1960s Harmony Sovereign H1260 Flattop Jumbo Guitar

Yep, another big old Sovereign! Aside from a tiny, 1" hairline crack on the back, this guitar is very clean. It was sent-in by a lefty who wanted it converted -- but changed his mind. I like these big boxes -- they're like a "super-dreadnought" in shape but have a shallower front/back profile which means that despite the bulk they handle pretty easy. They're also lightweight, made of premium stuff, and one they're done-up they sound the business.

The owner mentioned this was a '66, but the only stamp I see inside is a lone "6" on the back. Usually the date stamps are F-67 or S-68 or the like. Either way, the neck cut and details seem to suggest somewhere in the '66-'68 range. By '69 the necks were a little different.

Work included: a neck reset, fret level/dress, bridge modification to pin-style load and a drop-in saddle slot, cleaning, replacement bridge pins, and a good setup. The neck is straight, the truss rod works (though it's near the end of its travel), and action is spot-on at 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret. It's strung with my "balanced lights" set in gauges 54w, 40w, 30w, 22w, 16, 12.

Scale length: 25 1/8"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at saddle: 2 1/4"
Body length: 19 1/2w"
Lower bout width: 16 1/8"
Upper bout width: 12"
Side depth at endpin: 4 1/4"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: solid mahogany
Neck wood: mahogany
Fretboard: rosewood
Neck shape: 10-12" radius on the board, medium C/D rear profile
Bridge: rosewood original (modified)
Nut: original plastic
Saddle: bone replacement

Condition notes: it's clean save for the 1" hairline crack on the back at the waist right near the side (non-issue, over a brace) and is all-original save for my modifications to the bridge. The truss rod cover is also cracked in two places as this old plastic gets pretty dang brittle. There's minor pickwear and handling-wear throughout and the usual weather-check here and there, too.

The top, like many Sovereigns, has this gorgeous cross-grain silking to it.

The fretboard shows the usual Harmony-factory-induced side-to-side tooling marks. The original frets are medium-small, but have plenty of life left in them.

I despise the classical/"tie block" bridge design that's original to these, so I've made it my duty to now convert every original one I work on to pin-style bridges. Not only does this get the guitars sounding better (because back-angle is increased), it's also easier to load the bridges, I can correct bad string-spacing problems on the originals, and it affords a drop-in saddle slot that allows for easy alteration to action height via shimming up/down to taste.

The time it takes me to modify the bridge this way saves twice the time when it comes to setting-up and adjusting the guitar later -- where one usually has to entirely slacken the strings and fudge the saddle out from under them several times just to get it dialed-in.

The pins are new rosewood ones and the saddle is new bone and compensated. The slot is deep enough to shim up/down as needed.

Here's that 1" hairline crack at the waist-back (stable) and the finish-check/stretch mark next to it.

It comes with a nice, hard, TKL case.


Unknown said…
Did you add to the reinforcing plate before installing the pin bridge? Hope this thing hangs together. Doubtful.

Unknown said…
Jake ol' boy-- More I think about it, the string-through to pin bridge mod is a terrible idea.
You cut away a huge amount of the bridge to get those pins in there. I predict bridge failure or at least top failure. Harmony bridges are not that well attached. Unless you did a siginificant reinforcing plate improvement look out!!

Jake Wildwood said…

I've done it roughly 6 per request and 8-10 more fix-n-sell and they've all held-up well over the years. There's plenty of bridge there for this to work. Gibson bridges from the same era are the same thickness even with the rear removed and, as you know, these harms have a bridge plate already installed from the factory.