Athens, Georgia-based luthier Evan Collins describes the Overhaul concept as "an engine swap on a cool old truck; we redo whats under the hood and make sure everything is put into its correct place with new hoses, wires and tires." Often, when the Overhaul process is complete, the old vintage clunker "husk" comes out far better than before. That's largely because Overhaul guts the internal structure and replaces it with scalloped, forward-shifted X-bracing. The new bracing helps the guitar realize its full tonal potential, producing the refined sound you only get from old wood.
From there, Overhaul reestablishes correct geometry of the guitar by resetting the neck and placing the saddle location in a new bridge. The saddle is carefully compensated for proper intonation. New frets, new tuners and a perfect setup finish out the process ensure peak performance in both tone and playability. In a sense, an Overhaul is an old guitar that has been re-made into something that functions like a brand new guitar, and the nuanced tone it produces can only come from a seasoned, vintage box.
This Overhaul started its life as a late-'60s (possibly as late as 1970) H1260 Sovereign. It likely had the "Harmony" brand name on the headstock, but it may have also had the "Sears and Roebuck" reflector sticker. The H1260 model features a large, jumbo-sized body (16-1/4" across at the lower bout) constructed of a solid Spruce top and solid Mahogany back and sides. Unlike other Jumbos, it has a smaller upper bout, so it doesn't feel quite as enormous as jumbos from other brands. Thanks to the Overhaul process, this Sovereign produces a powerful voice with strong mid-range emphasis.
This '60s H1260 has a full-feeling chunky C neck profile, but because of Overhaul's work on the fingerboard, frets, nut, tuners, and bridge, it plays and performs like a brand new guitar. The old sunburst and pointy pickguard are so cool, too. There are just certain details you'll never get from a "relic." Sometimes for the right vibe, you just need a real relic.
At its core, the Overhaul process is upcycling—taking something no longer in use and giving it a second life and new function. In the case of this Sovereign, that new function is robust, balanced, and responsive tone it never had before.