H1270 - Sovereign jumbo 12 string|
Acoustic flatop 12 string - Natural
Production year(s) : 1963-1971 (other years possible, not verified)
12 string version of the Sovereign H1260 "jumbo". 12 frets neck, so the guitar is not longer than the 1260 six string. Pickguard added in 1964. New "harp" tailpiece in 1968. The 1969 catalog says "CAUTION : It is best not to tune a 12-string guitar as high as regular 6-string guitar pitch. Experienced players recommend tuning three or four half-tones lower, to avoid strain wich might pull up the guitar top or bow the neck".
15 images in database
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|All solid woods|
|Body depth||4"3/8||110 mm|
|Neck at nut||2"||51.3 mm|
|Neck at 12th||1"1/4||30.3 mm|
Related to this model
23 comments | Add your comment !
- HaystackHair - 2006-03-06
My dad bought me this guitar in 1970 for Christmas and I was thrilled beyond measure! It cost $156, and he had to pay for it on the installment plan at the local Music House. I still have it and it plays wonderfully.
- Joe Gormley, Lacey, WA - 2006-07-05
I have an H1270 (I can't really remember where or how I got it) that had a broken tension rod for many years (virtually unplayable). A mechanically oriented friend of mine helped me cleanly remove the neck from the block. We then fashioned a workable tension rod from 1/4" threaded stock. The neck was rejoined to the body block using DAP - Weldwood Resorcinal Glue and carefully fixturing during curing. The original 'trapeze' tailpiece was removed and the bridge replaced with a 12-string peg bridge (sized by those great guys at Dusty Strings in Seattle, WA) also with Resorcinal. Placement and angle suggestions were also freely given by those great guys at Dusty Strings.
The end result of all this minutiae? One great sounding 12-string guitar!!!! The jumbo body has a low end response that rivals some of Leo Kottkes' early guitars (Boz'o?) The top end is fairly clear and overall the guitar has great volume. There is an identical twin to mine in a local pawnshop (name to kept secret) that they want $269.00 for and aren't budging at all. As I get richer the money will be immaterial to getting my hands on another one.
- Singing Shirley - Glasgow. - 2007-01-14
My Dad helped me buy this beautiful guitar for my 16th birthday in 1971 and I loved it! I was (and still am) a great Dylan fan and Joni Mitchell - I spent many hours 'working out' songs and singing with my wonderful Harmony. It was stolen from a friends house in 1979 and I still curse the thief! Perhaps one day I'll get another!
- George Swanson - 2007-03-14
My H1270 12 String has been a lifelong friend. It's an early one, back to 1964, a year byefore the "verifieds" and came without a pick guard, much to the benefit of it's magnificant voice.
Most of it's life it's been tuned to standard guitar pitch e-a-etc. I managed to break the truss rod and went to the wrk of removing the fretboard only to discover that a good pair of needlenose pliers and some careful tugging lets you pull the assembly from the adjustment end without touching the neck or fretboard.
Harmony had a great article on simply shortening and rethreading the existing rod. Did it. Fantastic!!!
- Andrew - 2007-11-09
I found this guitar in my grandmothers attic this past spring. Date stamp is "S 69" (Summer 1969). Apparently, my dad borrowed it from his friend in the '70s, and it was abandoned in the attic. Unfortunately he didn't loosen the strings (old ones were high-gauge I think) and the neck has significantly lifted. As soon as I took it out of the case, the pick guard fell off and the plastic bit on the heel of the neck fell off. There is a chip in the bridge so I can't put a 12th string with low E. Since then, I have polished and waxed it, glued the parts back on, dusted the soundhole, replaced the strings with light gauge Martins tuned down to Bb, and started humidifying it. The action at the 12th fret is 10/32" and it needs a neck reset. The local luthier charges $300 plus $65 to replace the saddle which I am not willing to pay so I am either going to let it be or reset the neck myself. Regardless, the sound is still great and the tone is unique. This is the only Harmony I've ever seen or played and I love it. Also, did you guys know that Pete Townshend owned this model and used it prior to '71?
- Mike - 2008-01-04
I purchased my H1270 in 1972. Probably 90% when purchased, it remains at an 85% level. Plays easily with excellent tone. I did spend 2 1/2 times what I paid for it on a neck reset and bridge adjustments last year but it was worth it. The thing that confuses me is I see no date stamp but there are is a handprinted number on the back at the top of the sounhole. The number is 61021. Does anyone have any idea on the significance? Did they ever handprint date numbers? I figure it has to be from 1964 to 1970...any ideas? It does have a tortoise shell pickguard. Did I hear the the early ones (64) did not? Yes I had heard that Pete Townsend used one. If you do a little searching there is an article on the web.
- Ken H. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - 2008-02-17
I purchased my Harmony 1270, brand new in 1969 at a local music shop, while I was attending the University of Manitoba. I played at some local coffee houses with a friend and had a great time. I received several comments on the guitar and it's great sound. The guitar is almost 40 years old and still looks and sounds new. I still have the green instruction tag that recommends tuning the guitar 3 to 4 tones lower than a regular guitar. I also own a Harmony Master 6 string that I bought from a friend in 1964. It too,is still in great shape.
- Nick from Las Vegas - 2009-02-08
The reason for the "string guide" just in back of the saddle is because the string spacing on the tailpiece would be too narrow across the very wide neck on these things. A definate design flaw, but what can you do after having purchased a number of these "incorrect" tailpieces.
- Dana - 2009-04-15
Nicks comment on perhaps a "mistake" on the tailpiece on the orignal design is helpful to explore. This is likely to have resulted since no other 12 string I can find has this as well as my Luthier buddies say this extra bridge should not be needed. I have experimented with changing the bridge to a sigle bone piece and find no noticeable difference in tone and no string slipage on holding width.
- Craig Shirley - 2010-09-05
OhMyGosh! I finally figured out which Fender-12 that I purchased from a guitar shop in 1977!!!...it has been impossible to track until my 25 year old son started to ask questions, and I spent the day on the internet looking at Fender sites.
As a poor student, I happened on this broken 12 string that had been marked at $75 -due to it's neck coming loose from the body. After sawing it off with a rope saw, I re-glued it with resorcinol boat glue, and set the angles as best I could. What a good choice! 30 years later, the thing still plays solid. The setup and intonation is still rock solid, maybe due to the light gauge strings tuned to C.
Never knowing what this guitar cost originally, I thought it would be much more expensive. Funny, how for many years, I put away my Martin 000-18, and played only this F1070. It was THAT loveable!!! Since then, I've moved on to other guitars that I have modified or built from kits (Warmoth Tele, Strat) but I keep coming back to this cheap Fender once in awhile, and have an emotional re-connection with my youth.
I don't pretend that this is a superb guitar, but it has certainly been worth the trouble, and, for the money and time spent, it has more than paid me back in memories and music.
Wonderful how my son is having the same reaction to it!
Still solid at 40 years old!
Serial # 1810 1070 stamped below neck attachment inside.
- RAD3 - 2011-01-17
I bought mine over 40 years ago from a shop owner who was also a luthier so the Harmony was set-up beautifully from the begining. It's probably in about 90% condition. I recently leant it to my neice's son who had it for about nine months and managed to destroy it's case, put a few new dings and scratches in her and somehow made the guitar smell like perfume :0(
Guess who will never do that again.
Anyhow I decided to do a little re-furb by installing new tuning machine sets and mounting screws(old ones were getting rusty) and giving her a general clean-up.
I still love the sound just like everyone else.
- bob sears - 2011-05-04
Friend of mine gave me an 1270. Said it was just sitting in a corner collecting dust. Bridge is not original. The one he had on it was some cheap unknown so I put a H913 bridge on and now can't put it down. I cannot believe the neck feels better than my guild and the sound is tremendous. This is a keeper for sure. I have 4 12 strings and this is as easy to play as any of them. And the sound is terrific. This guitar lets its presence be known.
- karel beer - 2011-05-11
I have one of these - got it in Paris in the late '70s - it was smashed in the same city in the late hours of a recent sunday night. Beautifully repaired by luthier Francois Champarnaud - who lowered the action and put a scratch plate back on. Strange thing about mine is that it doesn't have the trapeze tailpiece (anymore) someone replaced it with a pegged bridge. Lovely instrument and I'm happy to have it back in one piece. Thought it was new when I got it - but I guess it wasn't.
- dave cartwright, Worcester UK. - 2012-08-12
I bought this model in 1964; my first 12-string, which kick-started a life long obsession with them. Sadly it was trashed apres-gig in '72, and I bought a Guild F512.
Have at last found a 1270 after seraching for 25 years. Bless the internet!!!
What a sound. Solid woods throughout, something of which I was never aware in those far-off halcyon days (a guitar was just a guitar in 1965...).
So now I have an H-75, an H-50 and this wonderful 1270. Harmony are the kings of retro.
- Gene from Wisconsin - 2013-03-14
I have an H1270 that I bought in 1965 in from a folk music singer named Larry Heagle. Think I paid $85. Mine has the the same pick guards as in pictures 11 and 12, except mine are white. By the way, are photos 11 & 12 taken with the guitar laying on asphalt? If so, what a crappy way to treat a guitar. Always believed instruments should be taken care of. Regarding the catalog comment about keeping the tuning down a number of half steps, I've always kept mine tuned at normal 6 string tuning or one full step lower without any significant neck draw. I have not adjusted the neck since I've had it. It has a beautiful sound. I use it a lot for playing in church, with a microphone (no installed pickup). The serial number is the four digits in front of the model number. On mine, it's ink stamped on inside back up near neck mount. Is there any way to know the date of manufacture from the serial number?
- Cooper H - 2014-08-09
I just picked one of these up for $20. Its in bad shape and has no hardware but its still a steal. Cant wait to play some LeadBelly
- Dave Griffin - 2014-12-01
Just picked one up a couple weeks ago. Seems like a better deal at $90 when I see what some paid back in the day. Neck's off, taking my time on the re-set. Will probably string up as a 6-1st. Not a big ladder fan, I usually x-brace these old Harmonys, but if it works, I won't 'fix' it !
Also thinking it'll make a great 5-coarse Octave mando/Cello. Always can go back to 12-string easy enough.
- Dave - 2015-12-29
Haven't played my H1270 for about 40 years. My parents got it for me when I was a kid. My Grandkids saw the case in the corner and asked me to play some Christmas Carols this year. Well, with a little tuning,(on 40 year old strings, only 2 broke), everyone said it sounded pretty good. Great Guitar. I think it's time for some new strings and a reset. You "Go" Harmony !!
- Uwe Hillmer - 2016-07-31
Hi folks. I'm Uwe from germany. I've got my Harmony 1270 from a ebay auction in USA. The neck was loosend from the body. The bridge was lost. The back of the body made some noise, because the bracings have been loose. I fixed it al with a little bit glue made a new french polish and now it's a very booming 12 string guitar. I love it. This guitar must have been made befor 1964 because there was no pickguard. I paid only 75 dollar and a little bit for shipping. I would never change to a
Martin or Gibson 12.
- Zbigniew Sekulski - 2018-04-12
Comment from Poland. I bought it for 20 bucks in a thrift shop on Washington Blvd (LA) in miserable shape. I had to disessamble it and recover completely. The seller told me it had belonged to one of Doobie Brothers. As a player and a luthier I replaced the floating bridge and that ugly tailpiece and glued a permanent pin bridge for 6 strings only.(The headstock carries all 12 tuners).Inside a bridge plate had to be added to hold pinned strings. This instrument is build of prime quality spruce and guilted mahogany. And read now : The sound is MAJESTIC although no fashionable X bracing but regular ladder design.Probably due to that bracing the guitar is not appropiate for fast rhytm playing. It has a long rich sustain big like a grand piano just fantastis for slow ringing walks and fingerstyle. The bass is rich and distant with no boom at all so the trebles have great separation and definition. I use to tune it full step down to explore that piano like bass. Due to shorter scale and less pull I prefer 13th strings usually DR Sunbeams. I'm going to try monels fore more root sound.Any questions find me at facebook. I also own 2 Harmony folk 0000 size that is another delight.One with slightly modified bracing, the other ladder type as original. These are not that shiny like my Taylor but they beat Tylor in some respect.
- Zbigniew Sekulski - 2018-04-12
Let me add one more comment. I do have another 12 sring guitar made in Romania Romanian spruce is just fantastic from high Carpathian mountains) and upgraded by myself. When I discovered how great wood was used in my Sovereign I thought it was a waste for 12 stringer, to me a secondary type of guitar, boring if played alone. The other thing is its nonsense design. The strings leave the tailpiece with such a low angle that hardly any pressure is applied on a soundboard so they just rattle and jingle with unproper dumping. That noise is great for delta blues or some delicate strums for oriental or psychodelic runs with its natural distant echo.In my Harmony guitars the wood is of hard to get today quality. It's rough inside and the unknown to me red glue is spilled here and there but the mahogany is red like a brick or yellow and dense like with one of my folks .The material is surprisingly lighweight adding to its resonant qualities. The folk (JJ Cale ) models have problems with neck warping despite some metal thing inside. I would be afraid to tell Bob Taylor that I more often grab those Harmonies than my 710 dreadnought. Don't tell it to him.My Harmonies have some mystery in their sound. I am not a virtuoso but sound wizard so I shape those vintage tones into fairytales
- J.P. - 2018-07-06
These are great guitars and a great value. Tuned one or two steps down they have a huge sound that is great for country blues. I have owned one for over twenty years and love it.
- ClydeEmode - 2018-09-28