6/29/2017

1970 Harmony-made S1212 Silvertone 000-Size Flattop Guitar





While the H162-style, spruce-topped, up-market variants of this guitar seem more common, Harmony did make plenty of these all-birch-bodied 000-size flattops over the years for the Sears Silvertone brand -- and they're decidedly "down-market." Still, once done-up, they make a decent knock-about acoustic with a very "Chicago" vibe. This one has a 1970 date-mark in the soundhole and the xxxxS1212 model code near the neckblock.

A customer of mine picked this up for the princely sum of $50 and had me "double the value" with a replacement bridge install, neck-bolt, and good setup. I would've liked to give it a fret level/dress, too, but like many Vermonters, dough is simply not on hand, and it'll have to wait until later. So -- if you hear a few little zips here and there in the soundclip, don't judge my absent fretwork, please!


Aside from a really terrible old bridge reglue and its associated muck on the top, the guitar is darn clean, has a straight neck, and no cracks. It's 15" across the lower bout which makes it 000-size and the ladder bracing and birch top combine to give it a distinctly "woody" sound.

These have a 25 1/8" scale and the owner opted for his own pack of 50w-10 strings, which makes it feel easy-peasy to play despite having a 1 3/4" nut width, flat fretboard, and medium, D-shaped neck profile. It also means that the strings don't hassle the ladder-braced top too much, either, with excess tension.



I added some side dots on the house, as the guitar is going to the owner's daughter -- and who wants to have to lean over the board to see where you are when you're learning?



These screwed-down pickguards often rattle and vibrate against the top. I took it off and added a bunch of double-sided tape to it to get it to stick flat and (hopefully) not rattle in the future.


The new, Martin-style rosewood bridge is shaved a bit, has string ramps added, and a new bone saddle that's compensated. See all the ick around the bridge? Those are leavings from a gross glue job that someone had done with the original bridge. I had to do a lot of careful chiseling to get the old glue off.

I could've reused the original bridge, but it was one of those classical-looking, pinless Harmony jobs that are torture to setup and string -- so why not upgrade to something more practical?










This got a neck bolt installed as the joint was fairly solid but did loosen forward just a hair under tension. This is a 2" drywall screw. Don't roll your eyes too much -- I've worked on so many cheap Harmony products that need a going-through and I know what works over the long haul.

I love the little lines of glue that Harmony left all over the inside of their guitars...!


The tiny little dot of fill you see at the back of the heel is my pilot hole for the screw. It's easier to get the angle correct and judge the proper length for your screw by going from the outside.

2 comments:

Kurt said...

Hey Jake, the circular bit of sticker residue on the headstock reveals that this was also a Silvertone "Space Dot" model like this one you posted a few weeks ago:
https://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/2017/05/1970-harmony-made-sears-tailpiece.html

Jake Wildwood said...

Thanks Kurt!