4/26/2018

1971 Harmony-made Silvertone S1221 Jumbo Flattop Guitar




Harmony did some nice sunbursts, huh? This iced-tea-burst jumbo is the Sears Silvertone-branded variant of the venerable H1260 Sovereign and has a weird bridge shape and fancy-looking batwing-ish pickguard in addition to its awesome 'burst finish. It's no slouch in the tone department, either, with that lively, ladder-braced Harmony tone that's bulwarked with a healthy dose of bass rumble. While they "feel" a lot different to pick-on than, say, an x-braced Martin or Gibson, their recorded sound resembles D-18s to some degree, in their own merry way -- which is something most ladder-braced guitars do not do. I think it's all that airspace!

Work on this one included a neck reset, fret level/dress, new bone saddle (and mod of the saddle slot to a drop-in type), and a good setup. When it came in, there was evidence of a really poorly-done neck reset in the past and the headstock had been refinished to a natural color with a poly finish over it (rather than the usual Harmony black paint at the headstock). It was also missing its trussrod cover. During my neck reset work, I both shimmed+glued the dovetail joint that'd been a bit mangled and also double-bolted it on the inside via the neck block. It didn't need those bolts but I feel better about having them there. The old "work" on the joint mucked-up the sides of the heel, which needed to be filled-up to clean the look up post-work. It plays great, now, and the trussrod works just fine.

Specs are: 25 1/8" scale length, 1 3/4" nut width, 1 1/2" string spacing at the nut, 2 5/16" spacing at the bridge, 16 3/16" lower bout width, 12" upper bout, and 4 3/8" side depth at the endblock. Action is 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret, the neck is straight save for just the tiniest hair of relief (~1/64") on the treble/bass edges of the board but not the middle, and the strings are gauged 50w, 38w, 28w, 22w, 15, 11. It'd take 12s but I often like the way these sound better with slightly lighter strings that don't over-drive the top. The neck has a ~12" radius to the board and a medium, D-shaped profile.


This big old guitar is ladder-braced, lightweight, and sports a solid spruce top over solid mahogany back and sides. The neck is mahogany and the bridge and board are rosewood. The guitar has zero cracks.

It has a faint date stamp that reads S-71 on the inside. The Harmony model-code reads S1221.


The trussrod cover is a newer replacement. The owner of this guitar actually sent in a Silvertone repro decal to put on the headstock and I put it on. When I hit it with sealer, however, the Silvertone text disintegrated! That was frustrating but does happen now and then. Oh mismatched chemicals!

It's just fine without the branding, mind you.





The new, drop-in saddle slot makes action height adjustments easy via shims up/down. I've also compensated the new bone saddle correctly.











Here you can see one of the two bolts I've added for reinforcement of the neck joint on the inside. FYI, the fretboard extension dips slightly down from the rest of the board post-neck-reset.

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