floating metal tailpiece equipped vintage guitars, Recording King opted to support the top with traditional x-bracing, all of which are built using modern construction methods to ensure structural reliability. This design change results to a warmer sound with more overtones, while still delivering the throaty blues tone. To keep the price affordable, the back and sides are crafted from readily available laminate whitewood.
While the original models from the ’30s used steel reinforced necks, the RPH-07’s nato neck come with traditional truss rods for convenient adjustments. The C-shape neck joins the body at the 12th fret and is topped by a 20-fret rosewood fingerboard, with a scale length of 25.5″, and a nut width of 1-11/16″. Given these specs, the playing feel should be similar to regular size acoustic guitars.
Other features include bone nut and saddle, rosewood bridge, old school style stencil fret markers, ivory bindings and classic rosette. All of which adds up to give this guitar a complete old school vibe. It would’ve been nice if it had a pickup on, and a slotted headstock. Below is a video of the Recording King RPH-07, so you can see and hear for yourself.
Retailing for around $180, this parlor guitar is an easy buy for those who are looking for an affordable couch guitar to mess around with.