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Restoring A 40 Year Old Harmony Acoustic


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Hi all,

I'm looking for a little bit of advice on what to do with this guitar. It's a 40'ish year old Harmony Sovereign that my father has had since it was new. He used to play a fair bit when he was younger but hasn't touched it in years. He'd like to get back into playing but the guitar's been neglected for a long while now. The action is horrible and tuning machines are almost completely seized. Other than that, the guitar's in pretty good shape - lots of checking in the finish and some dings, but no major dents/structural issues. Although it might be cheaper to just buy a new guitar, this one has a bit of sentimental value since it was a wedding gift.

He asked me to take a look at it since I've set up a few newer acoustics and electric basses. The guitar is almost all original although it looks like someone had changed the screw in one of the tuning machines over the years. It's the orignal nut, saddle and bridge. Here's a link to some pictures in its current state:

http://s121.photobucket.com/albums/o215/Sh...rmony%20Guitar/

I'm thinking that I'll replace the tuning machines with new ones, something like http://guitar-machine-heads.com/hp135091/C...chine-Heads.htm

My main issue is with getting the action lower. Typically, on a newer guitar I'd adjust the truss rod to get the right amount of relief and then shave the saddle and the nut to get the action to where I want it. With the bridge on this guitar, the saddle really has nothing left to shave. The majority of the height is caused by the saddle.

Does anyone have suggestions on where to start? Replace the bridge? Do I need to do something with the neck to change the angle, etc.?

Any advice would be welcome. Thanks.

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High action/ low saddle, usually means neck re-set needed, but you have to make sure nothing else is affecting the "reading" like cracked/broken/loose braces, or the wood bridge itself possibly having been made lower than it should be someone (although doesn't seem to be the case with how yours looks on the photos).

Also need to see if there's any hump or rise in the fret-board affecting the reading (could be the neck needs more of a tilt after those kind of fret-board problems are eliminated).

Adjust the neck perfectly straight as possible, before laying a Straight-edge up to the bridge (which you need to do to find out how much of a re-set is needed).

I don't think I have enough experience to say anymore. I've only done one neck reset and I was able to cheat 'cause the dove-tail joint was already loose.

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