H162 style acoustic
(used in Change of Habit)

 
Original one-sheet poster for Universal's Change of Habit - 1969
Photo courtesy IMP Awards

In the 1969 release of Universal's Change of Habit, Elvis plays a doctor in a free clinic in an inner city neighborhood.  Filmed in March and April, it was his last role as an actor, his thirty-first feature film and co-produced with NBC as the result of a deal made by Colonel Parker for the 1968 NBC TV Special.


Elvis performs with H162 style acoustic in the final scene of Universal's Change of Habit - 1969
Screen capture Universal Pictures

The film opens with him performing the song Rubberneckin' on a classical style guitar in a setting of a casual jam like atmosphere and closes with him fronting a band at a folk style mass in a church. He had recently recorded the song at American Sound Studios in Memphis.


Elvis performs with H162 style acoustic in the final scene of Universal's Change of Habit - 1969
Screen capture Universal Pictures

The guitar used in the final scene of the film is a spruce top, natural finished steel string acoustic that appears to be a Grand concert size model from the Harmony H162 family of guitars or one modeled after it.  They share the same size, shape, pickguard style, fretboard and pinless bridges of the later series though the headstock shape is also reminiscent of a Yamaha.


section in the Harmony catalog from the H165 and H162
courtesy Lew Skinner

The H162 was made from 1944 to 1971, at least. The older models, prior to 1957, had a more rounded "figure eight" body like the guitar modified for his use in Elvis' first film, Love Me Tender, thirteen years earlier.


Elvis performs with H162 style acoustic in the final scene of Universal's Change of Habit - 1969
Screen capture Universal Pictures

This particular guitar also features a pickguard made from a tortoise like material and has white binding on the top, back and fretboard.


Elvis performs with H162 style acoustic in the final scene of Universal's Change of Habit - 1969
Screen capture Universal Pictures

The film was released nationwide in November of 1969, just months after his return to live performing in Las Vegas with a new band.  It was only fitting that his final appearance on screen as an actor is an image that shows him come full circle and reestablish his roots as that of a singer fronting a band with a guitar.


Elvis performs with H162 style acoustic in the final scene of Universal's Change of Habit - 1969
Screen capture Universal Pictures

This page added August 15, 2010 is part of the section The Movie Guitars of Elvis Presley.

 

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