View Full Version : Harmony Sovereign Mandocello Conversion
Has anyone in the BB area played with this?:
It's a Harmony Sovereign quasi-Dreadnought converted cleanly (or so it seems) to mandocello.
I wonder if there's really a truss rod under that cover.
Those Harmoney's weren't built that sturdy from what I've read online but I've never actually played one...
I know some Harmonys were made with solid woods (as opposed to ply). This one at least looks nice. Anyone know which of the Archtops were solid? Most I've seen have that "faux" flame maple painted on. I wonder if any of the archtops have solid, carved tops. There are a ton of those around that might make interesting conversions, but I wouldn't bother if they were plywood.
Nearly all of the Harmony archtops, and indeed nearly all their guitars, ukes, and mandolins, in general, were solid, at least up into the 70s when they became even cheaper and outsourced. There is a website or two dedicated to Harmony guitars where I learned quite a bit about models, dating, specs, etc . For the archtops, all but the one or two most expensive models (Patrician, for eg) had hardwood tops as well as bodies, despite the fake flaming and/or painted binding on the intermediate (ex, the Monterreys) and lower (ex, the 1215 and 1216) models. There In fact, their catalogs for a period describe them as made of "solid hardwoods" - but don't specify what type of wood. I don't believe archtops were "carved" though, rather were steamed/pressed into shape. The Patrician line is the exception, and had solid spruce tops. These guitars, especially the older ones from the 40s, still bring many hundreds of dollars.
I have two of the archtop guitars, a '71 Broadway 6-string archtop (near but not top-of-the-line, thus solid "hardwood"), and a 60s archtop tenor which I got to someday convert to an octave mandolin. The tenor does not have a truss rod, so I will worry about string combination and tension, and probably use octave strings, if I ever get to the project.
I've played it and it BOOMS, great sound and projection. The conversion is pretty clean, whoever did it was pretty thorough. The only thing I didn't like about it is the mandocello scale is different from a guitar (I believe, it may just be the string gauges) and the low strings are hard to fret cleanly, they move around a lot. If you can, buy it, it's really a great instrument.