There are some who say Harmony Sovereign guitars should stay ladder braced. They say that ladder bracing is just as good as an X-braced or a V-braced guitar. I suppose this is debatable one way or the other, although many proponents of ladder bracing have a ladder braced guitar to sell you.
I’ll go for new hide glued X- or V- bracing any day.
Other than enhanced tone quality there is another reason to re-brace (and restore). See images below.
This H1260 is typical of most Sovereigns that we work on. If the braces were installed with the 60’s version of polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue, the braces are now barely sticking to the top. On the guitar below, I was able to pull two of the braces out with no tool at all. The braces basically fell out. The others took only a bit more of a tug with a pair of pliers to remove and that was only because they were tucked under the liner blocks (kerfing). Note the very minimal glue residue on the top. This is typical of the Sovereigns we work on. Also note the very minimal reinforcing plate still stuck to the top. That is an invitation to brige roll and top deformation.
We restore the best sounding Harmony guitars on the internet. And our guitars hold their own against any other brand in terms of sound quality.
When we finish this restoration, this Sovereign will have new bracing, a new very hard and dry maple reinforcing plate, all cracks repaired (if any), a new rosewood pin bridge (to match the fret board), lovely new ivoroid or ebony pins and matching end pin, new frets, bone nut and saddle, and new fully functional smooth working tuners. For the price, it’s a bargain.
We include instructions for Harmonic tuning. Can you do that with a ladder braced guitar?
Harmony Sovereigns are very well worth restoring.