HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - merchants slogan: "We don't have it but we can get it for you."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Building My Harmony Arsenal

So yesterday I got a call from Gordy (my luthier friend) and he told me he wouldn't be able to get at the neck set on the Harmony Sovereign 12-string until sometime during the first week in April so I went right over and brought it back home with me. I was missing that guitar anyway!

I did find someD'Addario EJ37's (medium/heavy) to put on the guitar, tuned her down to a C tuning and WOW! I am having some fun now!

Touble is, now I have Harmony Sovereign fever and I have been trying to locate a 1260 for the last week or so. I courted one down in Chicago through Craigslist, but wasn't up to the one way five hour drive to check out a guitar that "has some small cracks near the sound hole, holes drilled near the sound hole where a pick up must have been installed, some bubbling in the finish on the back, and is in serious need of the ubiqutous neck set". I passed and instead have been surfing the net daily and located one in Navarro, California. It should be here by the end of next week.

Now Gordy has two guitars that need neck sets!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Tailpiece Or No Tailpiece?

I had an interesting telephone conversation with a man in Berkeley, California, yesterday. He had several Silvertone 12-strings for sale and I was inquiring about them. I mentioned that I currently was having a Harmony Sovereign 12-string worked on and he said that if I had a Harmony I didn't need or want another guitar because the Harmony is the best out there for vintage.

Interestingly, he told me to get rid of the tailpiece and have my luthier install a 12 pin bridge as it would improve the tone and increase the volume of the guitar.

I called my luthier and he chuckled about the conversation. We decided to leave the tailpiece in place for the time being and decide further after the neck set as it would make a great difference upon completion.

Anybody out there who's gone through the tailpiece/no tailpiece dilemma that could offer their insights? I am leaning towards keeping the tailpiece as I think it does help take the tension off both the top and the neck. I also am going to install a heavier set of strings and tune them down to C or maybe even B.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Harmony Guitars American Tradition

The first real guitar I ever owned was back in 1960 just out of the army and clasping a big old Harmony Sovereign to my breast, working on those G-C-and D chords. It was a great guitar that suffered an ignominious death in a bar gig when it was knocked over by a drunk. It split wide open. I guess if I knew then what I know now, I would have saved it until I met someone who really knew how to fix guitars!

Then last week, I suddenly had a vision of a Harmony Sovereign in my head (only this one was a 12 string). so I went surfing the web and damned if I didn't locate one in upstate New York for $295 (marked down from $495). I called and found out that it would need a serious neck set and that cosmetically it is not the Princess.

It arrived yesterday and even in the shape it is in, it projects! Fills the room with that jingly-jangly chime! I immediately took it to my luthier, an authorized Martin repairman, and can hardly wait to get it back! All I can say is God bless all the fine American workers who built these humble yet warm and reliable instruments back in the 1960's and early 1970's. They made my life so much richer.