Feed back from a satisfied owner
H1260 Sound Demo Same Guitar Before and After - Hear It
Dave, I'm really enjoying the D35. It is so resonant and responds so well to a light touch. I had assumed that the strings were 12s but just noticed yesterday that the extra set was 11s. I am speculating you braced it lighter or modified it or both because a D 35 I played a couple of months back was good but this one is remarkable. The thin neck wasn't what I expected as it was different than the one I demo'd locally despite being the same year and model. I've favored heftier ones all along but after getting adjusted to it,I'm finding this profile works better for me.And the action is superb. I find myself playing with a different awareness. I keep finding more strengths with this guitar as play it. Maybe the best compliment I can give it is it makes me want to play and makes me want to get better. It no longer suffers cosmetically.I got after it with Howards restor-a-finish, 0000 steel wool, 3000 grit paper some compound and lightly oiled the fretboard. It now sports nickel Keystone knobs on the rotomatics and unbleached bone pins with abalone dots. My wife had misgivings when I first pulled it out of the box.I told her not to worry.By the next day I had it transformed enough visually that she said it looked "pretty". To me it plays like a new one but sounds like a great vintage one and looks like the seasoned workhorse that it is.Thanks for your excellent workmanship.You are my go-to contact for any future restoration project.
Dave it got here in one piece and I couldn't be happier. Will message more later.You are a class act.
A Fantastic Guitar! You got everything right.
The Oahu arrived late this afternoon after cooling its heels for a few days in Vernon, CA (just S. of L.A.). You did an absolutely superb job of packing and shipping it! I’ve never seen the like, perfect! And she’s a beaut, projecting all its vintage Mojo while having been expertly restored so it plays ’like new,’ no rattles, buzzes, dead spots, etc. Do you recall the gauge strings you put on it? I’m guessing .52-.11. The wound strings all project nicely but the high end needs more meat, at least in open G (top string down to D). I retuned to C (top string up to E and 2nd to C) and that helps the high end ‘sing’ more. Depending on where I want to tune it most often I may put a .14 on top and a .16 on second. Seems the strings are pretty new, so thanks, I may not need to change the whole set for awhile. I really like the bottom end on this guitar, mahogany really ’growls’ in the bass! Before I strung it up (great job in your packing of keeping the strings together, and the bridge pins and bridge were made for each other), I put a tiny magnet inside so I could try out the Cling On pickup, which works great with it. I’ll have a hard time resisting posting something on YouTube with this, and I’ll flag you when I do. It was looking at the Oahu sheet music last month that made me think about getting a vintage acoustic Hawaiian guitar. There were (and are) several on offer on Reverb, but I kept coming back to yours and I definitely made the right choice. I appreciate your parting with it so reasonably after all the work you’ve put into it. BTW it arrived on my birthday, good timing!
Just wanted to get you my review after spending a few days with the 1203. First off I was bit saddened to hear that the top was in such poor shape out of the gate, I realize the Harmony QC wasn’t the best especially in the 70s when they were just hanging on and about to fold up shop. That being said, the sound quality has far surpassed my expectations and I owe that entirely to your craftsmanship. The tone is excellent, high to low with outstanding sustain. The fretboard is smooth and very playable. Compared to the 1265, it obviously doesn’t have the big low booming base but instead has such a balance I havn’t heard in guitars 2X the price. It has been a pleasure to play and I look forward to spending more time with it. I’m super happy with the V-Bracing and any extra bracing you added to shore up the top hasn’t been noticed in the least. I’m very pleased with your exceptional work and am honored to have 2 of your works in my collection.
Quick shipping and very well packed and the guitar sounds great!
Fantastic guitar, shipped very promptly, with excellent packing!
Hi, Dave... Tenor guitar is wonderful, no harm done, thanks for packing it so carefully. It sounds fantastic and is set up perfectly, very happy... thanks for everything.
David, after a few short weeks the guitar has really opened up! The sound is getting better by the day from very good to fantastic! Thank you again for your work!
Dave, My new guitar arrived safe and sound about a hour ago. Ten minutes to undo your great job of packaging, three minutes of taking quick pics and 47 minutes of noodling later. Heh, heh, heh! I’m sure glad that gal didn’t want it! I’m very pleased with the guitar! Thank you for doing such a nice job on it , and thanks for the great price!
Arrived in perfect condition - this guitar is absolutlely STUNNING. Transaction was easy, seller was extremely responsive, helpful and perfect to deal with.
My Goodness! I can’t put it down. Had the action lowered and it really sings! I am learning Briarpicker Brown now. Love it for fiddle tunes. Thank you so much!!!!
Hi David! Got the guitars and I’m sure they are fine, they look beautiful. I need to string them up tonight, my least favorite chore ha ha, but you don’t even know how thrilled and how lucky I feel to have your art and skills inside my home so I absolutely thank you!
OMG! I just got the guitar back from having the action lowered. Wow! It plays like running a hot knife through butter. Lovely!!!!! And it is LOUD.
The guitar sounds fabulous. Plays great too. I’m really happy with it, thank you. It was worth the wait. I love the looks and to be owning a rare piece of history, I’ll cherish and take great care of her.
The Guitar looks and sounds amazing. I had to really look for the spots I knew had cracks. It sounds really great its actually the first time I have heard it because it came to me broken. Thanks for the really nice case, the picks, strings, and the extra fret wire as well. I’m going to enjoy this guitar for a really long time. The wood grain really shows through great on the mahogany I’m looking forward to sharing it with my family.
Sorry I’m just getting back to you! I was busy playing that gorgeous guitar all evening and worked all day today. It showed up a good bit later than scheduled but I blame that on the local fed ex kids. As for the guitar.. Wow. Just wow. This is my 7th guitar and this is the first one EVER that I’ve had no complaints with the tone whatsoever. Usually it’s too much bass, mid, or treble. This one is perfect. When I read x brace conversion on the description, I thought the ladder bracing on the back would be gone but I love to see it in there. All the new wood pieces supporting the top make me feel assured it will last a long time. And I definitely appreciate the extra saddle piece and extra bridge pins.. You did an absolutely beautiful job on her. 10/10. She’s a piece of art in my book. I’ll be keeping this one for the rest of my days. Thank you soooooooooo much. If there’s anywhere I can write a review for you, send me as many links as you have. You deserve them. I will definitely recommend you to anyone looking for an amazing acoustic. Thank you again, I truly appreciate all the work you did on her.
The guitar got here in great shape. Now I see what shipping - guitar is supposed to look like!! It’s truly fantastic, the best ďHarmonyĒ i’ve ever played. Its like a new guitar. What gauge strings do you have on it?
Great seller. Went above and beyond to make sure this guitar was awesome!
I found a battered H1265 in a pawn shop just before the pandemic with the idea that someday I would send it to the famous luthier down south to get an X braced conversion. I could tell it had really good bones but the action was high and the tone was a bit dull. It definitely needed a neck reset and the heal was already pulling away from the body. The pandemic put the project on hold for a bit and I am glad it did. I found out that Moonlightluthiers does the same conversion for about half the cost and that it would be done by Dave himself. Frankly, I was hoping just to save the guitar and getting whatever improvement was possible. I did not expect the end result would be a guitar that is as nice as any guitar I’ve ever played. It sounds great and is the easiest playing acoustic I’ve ever owned. Dave really cared about providing a first rate guitar to me and he far exceeded my expectations.
My 1203 has arrived safe and sound and well packed. The lag in this message is due to the unboxing process followed by the initial tune up and playing of the guitar. This being said let me first Thank You for the fine work you’ve put into her as well as the uncovering of previously heretofore unheard tones in this Chicago Girl. Playing on her initial strings there are whole regions of tone that had not been availiable prior to your work. Thank You. I had thought the V bracing was a bit of a gamble but I am quite pleased with the result as it does have a certain clarity that X bracing has less of. Certainly in an ensemble situation she’ll certainly stake out her territory and not be swamped by bass and brush-based drums. I enjoyed the additional information concerning the proper strings and as i am of a certain age, I still prefer using a tuning fork as it brings me in tune with the instrument as much as i am tuning the instrument. (Try telling that to those who are dependent on electronic tuners. My thoughts on the matter have fallen on deaf ears). Well I shall again Thank You for this feat of Engineering and Alchemy, my silly Hippie Girl guitar (Love, Live, Be) now home and ready to sing for Christmas (and other Holidays!).
Hi Dave, everything looks and plays wonderfully, thank you!
Absolutely outstanding. Couldn’t be happier. The hard part is deciding which of these 3 fine instruments to play when I reach into my old cedar lined closet. Hmm... I think I’ll play the new one today.
Absolutely love the H1203. Stunning tone. The sound coming from this guitar with the new bracing is amazing. Can’t figure out how Harmony could build such nice guitars but not get the neck angle sorted. The setup from your shop is perfect. With the neck straight and the angle of it dead on, the notes absolutely ring from the sound-hole. TY!
I am stunned by this guitar. Absolutely overcome by the tone and playability. This thing rings like a church bell. Intonates perfectly. Just incredible. The packing was solid. Easy to string up and get going. The tuning instructions are very interesting and work like a champ. Will make this approach a permanent habit moving forward.
(5/28/2020) I purchased a Silvertone 1260 (Number 95) a few years back. I absolutely love the guitar, play it every day, and now looking for a H1203. Thought I’d come to you first in hopes that you may have one in the pipeline. Your work was first-rate.
The guitar is fantastic. I strung it up yesterday and played it for hours. What a great huge tone it projects! It was hard to imagine that it would ever be playable again with all the cracks and damage it sustained through the years, but you have breathed new life into it, and I know that I will be able to play it for years and years to come with no issues. Thank you for taking on this project and for bringing this guitar back to life for me.
I recently sent Dave at Moonlight Luthiers an unplayable beat to heck Harmony Jumbo 1265 for the x-brace conversion and everything else he does to get these old Harmonies in playable shape. After receiving it back I was blown away by the care and craftsmanship that went into reviving this guitar. From the major items like new bracing and neck resetting to the little attention to detail items as well. Not only does it look much better, the sound and playability is on par with guitars selling for 3 and 4 times what this 1265 is worth. The neck and action are spot on, the tone and sustain from low E all the way up are amazing. It’s got a big booming voice but also finger picks with clarity and projection. It’s a true joy to play especially after knowing it wasn’t much more than a wall hanger. I highly recommend sending your old ladder-braced Harmonies to Dave for the conversion, you’ll be in awe at the transformation and it’s a bargain to boot.
I wanted to follow up after playing the guitar for a few days. In short, I absolutely love this guitar. I’m so pleased with how it turned out. Even strung with the 10’s you sent with the guitar it’s resonant, bright w/o being harsh. Plays beautifully.
David, I just purchased the 1260 #179. I’ve been working on guitars and tube amps for 35 years. Not professionally but it paid for all of my toys. I’m just really impressed with ALL your work, very nice. I love the frets you put in, high profile and thin. I can’t find anything like that anywhere. Where did you get those? They play so nice/easy but "not bumpy’.
And she’s beautiful! Thanks so much Dave. My old Harmony arrived today and I couldn’t be happier (well, I could be a little happier if I had that one piece of pick guard to give you). But it looks great and sounds beautiful. When I found that in my Mom’s closet and opened that old case, I thought damn, looks like the best I can do is just toss this. I’m so glad I took some pictures and posted them on Face book. It was there I found out I had a rare gem, and it needed to be restored. That’s also where I learned about Moonlight Luthiers. I can’t thank you enough. This is a great old new addition to my family of wood and strings. Now I’m just going to keep looking for a replacement for that pick guard. If I find one, I know a couple of luthiers around here that I’m sure could install it properly. Thanks again and a very Happy Thanksgiving to your and your family! A very happy, *owners name*
Hi , wonderful work you do! My good friend recently purchased another Sov from you I think it’s # 174 , and the one he bought earlier also has the reverse v modification. They are both perhaps the most exciting , compelling guitars I have played in memory ! I’ve had Martins , Collings, Gibsons several very nice guitars two of my favorites were stolen, the older Martin and an older Gibson and since that happened I have been looking for something to replace that loss . ( that was more than 15 years ago !) I would really like to know what you have coming end of November . Also both of my friends guitars have a slightly wider neck than what is typical. Tell me if I am mistaken but typical is 1 n 3/4 s at the nut and I’m pretty certain Pete’s guitars both have approx 1 n 13/16ths at the nut and it feels just right for my hands .
Hi Dave, Just a note to let you know how much I like this guitar. Don’t know how you do it, but it’s the best guitar I’ve ever played. I’m a one guitar man, and this is it. Thanks again. Best Regards, Donny
The best guitar I ever played. Do not hesitate from buying a guitar from these folks. It’s magic
Oh my. If you’re looking at this review to decide whether or not to purchase a guitar from this seller...go ahead and buy the guitar. I had been waiting for the right guitar to pop up from them, and I’m glad I did. The rebracing adds so much to the sound. All the other upgrades pile on to make this one of the best sounding guitars I’ve played, and not just for the price, which is more than a steal. Great packaging and shipping. Thanks again!
Just got the Sovereign and am extremely impressed. My initial reaction is that it is EVERYTHING I could have hoped for out of this guitar. Crisp and articulate, it will make a great fingerstyle guitar for me. In all honesty it sounds BETTER than the Maton TE models I’ve played. (Although the TE is unmatched plugged in). Anyway, now a great admirer of your work.
I love the guitar. Looks and sounds the way it should. Thanks again.
Honest seller who does great work and ships fast! A+
You all did great work on this guitar. Plays great, neck is true, action is close, and it has a surprisingly rich timbre for the pitch range. Had my family over this weekend (most are players), and everyone was impressed. My dad said it was almost reminiscent of a Martin. Also, I appreciate the thorough packing and inclusion of a humidity controller. Thanks so much!
2019-04-15 -- "Moonlight Magic" from Dave and the crew. They took the vintage tonewoods in my 1965 Harmony 1203, restored the geometry, converted it to X bracing, and now its tone is in the same league as my Martin and Gibsons. Seriously. Dave kept me posted on the progress during the rebuild, and even repaired the old case for me. In the late 70s when this guitar became unplayable, I converted it to play as a dobro in our concert touring (Mac Davis Band). Eventually it started coming apart, so I took off the strings and it became a wall hangar. Now, thanks to Moonlightluthiers, I’m delighted to have it back as a guitar, sounding better than ever!
The guitar plays like a dream and sounds just as spectacular. I have really fallen for the wooden (fret board) bindings. Kudos to your work on the re-bracing. I heard another one that remained ladder braced and my guitar put that one to shame. Intonation is spot on. I have long thought the sign of a great guitar is one that begs you to pick it up day after day. That is what I have been doing with the instrument you rebuilt for me. I am on the hunt for another one just like it to have as a back up. I hope you are keeping hard at it as these instruments were meant to be X-braced and in the hands of caring owners. Keep up the good work.
David, I love my V-braced Harmony H1203. It sounds incredible. It was a pleasure meeting you and learning more about the restoration process. I am so fortunate to have a vintage lefty-Harmony - thanks to you. You are a true professional. Thank-you for your patience regarding the right-handed Harmony H1203 for my son ( Ryan). It is so unique to have coco bolo fretboard with the matching bridge. Can you remind me what the balance would be, including a Gator case and shipping to Rochester , Vermont ? I have paid $450 thus far.
I just wanted to reach out to you to let you know I received the guitar, and I am beyond blown away by the results. It was an emotional experience for me to play my father’s guitar - and the instrument that I learned to play on - for the first time in over 40 years. I am amazed by how loud and crisp and clear the sound is. I can’t thank you enough for the fantastic job that you did rebuilding the guitar. You are amazing. I will cherish this wonderful instrument and my children will cherish it for years after I am gone. Thank you again for everything.
I received the guitar. It’s great. Plays great, looks great. I like everything about it. You did a fantastic job on it, hard to believe it is the same guitar. I have owned at least a dozen J-45’s (probably more), and I don’t think that I have had one that compares to it. It sounds the way that I think a J-45 should. I will give more detailed feedback after I have played it hard for week or so, but I am more than satisfied. The workmanship is excellent as well. Thanks again.
I have officially bonded with and grown attached to the Martin. Most excellent deal, thank you. Over a year later and I need to tell you that I simply love this guitar. All the best to you and yours this holiday season.
I was playing it over the weekend, and I must say that the tone of the guitar is wonderful. The sound is very open and clear. The x-bracing conversion certainly makes these old Harmony Sovereigns come alive. Great job on cleaning up the fretboard as well!
I just got the bridge today and it arrived in perfect shape. Thank you for sending such a beautiful example. I’ll let you know how things go and I’ll send you a pic of the finished product.
I finally got it strung up Friday and was going to write you. You did an outstanding job with the rebuild. The bass is deep and round, the mids are full, with a great top end. It sounds like a grand piano. I can’t believe it’s the same guitar. Again, excellent work on restoring the guitar. I love it.
Wow! You are a wizard sir! Have to tell you that it brought tears to my eyes just unpacking my Larrivee! The FexEx man was a picker too and he was as excited as I was, he even helped me get it out of the box! I did use the higher saddle - Perfect! The strings respond to the top light and lively. It has that clarity I remember but bolder...perhaps the bracing structure you recommended made that difference? I’m totally in awe with of your work. Even the color of the top is more me...looks older somehow. Yes, I’m sure the varnish was tough to work with, but I’m not bothered by the imperfection there, I think you were a little hard on yourself. Your work is impeccable! This guitar was and is the love of my life. I waited 16 years to have it repaired. I have no doubts that I found the right person to do the work! I KNOW you put a lot of pride and love into this repair. I can’t thank you enough. I’m gonna be looking for a Sovereign for you to do here soon. Perhaps you have one you are releasing into the world soon?†
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David I am really impressed with you and your work. Not only are your prices unbelievably more then fair but your love for your trade is quite admirable. I have a luthier who lives literally within 2 miles of my house that I have often used. His work is of course impeccable. But he charges at least 3 times what you do and I never received updates like the one you just sent. I really can’t express enough my gratitude for your work. And especially how you major on Harmony Sovereign’s, which I have always loved. I can’t wait to get her back and play her! Thx again.
I received the guitar safe and sound, packed amazing well by the way. I got it strung up and played it a bunch this weekend and its great. I couldn’t be happier with the tone. This Sovereign is now the guitar she always wanted to be. Neck angle, setup, play-ability are all very good, nicely done. Cosmetically it looks great, hard to tell the back ever came off other than the white binding. The shape of the top looks pretty good to me, bellying and sound hole sink are minimal to non-existent. Crack repairs are also well done.
All in all I’m really pleased and want to thank you for the positive experience. The only regret is that I didn’t communicate soon enough my desire for the string spacing at the bridge to be slightly wider than stock. I’m 99% a finger picker and not a strummer and prefer 2 1/4" or wider spacing and was looking forward to be able to have the spacing set where I like it since a new bridge was being installed but I forgot to ask for this until it was too late. I might suggest offering custom spacing as an option.
Hi Dave, Just a note to let you know how much I like this guitar. Donít know how you do it, but itís the best guitar Iíve ever played. Iím a one guitar man, and this is it. Thanks again.
I got my first used Harmony Sovereign in the 1960s and have never lost my affection for these guitars. I still have three of them. One in particular , a mid-1960s Silvertone burst, was in particularly nasty condition. It had a broken neck and a number of poorly done amateur repairs including an earlier neck break. Looked like a glue pot had exploded inside. Anyway I repaired the break so I could string it up. Although the guitar was barely playable, it had something special going on. As the neck was still rough and I did not trust the earlier repair I went looking for another Sovereign neck to have slapped on. I ended up having a whole lot more done. I went with Moonlight Luthiers. Initially it was because they had a good Sovereign neck. But I decided to go ahead and have the entire conversion done which amounted to not only putting the replacement neck on (which they rebound and re-fretted) but replacing the heavy ladder bracing with a slim taper forward shifted X brace, the pinless bridge with a pin bridge, and the spruce bridge plate with a maple one. I admit I was a bit edgy mainly because their price is crazy low for the amount of work they proposed doing. Moonlight had the guitar for about two months and it has now been back with me for a few weeks. To say that I am happy with their work would be an understatement Everything they did was top notch. They also went above and beyond, not only repairing the cracks but cleaning all the gunk out of the inside and then shooting a thin coat of blush remover to help stabilize the burst which had begun to flake off. As to sound. This was a big leap of faith for me because I love the way the Sovereigns sound as they rolled out of the factory in Chicago. While I suck at describing sound, as best as I can put it they freed up the guitar’s resonance. Just a light brush of the strings brings the guitar to life. Wonderful harmonics, a crisp upper end and a low end that would make a bluegrass player (which I am not) grin with delight.
It’s been a good year and a half since I purchased my rebuilt Harmony Sovereign 1203 from you, and I wanted to let you know how much I’ve come to love it, as I learn how to play. There’s a lot of bang for the buck in that guitar. It sounds wonderful to me, and I am not talking about my playing, that’s for sure. But it makes me want to pick it up everyday, and that’s half the battle in learning. Also, your immediate accommodation in having the backside binding redone here locally when it began to separate is unparalleled service, and I greatly appreciate that. I don’t hesitate to recommend your guitars to anyone interested and hope folks take advantage of your great service. These guitars are old, and once rebuilt, may not look fresh, but sound and play like a much more expensive instrument, in my limited experience. Thanks so much for my 1203. I love it.
Thanks again for everything, would you like referrals or Moonlight Luthiers name mentioned on guitar forums? I would not mind bragging about my new/old Sovereign online.
Thanks so much for your work on this guitar. You completely exceeded my expectations. I will be playing this during my next Broadway performance. I am utterly amazed that you can do this level of work for such a reasonable fee. Excellent all around workmanship.