4/18/2018

1969 Harmony H1260 Sovereign Jumbo Flattop Guitar




She's a good'n, yessir! I've played a lot of Harmony jumbos and this one has the goods. The bass is strong, the mids and highs are punchy and defined, and it doesn't have the airy-fairy over-sustain thing that some of these get on the highs. It has a lot of chunk like a '50s Gibson, but with more of that open, gutsy ladder-braced sound bouncing around. It's also dang loud.

It's also in good shape, though it's obviously been played. There are no cracks but there are plenty of minor scratches here and there on the back and sides. The top has aged to a great buttery-yellow and the back and sides to a medium, tobacco-stained brown. There's a date stamp inside that's very, very faded but I'm guessing it says 1969. The truss rod is functional, the neck is straight, and it's good to go.

Work included a neck reset, fret level/dress, bridge reglue, pickguard reglue, cleaning, and setup.  It's playing perfectly. Everything except the endpin (which is ebony) is original to the guitar -- even the saddle. Because I had to reglue the bridge and do a neck set, I was also able to get the original saddle in the right spot and also preserve the saddle's original height (rather than taller or lower) during setup. The only frustration with this guitar is its lack of branding at the headstock, though judging by the straight bridge on it, this one was probably sold under a different name than its usual Harmony Sovereign branding. Sovereigns in jumbo-size usually have the weird "swoopy" bridge shape.

Specs are: 25 3/16" scale, 1 23/32" nut width, 1 1/2" string spacing at the nut, 2 3/16" spacing at the bridge, 16 1/8" lower bout, 11 7/8" upper bout, and 4 1/4" side depth at the endblock. Action is spot-on at 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret. I have it strung with 50w, 38w, 28w, 22w, 15, 11 strings as I prefer the tone of them on these guys compared to 12s (less compressed-sounding) and I think they keep the top a little more stable.




While the headstock has no brand, the black paint on it looks original to me. Maybe this had some sort of medallion stuck to it at some point? Harmony built for a lot of retailers who stuck their own branding on.


This fretboard has the usual machining/tool marks sidet-to-side found on most Harmony products with radiused fretboards.




I did compensate the original saddle a little more.





The original tuners are still going strong, though they're not as accurate as modern machines.






The plastic endpin was missing so I replaced it with an ebony one.

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