1960s Harmony H1260 Sovereign Jumbo Flattop Guitar

A customer of mine is going on tour and wanted to see if I could fix-up a funky/fun acoustic for him to use while backstage. Ok! He sent me a number of links to ailing old boxes -- some Harmony products, too -- and I said: hey, why not just get one of the Sovereigns hanging around here on consignment? We can turn it into what you're looking for! Hence: two birds with one guitar, right? That's what having a stockpile of cool consignor gear does for options, I suppose!

Because this needed to be road-worthy, it got the full treatment: a neck reset, bridge reglue, bridge modification to a pin-bridge (rather than annoying end-load/classical style) setup with drop-in saddle, pickguard reglue, new 18:1 Grover tuners at the headstock, a refret with jumbo/pyramid wire, and a good setup and extra saddle for action adjustments. Yeah, well -- of course it turned-out awesome! Bigger frets plus that tight 10" Harmony radius to the board feel great and the more massive frets also mean thicker tone, too.

Anyhow, it plays on-the-dot with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret, strung with 54w-12 regular lights. There are no cracks, the neck is straight and the truss rod functions well, and the light wear-and-tear overall gives it a friendly presence.

Specs are: 25 1/8" scale, 1 3/4" nut width, 1 1/2" string spacing at the nut, 2 3/8" spacing at the bridge, 16" lower bout, 12" upper bout, and 4 3/8" side depth. The neck has a medium C-shaped profile and a 10" radius to the board.

Woods are: solid spruce, ladder-braced top, solid mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck, and rosewood bridge and board. The nut is (original) bone and the saddle is bone, too.

Harmony bridges are on the low side and tend to have very low break-angle over the saddle (which = muddied tone), so when I reset the neck I wanted to increase that back-angle while also keeping the feel a little springy like the original. To get that effect, I chopped-off the "tie-block" style of the original profile and drilled it for bridge pins.

I then recut the saddle slot deeper so it could use a quite-tall, drop-in saddle. Because the pins are far enough to the rear (and also in line with the saddle's angle), I could get a 45-degree angle on the saddle without causing too much stress on the bridge. The extra length of the strings behind the bridge also gives it a slinkier feel.

Above is a shot with what the bridge looked like originally. Also -- you can see our goofy mock-up for a soundhole pickup.

The 18:1 Grovers are a huge upgrade compared to the original, 3-on-a-strip tuners. While those are fine for home/recreational use, I wouldn't want to use them for touring or under a lot of pressure.

Above is a hilarious shot of how many clamps and pads it takes to reglue a pickguard properly.


Nick R said…
Backstage? It's going to be centerstage in no time! Great work on a good old box.