4/23/2015

1968 Harmony H1265 Sovereign Jumbo Guitar




Man, these H1265s have been getting very popular over the past few years. I've seen the prices spiraling up and up and up. They're certainly the most striking of "late model" Harmony flattop guitars with their countrified giant pickguards and "eagle" moustache bridges. Tonally they're like a more direct J-200 with oodles of volume and a boomy midrange sound with a bit of D-18-ish snap to the low strings. Their ladder bracing makes them easy to pull a lot of energy out of and especially suited to folks who flatpick with vigor.

These are essentially a sunburst, upscaled version of the more vanilla H1260 Sovereign from the same time and that means a solid spruce top, solid mahogany back, sides, and neck and rosewood board and bridge with an "extra-dreadnought" 16" jumbo body shape. This one dates to 1968 per its date-stamp inside and has a bigger C-shaped neck (1 11/16" nut) that recalls 50s Gibsons. It has a 25 1/4" scale which puts it somewhere between a Martin and Gibson scale length. This particular example is the cleanest one I've handled and it has no cracks, a great-looking finish (with just the right amount of weather-checking), and tons of stage presence.



My work on this guitar was simple: I reglued the headstock veneer, pickguards, gave it a fret level/dress, intonated the saddle, and set it up. Tuners lubed, too. It plays perfectly with 3/32" bass and 1/16" treble action at the 12th fret. It's currently sporting 12s and the truss rod functions well.


Pretty cool, huh? Both the nut and saddle are plastic of some sort and everything appears to be original on this guitar.

The neck didn't need a set and it's good to go.


Our kids love the giant pearloid block inlay. You do, too, don't you?


These pickguards tend to shrink and come up over time (which they had). As such there's a tiny bit of finish muck right along the edges of the pickguards here and there... but that's par for the course. They're glued-down nicely now, though.



Blog followers will know that I adore adjustable bridges. When they're made correctly, they sure sound fine and ease setup tremendously. This one works like one should and applies tension to the top of the bridge which = good sound and stable. I added some string ramps behind the saddle to give better back-angle on the strings as one adjusts the saddle up and down depending on preferred action per the seasonal shifts





Martin was using the same tuners in the 60s, too. After lube these work swell.








A semi-rigid, plush-lined chip case comes with the guitar. Yep, it's original.

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