A refreshing double cut with modern upgrades from a vintage company.
Check out my official UG Shot of the Harmony Rebel!
Huge thanks to Ben from Bandlab Technologies for getting me this and a few other Harmony products to review!
Overview & Final Score: 8.6
Unlike Harmony’s other two well known electrics, the Rebel isn’t a modern remake of their popular Stratotone or Bobkat models. What it is however is a totally killer double cut with two gold foil humbuckers that scream punk rock to me. In fact, from the minute I first saw the Rebel, I could picture playing The Clash’s debut album front to back with it.
The Rebel’s body is made from Mahogany with a vintage Nitrocellulose finish. The neck is also made of Mahogany, with an Ebony fretboard and 22 medium-jumbo frets. The C-profile and 25″ scale length also make it feel pretty at home in most player’s hands. Custom gold foils have a traditional 3-way selector switch with just one volume and tone control. The stripped down body is simple but eye catching, giving off major rock n roll energy with the half Tele-bridge that has compensated saddles. Oh, and this great guitar has locking tuners, what more could you want?
I am a huge fan of these gold foil humbuckers. They look cool, but more importantly they give the Rebel some real chime. The Rebel has a vintage oddball meets Les Paul DC vibe, and you know those are two of my favorite things. Harmony’s bridge humbucker is very clear, and paired nicely with overdrive and distortion. I personally loved using this guitar for arpeggio work, in the vein of Coldplay, U2, or REM. Notes rang out clear, and the gold foil humbucker is super warm, pushing my tube amp into a great natural crunch.
The neck pickup was also a nice surprise. As you’ve read before in my reviews, I’m always super impressed when a neck pickup doesn’t get too muddy and retains clarity. I think gold foil pickups like this are the way to go for me, as they add a ton of treble and chime to the creamy neck tones. Lead lines, and even some slide guitar, sounded great with plenty of unique character. Playing the Jupiter alongside the Howl Sirena 3 and my HSS Strat, really demonstrated how nicely this guitar fits between humbucker and single coil. Unlike a P90 though, it is not mid-heavy, with more a full warm, Strat single coil tone without the hum or buzz.
The C-shaped neck profile feels comfortable, as does the 25″ scale length. I find myself more and more attracted to these 25″ guitars the more I review them. It is easier to bend than all my Fenders but feels less foreign than a Gibson or Jaguar/Mustang. Overall, the tuning stability was really good thanks to the locking tuners and stylish half-bridge. The only issue for me was I felt some of the fretwork was a bit rough. Nothing concerning, just a few rough edges as you run up the neck, but not ideal on a USA-made guitar. On the other hand, the action was perfect right out of the gig bag. To be fair, I also love the six on a side headstock that I always think of when someone says Harmony.
Finish & Construction: 9.5
Harmony’s finish work has just been great on all the guitars they have sent me. I may not have loved the Champagne color, but the nitrocellulose finish is awesome. This guitar is somewhat the opposite of the Juno I reviewed, where the neck playability wasn’t as good, but I’m so much more in love with the finish, construction, and design. The Rebel is a guitar I would take to a gig immediately, as opposed to the at-home songwriting the Juno inspired me to do. The Burgundy color is beautiful and the larger body feels way more familiar to me. Could this Rebel become my new favorite DC-style guitar?? This guitar arrived with no dings or scratches and the few rough fret edges were the only issue I really could find on Harmony’s Rebel.
The real value of the Harmony Rebel lies in a few distinct characteristics. First off, it’s a very affordable American made guitar, so if supporting domestic production is important to you, this is an excellent option. Second off, it has some real quirk with the golf foils in a fairly familiar package. Those humbuckers really fit beautifully for players who love single coil chime and sparkle, but need a bit more crunch and output. Plus, losing that sixty cycle hum won’t hurt either. At just above $1000, it’s a steal for a USA-made guitar and it certainly seems to have excellent build quality at the price point as well. Overall, I’m a big fan of the Rebel though I would have appreciated a coil split, but the sturdy MONO gig bag that comes with the guitar more than makes up for that!
Good for: Punk, Garage Rock, Indie/Alternative Rock, Doublecut Fans, Those Looking For Something With A Little Flair