18/05/2018 - Preliminary Availability Announcement - with photos of the guitar, in existing condition, prior to restoration.
Although over the years it has proved difficult to get hold of these scarce and very much sought after Tenors to sell, I have sold a number now, including one to Richard Hawley, in addition to the all solid Birch H929TG Stella Tenor he had from me before that.
If you follow my listings you will know that I do list Tenor Guitars regularly, most often H929TG Harmony made Stellas, together with the Harmony Monterey H950T & Archtone H1215T archtop tenor models, plus Sovereigns like this one & other Chicago-made tenors.
My tenor guitar sales have been fascinating in regard to the quality of the players who have bought them, including one restored as a private project for the well-known Midlands-based Bluesman David Bristow. David is extremely happy with it, and footage of him gigging it is now available on YouTube - David Bristow - Three Fat Ladies! Sound is better on the one recorded at the Musician, Leicester.
Another, partly rebuilt and restored sold to Richard Hawley, who has since bought another tenor...the Harmony Sovereign H1201TG, same as this one, and again I have been in touch with Richard since, and he is very happy with both of his tenors, and happy for me to use his endorsement. Archtop H1215TGs hav gone to both Steve Harrison, in West Yorkshire & Graham Legge in N.E. Scotland. Other tenors have been shipped all around Europe, inclding to buyers in Denmark, Germany, Rome and Portugal!
I am now finding that I regularly "pre-sell" my guitars, at the stage where I am still working on them, and although previously I had my doubts, this arrangement has now worked well in quite a number of cases, so I have decided to list some of the guitars coming through the workshop, in advance of them being fully ready, and welcome further enquiries.
Stock Number: VTG1498.
The Harmony Guitars Database entry for this H1201TG tenor version of the iconic Sovereign flattop, is pretty sparse, but the 6 & 12-string versions hold an unrivaled place in the history of Rock Music in the late '60s. This smaller-bodied, parlor-size, tenor version was made from around 1959 to 1971. Unfortunately, although the H1201 inside ink stamp model identification is just about visible, it is not possible to locate the usual Harmony Ink Date Stamp, but I believe that this guitar would probably date from the late 1960s.
Into the 1960s, it seems that the tenor guitar, developed early in the 20th. century as a guitar usable by banjo players, was still in demand, but production had dwindled to a few manufacturers, and after this model ceased, Harmony produced a few similar variations until all production ceased in 1975. In recent years to use and demand for Tenor Guitars has revived strongly, with some prominent players.
Experts and Tenor Guitar/Banjo players will know far more than I do about the tuning options for Tenor Guitars, but there is also information available on the web, and I have a copy of the very useful "Tenor Guitar Chord Bible" by Tobe A. Richards, available on line from Fretted Friends, with chords for CGDA (Standard Tuning) and GDAE (Irish Tuning), as opposed to the Chicago tuning, derived from the 6 string. Various string makers produce string sets specifically for Tenor Guitar & the excellent Eagle Music produce them in 3 sets:- "Chicago" 13/17/26W/34W, "Standard" 10/13/24W/32W, and "Irish" 12/18W/28W/38W - available online & I will fit the buyer's choice of strings if available.
The condition is essentially original, and on completion of the restoration, I think as good as you are likely to find on a 45+ year old Harmony acoustic, that has been used at all, and not just sat in it's case for half a lifetime! Some typical age and use marking, as to be expected for a vintage guitar of this age, will inevitably remain when I have finished cleaning up the original finish, which may leave some scratches, patches of wear/small areas of finish loss, & slight indentations on the back of the neck, but nothing which in any way hampers play.
There is a small patch of disturbed finish on the back and some slight signs internally suggesting that there may have been a longstanding knock. This will be fully reviewed in the workshop to consider whether a small internally wooden reinforcement plate should be glued in place. The Harmony name headstock logo has gone, but I hope to be able to get a stencil produced to enable this to be re-painted on.
All the components appear original, and in good condition, except for bridge, which has been replaced by a less than top quality unit, not particularly well-made, together with a minor alteration to the adjoining pickguard. A new individually purpose-made replacement Hardwood bridge will be made and fitted, including purpose made bone saddle. If the original pickguard cannot be adequately restored, I can make a replacement 'guard in the style of the original. The two on a plate tuners, again original, have only very slight marking, but remain bright and work fine.
I can see no sign of other previous repairs, but on checking over fully with the very experienced professional luthier I work with, it was thought that this, together with some other signs, may well suggest that the guitar has benefited from an earlier, tidily completed neck reset. A front strap button had been previously fitted. The original bone nut is intact and should be satisfactory when reset, and the neck angle look.
The slim brass frets show very little sign of play wear, with only a slight degree of wear to the dark Rosewood fingerboard. The restoration works outlined will be completed, at least partly in the workshop of the highly respected professional luthier I work with, and entirely under his supervision.
As it arrived the 12th. fret action was fine at approx. 2.75mm., and I will be seeking to retain a similar good action in making & fitting the new bridge, which I will be individually purpose-making in a suitable Hardwood.
If "pre-ordered" strings will be fitted to the customer's request, depending on the tuning to be adopted. I have a couple of sets of dedicated Eagle/Newtone tenor guitar strings gauged for "Standard" Tenor Guitar Tuning, but strings for "Irish" or Chicago" tuning can be fitted.
There is no case included with the guitar. I may have an contemporary pressed fibreboard case to fit, but old cases of this type, are not generally very robust or well-fitting. However, if you would be looking for a hardshell case, offering better protection, I may have a virtually unused Hiscox Liteflite case to fit at modest additional cost.