1968 Harmony H1203 Sovereign 000-Size Flattop Guitar




While its jumbo-sized H1260 Sovereign "bigger brother" gets all the press, the 000-sized H1203 is no slouch. This one dates from '68 per the stamp in the body and it's a relatively clean example of one. A consignor of mine used to buy these up all over the place and so for a while I had one or two available for sale off and on. I haven't worked on one in a bit, though, and when this one came in to me as trade-for-work, I set about getting it ready for sale.

Honestly, it sounds nicer than the usual H1203. This one's a bit woodier-sounding and punchier than average and takes a flatpick better than most. From the "driver's seat" it sounds a little thinner than it does out front, so if you play in a non-reflective room most of the time, you won't hear the whole of what one of these can do.

I like these guitars especially for fingerpicking as the later-'60s Harmony Sovereign necks are more or less "modern" in feel -- they're comfortable, the truss rods work correctly (for the most part -- this one works well), and they have a decent radius to the fretboard -- and the ladder-braced sound really responds well to bare-fingers playing. It does well with flatpicking, too, and has a crisp, woody "bark" on the lower notes and a percussive snap to the high notes.

Repairs included: a neck reset, fret level/dress, bridge reglue, saddle slot recut and new bone saddle (drop-in for ease-of-use), replacement pickguard (in the same shape as the original) and truss rod cover, general cleaning, and setup.

Setup notes: it plays fast and easy with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret. The neck is straight and the truss rod works. The fretboard extension over the body dips down from the rest of the fretboard, however, just a little bit. Strings are 52w-11 "custom lights" as the tops on these guitars tend to like gauges that are a little lighter than "normal" 54w-12 gauge "lights." 12s tend to belly-up the top on these a bit more as they age but the 11s sound good and keep the top healthy.

Scale length: 25 1/8"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/4"
Body length: 19"
Lower bout width: 15"
Waist width: 9 1/2"
Upper bout width: 11 1/2"
Side depth at endpin: 3 3/4"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: solid mahogany
Bracing type: ladder
Fretboard: rosewood, synthetic nut
Bridge: rosewood, bone saddle
Neck feel: slim-to-medium C-shape, ~10" board radius

Condition notes: overall it looks great but it does have minor usewear throughout the finish and one bigger scratch on the back. The bass side has a well-hidden ~5" old side crack repair that's stable. Pickguard, saddle, and truss rod cover are replacements, but everything else is original to the guitar.














Comments

Hey Jake..
Nice job!..
Is this 1203 still for sale?
Thanks!
Harry