2/03/2016

1963 Harmony H1260 "Sovereign" Jumbo Flattop Guitar




Ah, the venerable H1260. Folks go wild for these when they get their hands on one that's fixed-up. Sorry, though -- despite the fact that there are multiple examples in the "getting ready for sale" rack, this one is a customer's box and belongs to a certain Mr. K.

Like other H1260s, this is a ladder-braced guitar with a "jumbo dreadnought" shape built with a solid spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides, a mahogany neck, and Brazilian rosewood bridge and fretboard. This one received a neck reset, fret level/dress, a bit of cleaning, a new pickguard, and a brand new (tall) bone saddle as well as some bridge fussing-over.


These guitars are, in my opinion, among the most successful-sounding mass-produced ladder-braced boxes I've heard. The light-ish bracing on a giant 16" extra-dreadnought body means that despite the bracing style (which tends to boost mids and highs), these guitars have a warm, woody, and full sound that works perfectly for the kind of thumping you'd ordinarily subject an x-braced guitar to.


They also have massive, in-your-face headstocks. The scale on this one is 25 3/16" and the neck profile is a fairly modern C-shape a lot like a period Gibson with a 1 11/16" nut width. The truss works smoothly and perfectly and doesn't introduce any weird twist in the neck when dialing it in/out -- something I can't say all of these old Sovs do correctly.


Bound board... 14" radius... faux-pearl dots. Very 60s!


I traced the pickguard shape from one off of another H1260 in the shop. The original guard was long-missing when this arrived.


This original bridge was split right in half and reglued sometime in the past. It came to me with big bolts in the string-retaining section. While it seemed fine with just the glue and the bolts removed, I decided to countersink some new bolts and hide them under pearl dots just like on an old Gibson. Safety first...!

I then expanded the saddle slot and dug it down to make it a drop-in saddle slot. Add a nice, big, tall compensated bone saddle and voila, you're back in business with plenty of room to "come down" in the future if need be.

The strings on this guitar are "light comparable" at roughly 160lb tension, though the gauges are balanced-tension string to string: 54w, 40w, 30w, 22w, 17, 13. The reduced "mids" and strengthened treble and bass add up to a smooth tone and comfortable fretting experience.






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