We were recently contacted by the mercurial musician Anton Newcomb of The Brian Jonestown Massacre to restore his Harmony Sovereign acoustic guitar. To say this guitar was beat up is a vast understatement: the neck was pulling almost completely off and was horribly bowed, the frets were a disaster, the back was cracked, and almost all the braces were falling off. Apparently this guitar had gone missing for years, and when it made it’s way back to Anton it was like being reunited with a long-lost friend, and Anton wanted it back to playing condition.
We pulled the neck, gave it a heat press to help straighten it out, rebuilt the dovetail joint and reattached the neck, planed the fretboard, refretted it, fixed all the broken and loose braces, fixed all the body cracks, and made a new nut and saddle and gave it a complete setup. It was a lot of work, and rather than explain the entire process (all of which we’ve covered in previous blog posts), we just thought we’d allow the pictures to speak for themselves.
We’ve often said that when building an acoustic instrument, one can either build a great sounding instrument, or build one that will last. This Sovereign is definitely in the former camp – it sounds amazing, but it is definitely fragile and lightly built, which is part of why it had practically collapsed on itself (of course, it just might have been abused just a teensy bit as well). Now that it’s been rebuilt, it’s ready to rock for another 30 years. We hope you enjoy it, Anton! Hold on to it this time!