2/10/2016

1972 Harmony H1266 Sovereign Jumbo Guitar




These giant old sunburst Harmony jumbos are getting popular. I was browsing around the other day and the prices keep going through the roof and I continue to see more and more folks on the boob-tube playing them -- Ryan Adams, anyone? After proper work, their full-on, wide-open ladder-braced sound and visceral punch are probably the reason these are getting such a good reputation. Also, after 40+ years of aging, they're coming into their own in terms of play-time and opening-up as well.

Anyhow, this guitar is the cleanest H1266 I've had in the shop so far and it has no cracks and had very little fretwear when it came in. Apparently the original owner either took off the double "western" pickguards when it was brand new or they were never installed on the guitar in the first place. Tonally that's a plus -- as those original, thick pickguards pretty much act like a mild mute.

Work on this one included a neck reset, light fret level/dress, a new bone nut, some general cleaning, a new heel cap, new set of bridge pins, and adjustment to the compensation of the adjustable saddle. It plays spot-on at DGBE 1/16" and EA 3/32" at the 12th fret with a good, straight neck, functioning truss rod, and plenty of adjustment either way at the saddle.


This guitar is an upgrade of the standard H1260 Sovereign (solid spruce over solid mahogany) in that it gets the fancier eagle/mustache adjustable bridge, classical-style "western" rosette, fancy block fretboard inlay and tortoise headstock veneer, and a sunburst finish.

Something about the bridge and adjustable saddle means these H1266s sound a bit bigger and ballsier than other Sovs. This one, in particular, sounds huge and takes a heavy flatpick attack very well.


The nut width is just a hair under 1 3/4" and the neck profile is a mild C/D-shape that's pretty close to a modern feel but has slightly bigger "shoulders."


Rosewood board, pearloid blocks, and binding on the neck. The board has a 14" radius.


After the neck reset, the fretboard extension dips slightly down and away from the strings.



I'm always a fan of adjustable saddles. Sometimes you sacrifice a tiny bit of overall oomph, but you gain season-to-season ease of adjustment.



There's some finish weather-check as normal for a guitar this old and a few light scratches here and there, but overall the guitar is very clean.







The tortoise heel cap is a replacement and there's a filled strap-button hole at the side of the neck.







A padded Levy's gigbag comes with the guitar.

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