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More from Eric Mecum: plywood body guitar

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

The missing part of the NO-caster was a vehicle for an old archtop pickup. Neck and bridge were left over parts from another Mississippi Gabe Carter project. Back board isn't needed but gives it some girth. Peavey neck has a great radius. The pickup's self-contained cord is only 4 feet long so I taped a coupler to back, acts as jack. Pickup sounds fricken amazing!

Eric Mecum
www.ericmecum.com

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

The acoustic alarm clock

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

One thing I hate about the modern day are all the ceaseless alarms, sirens, bings, ringtones and electronic squawkery from all manner of gadgets: phones, cameras, microwave ovens, washing machines and other domestic appliances, checkout tills, etc. It's enough to make your head implode. If you have to have a wake-up call, I can't think of a nicer one than this acoustic alarm clock from Jamie McMahon Design. It's not a guitar as such, but is obviously guitar-inspired and therefore well worth looking at on this blog.

Thanks to Michael Smith for alerting me to this (without recourse to any horrible bleeping noises).

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

1970s Höfner 4579 Les Paul

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For some reason (probably old European snobbery), I always find vintage Les Paul copies more interesting than the Gibson original, not only the law-suit era Japanese clones but also the many Italian or German variations, such as this Höfner 4579. Its body seems to be a little bit more slender, the mix of the scratchplate and the pickup rings is a resurgence from old 1950s German jazz guitars, and there again, the trem is unique and sexy.

Bertram


© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

The NO-caster by Eric Mecum

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

"Ladies and gentlemen, I present The NO-caster! Three kinds of aged plywood, recycled 27in inner tubes, galvanized bridge, many screws, gesso paint, tape, electronics cover part of a spar urethane can, peavey single coil pickups, and a 25.5 scale neck. Can be played sitting but guitar strap is preferred."

Eric Mecum
www.ericmecum.com

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Vintage South African Bellini acoustic

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

We've not featured many South African guitars here on Guitarz other than those made from oil cans.

Pictured above is an acoustic guitar from Bellini Instruments of Pinetown, South Africa. I'm not sure if the almost Art Deco marquetry work on the top is original. It is a little crude, so possibly it was applied later. The thick turquoise handpainted finish to back, sides and neck is certainly a later "customization" (I'll add more photos to the comments below).

According to the seller on eBay UK (currently listed with a starting price of £6.99), the label inside the guitar reads:
This instrument is superior to other guitars as it is the arch type, top and bottom swelled, cello shape, giving better tone, strength, and longer life.
It also says:
Guaranteed not to split.
To the right is an advertisement for Bellini Guitars from The Straits Times, 14 December 1958.

Note the text that tells us that:
Bellini Guitars retain their excellent tone quality and finish under extreme climatic conditions. They are built under a special process known only to this famour Maker and are rapidly outdtripping all other Makes of moderate-priced Guitars in Malaya and Borneo.
(The peculiar capitalization is as it appears in the ad).

The impression I get is that Bellini Guitars are the South African equivalent of Stella guitars. They don't exactly have the most fantastic acoustic tone, but they are not without their own primitive charms.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Richmond Belmont

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

Guitarz reader Colin tells us about his current favourite guitar of choice:

Richmond Guitars is a Canadian guitar maker, owned by Godin. The way I heard it they started the Richmond brand to market some retro designs (I also love the look of the Dorchester).

The Belmont is a mahogany neck and body guitar, 24 3/4" scale, with two Seymour Duncan single coil lipstick pickups in neck and middle positions and a Seymour Duncan '59 humbucker at the bridge. The controls are five position blade switch a la Strat, master volume and tone. It is hard to see on the photos but there is a cool bevel on the top edge that makes it a bit more comfortable to play. The neck is slim and the action is good, the only downside is that it's really heavy!

I picked mine up on eBay when I saw it was cheap, in mint condition and no one was bidding. I have had a cheap Danelectro reissue for years and have a soft spot for the sound of lipstick pickups, so I was intrigued by the some of the clips I saw.

All of the settings sound good, the pickups sound great and the in-between position with the humbucker and lipstick is more useable than I expected. It's a very dark vintage sort of sound, which was just what I was looking for.

The website shows a transparent black and white finish but not a solid black with white pickguard like mine, so I gave Richmond a email and they said: "That's a 2010 model. It had a $1090 list price (including the gig bag). Yours was probably a prototype to test a new finish (we sometimes sell prototypes through our dealers)."

Colin Clews
www.jazzrandom.co.uk

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Fender Wayne Kramer Signature Stratocaster

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

Continuing our short series of blog posts about guitars emblazoned with National flags, of course we had to feature something with the Stars and Stripes. The Fender Wayne Kramer Signature Stratocaster has just recently been issued by Fender, and is a highly detailed replica of the Strat that Brother Wayne used to encourage us to Kick Out The Jams with the legendary MC5 back in the 1960s.

Kramer has always preferred hardtail Strats, and indeed that is the case here. Another feature that is unusual is that it has a Seymour Duncan '59 in the middle pickup position. How often do you see a humbucker in the middle position, flanked by two single coils? A friend of mine, years back, had a Strat set up like this and it sounded fantastic. I've often wondered why this set-up isn't more commonly seen.

And before anyone says it, yeah I realise it's not an accurate representation of the Stars and Stripes. It is very cool though. Even I covet this guitar. Part of me thinks I would have liked to have seen this finish without the relic effect being applied, although another part of me likes that too, it makes it look as if the guitar has survived 100s of MC5 gigs.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Gibson Union Flag Explorer

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

Further to our previous post here on Guitarz, here's another guitar emblazoned with the United Kingdom's Union Flag. It's a 1984 vintage Gibson Explorer with the original factory graphic - apparently it's quite a rarity with only 50 examples having been made with this finish.

But, oh dear! I don't think much of Gibson's quality control or attention to detail. THE FLAG IS BACK TO FRONT!!!

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Aria UK flag thinlines

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

Since the mid 1990s, Aria have been producing these thinline semi-acoustic guitars with finishes based on the various flags of the United Kingdom. I believe these have been limited editions. Although the examples of Aria TA-50 thinlines bearing the St George's Cross (English) flag and the Saltire/St Andrew's Cross (Scottish) flag have been appearing recently on eBay and have been described as "New", these finishes are not listed as options for the TA-50 on the Aria website.

The Union Flag guitar (it should never be called the "Union Jack" unless the flag is being flown from a ship) and the Welsh Dragon guitar (seen below) are both Aria Pro II TA-40 thinlines. Whereas the TA-50 is more Gibson 335-like with a set neck and a solid block through the centre of the body, the TA-40 has a bolt-on neck and a completely hollow body. The body is also smaller than the TA-50, perhaps about 7/8ths of the size.

I am told that these were only produced from 1994-96 and that the Welsh Dragon is the rarer model of the two. Think about it, this would have been at around the time of the "Brit Pop" craze, when Noel Gallagher of Oasis was to be seen playing his signature Epiphone Supernova with Union Flag emblazoned on the top. It's easy to see that the cheaper Aria guitar was inspired by this. As to the Welsh Dragon, it's possible it was a special order, maybe by Cranes Music of Cardiff. I certainly recall seeing one in there back in the day.

The Welsh Dragon TA-40 seen here is actually my own guitar. For such a relative cheapy (you can pick up 2nd hand TA-40s on eBay for prices between £100-£200) it is a really lovely player. This dragon certainly has fire in its belly when you need it, and can snarl and scream along with the best of them. For someone brought up on Strats, the smaller body is to my own tastes. I think the width of a 335-like body might just feel too big. The hollow body also provides enough acoustic volume for unplugged practice although with a somewhat boxy tone, which is only to be expected given the laminated maple construction.

If anyone out there has any more info on any of these guitars, I'd like to hear from you.

G LWilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Egmond vintage stratoid

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Don't you think when you watch this good old Egmond (say /ekh'mont/, you remember?) that it's how stratocasters should have been?

Proud pointy horns, Jazzmaster trem, big chrome pickups, switches on a perloid pickguard, much better than the Fender model IMHO....

Nederland zou hebben geregeerd de wereld!


© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Chord Tele-style guitar with variable graphics

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

Now here's an idea that I like a lot. On the surface this Chord T-type would appear to be yet another cheap Telecaster copy. It has a solid alder body, which is nice in such a cheapy, and given that the basic Telecaster design is nearly as simple as you can get, well, how bad can this guitar be? Hardware such as pickups and machine heads can always be upgraded.

What makes this Tele different is the ability to swap and change the graphics. The top of the guitar is covered in a clear plastic plate, all you have to do is slip in one of the 4 supplied graphic sheets under the plate... or else - and this is more interesting - cut out and use your own graphics or artwork. I can really see this appealing to younger players (before they get too conservative and nothing other than a vintage butterscotch or sunburst finish will do... Yawn... Zzzzzz...), and it's a cheap and easy way of having your own unique looking guitar.

Before any of you comment, I realise that this is not an original idea. (Is there such a thing as an original idea any more?) Yes, I believe it was Yamaha that marketed a similar idea several years back. I was always surprised that guitar wasn't more successful.

The only drawback I can see to this system is that you'd need to remove the strings so as to take the plate off and change the graphic, and so if, for example, you play a lot of gigs and wanted a different graphic for each night, that could end up being quite a chore. (And not everyone can afford to put fresh strings on for each and every gig.)

Of course if you already have a Tele, Strat or even Yamaha Pacifica, the other alternative to quick change graphics would be the FaceLift system as developed by Status Quo's Rick Parfitt - that has the advantage of being applied to your existing guitar, but the disadvantage is that you can't make up your own custom design.

The Chord Tele-style guitar with variable graphics is currently on eBay UK with a Buy It Now of £107.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

HiTone Slurpee guitar

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

This custom-made HiTone Slurpee guitar is currently being offered for sale on Craig's List in Detroit. The seller is asking $1000 for it.

This is apparently one of 11 built by HiTone Guitars for Slurpee's Battle of the Bands in 2009. According to HiTone's website:
Some 60 bands entered and four came out on top. Each winning a numbered HiTone Slurpee Guitar. Six Slurpee drinkers won a guitar each. One was given to Bowling for Soup, who played in concert. And one is sitting in the CEO of 7/11's office.
Which makes 12.


Other interesting guitars from HiTone inlcude a full-size bodied jazz guitar named The Skeleton with see-through lexan top, back and sides.

Thanks to Alec Z Breslow who alerted us to the Slurpee guitar on Craig's List via our Facebook page.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

1950s Decar solidbody from Dacatur, Illinois

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

Here's another early solidbody from the mid 1950s, a Decar from Decatur, Illinois. It shares several features with the Fender Telecaster, which was almost certainly an inspiration: the slab body, the maple bolt-on neck, pickup (and electrics) mounted to a pickguard attached to a routed top...

But if you think that blond oak wood grain finish is very shiny - almost too perfect - there's a reason for that. The front and back are both covered in formica, more commonly found on kitchen cupboard doors and other mass-produced furniture from the period. The pickguard is also formica, but in a contrasting avocado check. The pickup, bridge cover, and control knobs are all in chrome and finish the look perfectly. The seller describes it as being "solid" and claims that it plays like a Fender Telecaster.

This auction on eBay has about a day and a half to run as I type this. It's already had a number of bids, but the current bid is still very low. It looks like someone could get this intriguing piece of guitar history at a very reasonable price.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Takamine EA 360 Electro-Acoustic Flying A

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

I mentioned this one in passing the other day here on Guitarz, so thought it was about time we had a blog post dedicated to it.

Takamine Co., Ltd., the Japanese guitar manufacturer based in Nakatsugawa, Gifu, Japan, were forerunners circa 1978 in the introduction of electro acoustic guitars and were pioneers of the design of the preamp-equalizer in these guitars.

They were known for producing high quality copies of Martin guitars, but in the early 1980s they produced a far less conservative looking instrument, the above-pictured, Takamine EA 360, a.k.a. Flying A. Initially it was marketed as the "acoustic Flying V" but allegedly Gibson took exception to this description and so such references were dropped. Also, a V standing on its end - and with a soundhole - does resemble a big fat capital letter A, so the guitar intead became nicknamed the Flying A.

Construction is solid spruce top with rosewood back and sides. The scale length is 25 3/8" on a mahogany neck with a rosewood fingerboard with 14 frets clear of the body and 20 frets in total. The guitar is equipped with a pre-amp and a 4-band EQ.

There were 800 of these guitars built in the erly 1980s. The example pictured is from 1983. They were available in natural, metallic red and metallic blue finishes. Early examples had a Dean-like V-shaped headstock. My guess is that this was changed because of Gibson's objections to the V terminology.

Other makers have produced acoustic Flying Vs, most notably Germany's Dommenget guitars and more recently Dean; whilst their guitars are closer in shape to the Gibson Flying V template, it's my understanding that Takamine were the first to take this classic electric guitar design and apply it to an acoustic model.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Roland G-77 Fretless Bass synth controller

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

Here at Guitarz we previously looked at a Roland G-77 Bass synth controller in May 2009. However, this one currently being offered for sale on eBay (the auction has less than 12 hours left as I type this) is fretless. Now, I never knew that a fretless version was an option. It doesn't look like it's a later modification - not unless the entire fingerboard has been replaced.

What I'm wondering is, as a synth controller, how well does it track? I had been under the impression that you needed to be very precise with these synth controller guitars and basses, and any "in-between" notes would result in glitching. Anyone out there got any experience with such matters?

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

The best anti-guitar solo ever?

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

This is one of my favourites; it's the antithesis of a guitar solo. Check out Bob Mothersbaugh on the LaBaye 2X4 on the 2nd part of this song.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Kent extra short scale bass

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

With a scale length of just 24", this vintage Kent-branded bass could be considered to be extra short scale. That's even shorter than many guitars. The seller calls it "Little Thumper" and comments on the amazing amount of low end that it is capable of.

It's a strange piece; I'd wager it was Japanese in origin, but if you know differently, do let us know! It has a "thrown together from spares parts" look to it. See how the pickguard looks too small for the body and should perhaps be on another bass.

I'd say this would be another candidate for baritone ukulele tuning, like this Mosrite Celebrity that we looked at here on Guitarz recently. I really must get myself one of these little basses one day.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Vintage PerlGold Jazz Guitar

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Here is a nice Pergold semi-hollow body guitar, with 3 single coil pickups, the typically East-german tail in its long-harm trem version, a strange perloid pickguard and 4 knobs following the external curve of the body. You will notice something I've seen on several of these guitars, the lower part [I think you mean "higher" - GLW] of the fingerboard is unfretted, where it is anyway inaccessible...

Pergold was a high-end guitar brand from DDR - for what I understood, information about it is scarce...

Bertram

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Home-made Distortocaster?

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

Guitarz reader and regular commenter, Matt D-6, found this scary piece of luthiery on his local Craig's List. I think the seller is barely literate. (Dear oh dear, when did people routinely stop using capital letters and punctuation?) He also seems to be under the impression that this is a high quality guitar and is easily worth at least $200. Errrrrmmmm... Hello? The body is a bodge job. It looks like a Strat built by someone who'd never seen one before, and with only a child's drawing for reference.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Fender Cyclone review and demo

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

Following on from Bertram's piece on the Fender Cyclone II a few days ago, Guitarz reader Ben Albey has sent us this review of a Fender Cyclone 2-pickup model plus a video demo. Nice one! Over to Ben:

This is my brother in-law's 2001 Mexican made Fender Cyclone. Everything is original except one of the tuners which was replaced by a Grover, then replaced by me with an extra Fender one I had left over from my Nashville Tele when I put Sperzel tuners on. It has the original Atomic humbucker in the bridge, and Tex Mex single coil in the neck, which is really sweet because it has an angle on it that you don't see on many fender neck pickups. It's white, which by now is cream, which is a hard color to find on these Fender Cyclones, a guitar that is already hard to find.

This year of Cyclones came in Candy apple red, black, white, and vintage sunburst. I saw a black one at a music store in Tennessee when I was on my honeymoon for $300; my wife said I could get it, but we were newlyweds and hard up for cash, so I didn't buy it, and I've been kicking myself ever since. It has a Strat tremolo bridge on it, and a 24.75" scale neck. This is a strange scale for a Fender, a scale that is on Gibson Les Pauls. The guitar also features a maple neck, rosewood fretboard, tortoise shell pickguard and a Jaguar-like control plate and a three way toggle like on a Jazzmaster.

The only draw back for me is that the body is made out of poplar, which is why if you find this era of Cyclone you can probably get it for around $300-$600. Poplar is a good enough wood, and a lot of players have poplar bodies; personally I like ash and alder. Over all this is a great, fun, and comfortable guitar. If I ever find another one, I will buy it on the spot.

Ben Albey


© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Bootsy Collins bass solo

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guitarz.blogspot.com:


...just because I enjoyed watching it!

Look out for the guitarist wearing a baby's nappy! (Garry Shider, apparently.) I'm not sure what that's all about.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

It's so S-s-s-silly... The Flying S?

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

We all know the Flying V. A few days ago we looked at a rather vulgar Jackson doubleneck that I dubbed the Flying W. Takamine had the Flying A (actually an acoustic take on the V design - they weren't allowed to call it a V, and viewed from the other direction it could be considered an A). Rick Nielsen, I believe, has a Flying Z, and The Tubes had a Flying Q (albeit a stage prop)...

And here we have this Maestro S-shaped guitar. Suitable for people with names like Sid, Shirley, Simon, Sylvester, Sarah, Sally, etc... Oh - there's a S at the headstock too (with machine heads seemingly positioned at random), so perhaps it's more suitable for people with the initials SS... which has sinister overtones.

Or maybe it's more suited to an episode of Sesame Street.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Boutique semi-hollow guitars - you'll have to look to know more...

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For sure you won't see these guitars everyday! Only two of them were ever built, and handmade semi-hollow guitars with an experimental design are quite uncommon, because another level of skills is required than when you make up a solid body... 

And the result is - IMHO - quite stunning! The shape is brilliant, the thick contoured horns are quite a smart move (people busy with guitar design will understand what I mean) and I love the big German carve! I appreciate the fact that they look timeless and could have been made at any moment of the history of electric guitars (and they would have bizarre all along) - at least in Germany where there is a tradition of highly creative jazz guitars!

I imagine that people who will look at these strange instruments with the image of a ES-335 in the head will find hard to love them, so please forget everything and really look without any preconception - and enjoy!

Bertram

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

The Ultimate Guitar Video !!!

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No comment!

Bertram

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Thinline Fender Jaguar

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There is a Jaguar Thinline and noone ever told me!

Ach ja, it's from Fender Japan, they have much cooler Fenders there for some reason, with plenty of Mustang variations,  Teles with Filtertrons, colors you've never seen on a Fender... Check their website and cry!

Bertram

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Archtop Soprano Guitar

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Ever heard of a soprano guitar before? Neither did I until today, but it's exciting - like a tenor or a baritone! Guitars never stop surprising me! 

This one is a one-off made by a Swedish luthier, with Stradivarius F-holes, and has a scale lentgh of 400 mm... It's so rare that I might never see one in real, but I'm very curious about this instrument!

Bertram

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Fender Cyclone II

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A couple of weeks ago Fender released its Pawn Shop Series - "guitars that never were, but should have been" (GL had posted right away about them here). This short lived Fender Cyclone II fits to the concept, isn't it? 

The Cyclone series was created in 1997 and shut down in 2007 - it never really took, probably because Fender customers just want the 3 same models again and again (same old rant, sorry).

They could have liked this one though (a Cyclone II released in 2002), nothing as radical as a Katana or a Performer, but a well thought collage of parts of various classic Fender models - the body of a Mustang with the pickups of a Jaguar slanted like on a Stratocaster, the neck, headstock and switches are also from the Jaguar, the knobs from the Mustang, the trem from a Strat... It's a pity that such alternative guitars have no room to exist, no little niche aside the mainstream models! 

Bertram

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

1960s Guyatone LG130-T

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

Ugh! I'm still feeling a bit unclean after that previous post. This 1960s-era Japanese-made Guyatone LG130-T in original cherry/pink finish is the perfect antidote. Seriously, what can I say about this vintage piece? The pictures speak for themselves.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Jackson USA Custom Shop King V doubleneck

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

This Jackson USA Custom Shop King V doubleneck is an exercise in excess with its over-sized quilted maple topped body, dual through-necks, reverse pointy headstocks, gold hardware, mother of pearl sharkfin inlays, etc. I have to confess that I'm not a fan. I never did like the Jackson pointy headstock design - it just looks totally incongruous on just about any body design, and quilted maple I'm sure is supposed to imply opulence but to me it just seems like an unimaginative short-cut to tarting up a guitar's appearance. Many would be impressed, but I have to stifle a yawn.

Flying V? Flying W more like!

Currently being offered for sale on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $9,999.99.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

1960s Vox Invader

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

The seller of the Vox Bulldog we looked at earlier today was also selling this Vox Invader, with a Buy It Now price of $2,250. Like the Bulldog, it failed to sell.

Again, we see some Mosrite influences, but this one is a bit more Vox-y with the classic sixties-style Vox headstock and the on-board effects that various other Vox models also carried. It's like a Vox/Mosrite hybrid, and is certainly an attractive guitar. I'd love to find out how it plays and sounds.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

1960s Vox Bulldog

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guitarz.blogspot.com:


The Vox Bulldog is one of the later 1960s Italian-made Voxes, and it seems that with this model they are trying to evoke a Mosrite vibe, with its slanted neck pickup, carved top, assymetrical headstock, and even the shape of the body although here it's not quite so "upside-down Strat". This example in excellent condition was recently being offered for sale on eBay with a starting price of $1,895 but failed to sell.

In the current financial climate that is probably too much to ask for a vintage guitar such as this, despite the condition. People simply aren't willing to pay out for a vintage instrument that isn't a sure-fire investment, and unfortunately in this ultra-conservative area that means vintage Fenders and Gibsons, maybe one or two other key brands. The quirkies like this one, just aren't going to be seen as an investment. And for anyone interested in a guitar such as this as a player's instrument, well, the price is probably too prohibitative.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Bat-i-tone baritone

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

You could be forgiven for thinking this was yet another axe-shaped guitar, but the body design is actually based on the bat-shaped logo of comic book superhero Batman. Take a look at the headstock, that's the dead giveaway!

This Bat-i-tone baritone guitar, has a 28 1/4" inch scale, flamed maple drop top on an alder body, maple neck and ebony fretboard with custom reconstituted rock "Kapow!" inlay (which unfortunately doesn't show up too well in the photograph).

It's a one-off quality hand-built instrument,  although we here at Guitarz think that with a $10,000 (Canadian dollars) starting price and Buy It Now price of $17,000 (Canadian), it's  is a lot to have to shell out for a novelty instrument, however nicely made it is.

Via Vince Gotera on our FaceBook page.

G L Wilson 

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Prince original purple cloud guitar

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

In February this year here on Guitarz we looked at a guitar inspired by Prince's cloud guitar built by Ergo Instruments. In that instance it wasn't meant to be an exact replica, but was Ergo's own interpretation of the design.

But now currently on eBay we see a genuine cloud guitar as played by Prince (and pictured in his hands on the cover of the January 2000 issue of Guitar Player magazine) and - surprisingly - supposedly the only example ever to have been finished in purple. According to the eBay listing:
It is one of the first three of 27 hand-built examples luthier Andy Beech made for Paisley Park Studios after Prince and David Rusan (who built the first four clouds) parted ways. This is not a Schecter or ESP. The guitar comes with the original letter of origination with serial number from Paisley Park and an original letter of authenticity from Andy Beech...
This is a fantastic guitar, but you'd need to be a pretty dedicated Prince fan to consider bidding with a starting price of $9,999 or Buying It Now for $17,499.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Orfeus Thinline review

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

Recently here on Guitarz, Bertram showed us an Orfeus thinline guitar. Pictured above we see another similar Orfeus guitar, owned by Martin Cater, who has kindly supplied the following review:

I own a couple of other Communist-era guitars and, in common with those models, the tone of this Bulgarian-made Orfeus is best described as having not so much twang as clank! Information on Orfeus guitars is scant, but comparing this one with images I’ve seen of others, I would hazard a guess that it dates from the late 60s or early 70s.

It’s undoubtledly a crude instrument, though not without a certain character. The body is semi-hollow, not unlike the Rickenbacker 330 which probably inspired the design (if you can call a thing like this inspired), and there’s additional wood in the centre which falls short of being a centre block as there’s a narrow gap through the middle. The top is about 5mm thick and as can be seen from the photos, it’s quite an attractive piece of wood. The finish is the kind of matt varnish you might expect to find on a piece of furniture or maybe an acoustic guitar. The top and back are natural wood, whilst the sides are a contrasting dark brown matt stain. It’s impossible to be sure if either of these finishes is original. What appears to be binding is nothing more than a white painted strip around the edges of the top and back and the soundhole.

The neck is thick and fat, with a squareish profile that’s reminiscent of old Italian acoustics, and no separate fingerboard – the frets are just hammered straight into the neck. Action is on the high side, but not unplayable. The unusual string retainer seems to be typical of Orfeus models, as is the zero fret.

All the equipment appears to be original and is consistent with photos of other Orfeus instruments that I’ve seen. Typically, the name is spelled differently on the headstock and on the pickups, which seems to suggest models made for export. One of the strangest aspects of the guitar is the bridge, with saddles which appear to be made of perspex. This seems to be a standard type used on other Orfeus models. The three large control knobs comprise volume for each pickup and a third control which is probably a master volume but doesn’t have any effect. The 5-pin din output is typical, but luckily the guitar was supplied with the correct lead.

There’s a fair amount of volume when played acoustically, and plugged in, the tone is very much that of a cheap amplified acoustic: thin and middly with barely any sustain. Single notes have an almost sitar-like quality on the top three strings, especially when the volume is rolled off on the neck pickup. Both pickups combined give a pleasantly mid range Johnny Marr-style tone which sounds surprisingly good on strummed chords. Output is quite loud compared with other cheap vintage instruments, and whilst it doesn’t take kindly to distortion, what you do get when you crank it up is a primitive boxy growl that sounds for all the world like Dave Davies’ shredded speaker tone on You Really Got Me. This is essentially a Bulgarian chord machine!

The nearest thing to this that I’ve played is a Harmony Rebel – also Rickenbacker-inspired, and with a similarly crude finish and clanky tone.

Martin Cater

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Gretsch G6120S Nashville Jolly Roger

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We've looked at pirate-themed guitars before on Guitarz - see here and here - and here, pictured above, we see a Gretsch G6120S Nashville with Jolly Roger graphics courtesy of the Custom Shop. I'm not usually one for intricately decorated guitars, but this one I quite like. Somehow the graphics seem to be sympathetic to the design of the guitar. Still, with a Buy It Now price of $9,500 I think I'll leave this one to someone else to add to their collection.

Via Vince Gotera on our FaceBook page.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

ESP FT-300K Fanatic Crisis Shun signature guitar

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We here at Guitarz have looked at a fair few weirdly-shaped contemporary guitars from Japan, most notably from makers Fernandes and ESP. This particular guitar, an ESP FT-300K Fanatic Crisis Shun signature no less, takes the familiar Strat layout and gives it a twist - or, should I say, a stretch. Despite the Strat layout of the three single coils, those are in fact Jaguar-style pickups. The guitar also seems to be equipped with a kill switch near the lower horn.

Fanatic Crisis, by the way, were a Japanese Nagoya kei rock band active from 1992–2005; Shun was their guitarist and, no doubt, endorsee of this model guitar.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Godin Artisan ST

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Can't say that I find the design of this early 1990s Godin Artisan ST extremely sexy but it has something typically Godin - a brand I quite like - in its way of keeping discreet while still proposing something slightly bizarre, but always relevant. 

Here the very long upper horn where you attach your strap is quite ergonomic, allowing a better balance, when the lower horn logically almost disappears, since it is usually mere cosmetic. The result is probably disturbing 60 years after Stratocaster set the standard for electric guitars, but it is sensible and gives this guitar a nice personality, is spite and of its boring finish.

You'll notice the double dual blade humbucker in bridge position and the competition trem - all that making this guitar a shredding machine - though I still don't really get the concept of shredding, but who cares?

Bertram


© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!
Stratocaster

Music Man Bongo Bass

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Music Man, Leo Fender's first post-Fender guitar company, are known for their guitar and basses (some would say especially the basses) which are usually quite conservative in styling. But here we see that with the Music Man Bongo Bass they decided to break the mold and go for quite an almost space-age design.

It was the result of a partnership with DesignworksUSA, a design consultancy known for its work with BMW, and features a 24-fret rosewood fingerboard and 4-band active EQ powered by an 18V supply. This lefthanded model, currently being offered for sale on eBay with a Buy It Now price of £1,200, features a pair of Music Man humbuckers, although other pickup combinations were also available. It is also custom fitted with Orange front-face magnifying Sims LEDs whereas stock models would have had moon-shaped inlays.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Dude* plays AC/DC on Florida-shaped guitar

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The state of Florida presents a weird shape with which to base the design of a guitar body on! Kudos to this guy for having the imagination to build some of his own bizarre guitars. In another of his videos he shows serveral other works in progress including a Super Mario guitar, a Bart Simpson guitar, and his own copy of the Erlewine Chiquita guitar.

The Florida guitar uses finishing nails as frets (again, top marks for inventiveness) and doesn't seem to have any machine heads up at the headstock so I'm guessing he's using some kind of tuning system down at the bridge end.


* If you're a guitarist you have to call everyone "Dude". I think it's a tradition or an old charter or something.


G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Mosrite Danamite Wave

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Forgive me if I sometimes come across as some kind of all-knowing "Guitar Guru" but I never claimed to be an expert, and I certainly hadn't realised that the Mosrite company were still producing guitars. Dana Moseley has followed in her father Semie's footsteps as a luthier and is keeping the Mosrite name alive. The Mosrite Danamite "Wave" is an all-new limited edition 45th Anniversary model with what looks like three P90 pickups, but which actually are "Dana-Mo" custom special pickups, and an almost organic-looking Vibramute tremolo and roller bridge combination. The wave body design complete with the German carve so familiar on old Mosrites make it look both modern and vintage at the same time - it's unmistakably a Mosrite!

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Molded and contoured top guitar Switch Stein IV by Trev Wilkinson

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At the first sight, this Switch Stein IV has a 1980s look that probably repels the average vintage cultist  who thinks that electric guitar history stopped the day Fender subcontracted its guitar making to Greco (all these angles! - though in one extra decade that will be probably sooooo cool).

But if you look closer, you will figure that this guitar has something special - first of all it is a recent model (2000s but I cannot tell more - because as often with Trev Wilkinson products, short lived guitar company Switch has a visibility deficiency - their website is no more, no fan page, very little reviews...). You will notice right away its ergonomically contoured top that is supposed to provide a more comfortable access to the strings and knobs, and the Parker Fly-esque upper horn (they enjoyed radical designs, GL has already posted about a Burns Flytesque model a couple of years ago).

But the very special thing about this guitar, is that it's one-piece, molded out of a composite material called Vibracell, supposed to have the best resonance and sustain one can expect from a guitar - that you can get from wood only if you are lucky or put a lot of money... For me that makes sense - I love wood for the feel and the look, but I'm far from being convinced that it's the ultimate material for an electric guitar! Vibracell allows one-piece construction, easy chambering, design freedom and low price... Unfortunately early XXIst century is not the right time to be innovative in guitar making, so no surprise these guitars didn't take in spite of the unanimous positive reviews I could read...

I wonder if this material will ever find its proper use - maybe for other instruments aimed at less conservative crowds...

Bertram

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

The Strobel Rambler - a travel guitar that's equally at home on stage

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

Most travel guitar are instruments built to a compromise. They are compact and lightweight, and usually this means they are fine for practice or something to bash around on while travelling, but you wouldn't really want to play a gig with one.

Not so the Strobel Rambler, which is a professional quality electric guitar that just so happens to be able to be able to be packed away in a standard-sized briefcase. We first looked at Strobel Guitars back in 2008 when their sole offering, the Rambler Custom, would have been out of the price range of many people wanting a travel guitar. They now also offer the Rambler Classic which takes the same concept but makes it available for $599.

Tommy Castro with his Rambler
Strobel Guitars
Rambler™ Travel Electric Guitar

Want to jam when you get there? Practice in the hotel? Jump on stage and play? Take along a Strobel Rambler™ Travel Electric Guitar - a full scale professional instrument that breaks down to fit in a briefcase or computer bag in minutes. This is a great sounding, great playing instrument perfected for the traveling musician. The Rambler™ offers unsurpassed quality, playability and resonance.

The Rambler™ travel guitar features locking tuners located on the bottom of the guitar with the strings loaded from the top of the neck through the patented StringKeeper™. Dual humbucking pickups are switchable from neck to bridge (or both) to provide a fat full sound and excellent tone. Separate tone and volume controls provide a wide range of equalization. Intonation and string action is set with a fully adjustable Tuneomatic bridge. The adjustable nut (a unique feature of the Rambler™ portable travel guitar), allows adjustment of the string action at the top of the neck.

Weighing in at less than five pounds (and with an assembled length of about 30”), the Rambler™ is a very portable guitar. The Rambler™ Classic comes with a nicely padded embroidered gig bag, fitting nicely in the overhead bin when traveling by air. The neck is 17-1/2” and the body measures just over 15” when disassembled, so they fit in most all computer bags. Scale length is a standard 24-1/2” Gibson scale with 20-21 frets. The nut is 1-5/8” wide and the neck profile is a thin “C” shape.

Travelers typically take the Rambler™ Professional Electric Travel Guitar apart and place the separated neck and body in their carry on luggage. To take the guitar apart, simply loosen the single thumbwheel on the top of the neck and remove the StringKeeper™. Wrap the strings around the body through the StringCatcher™, tucking the StringKeeper™ between the middle tuners. Then take off the neck by loosening the four body thumbwheels. Simply reverse the process to assemble the guitar.

While playing and sounding like a full size electric guitar, the Rambler™ portable guitar has a sonic advantage due to the absence of a headstock. The string energy (normally wasted as the vibrations pass over the nut) is channeled back into the neck, providing superior resonance and sustain. Neck relief is adjustable with the dual action truss rod, allowing more or less relief as desired. The Rambler™ Classic has a solid Maple body, in either Tobacco or Cherry Sunburst. To order a Rambler™, please log on to www.StrobelGuitars.com.

Strobel Guitars also offers the Rambler™ Custom Travel Guitar, with choice of tone woods, neck shape, fretboard, inlay initials and a full line of custom colors. Some of the many custom options include gold hardware, quilted AAA maple tops, coil tapping, on board pre-amp, custom inlay, Piezo bridge, etc. You can also check out the new Rambler Custom Bass Travel Guitar at www.StrobelGuitars.com.

The Rambler™ Classic Travel Electric Guitar
Spec Sheet
  • Fits in a computer case for travel
  • Easily breaks down without tools
  • Removable interchangeable neck
  • Full 24 ½” scale length
  • 12” fretboard radius
  • 20 medium jumbo frets
  • Overall length 30”
  • Weight between 4 to 5 lbs.
  • Double action truss rod
  • Adjustable Nut
  • Removable StringKeeper™ for fast assembly
  • StringCatcher™ to protect finish
  • Patented innovative design
  • Dual humbucking pick ups
  • Volume and tone controls
  • Locking tuners
  • Tunomatic bridge
  • Solid Canadian Maple body
  • Tobacco or Cherry Sunburst finish
  • Maple neck with Rosewood fretboard
  • Mother of Pearl dot inlays
  • Expert, proprietary luthier fabrication
Thanks to Russ Strobel for this info.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Yamaha SX 900 B

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I don't have much information about this Yamaha SX 900 B - but that it's the 3 single coils version of the SX series and that its shape is brilliant (and there was an Ibanez copy of this model)... Again one of these great Japanese guitars from the early 70s - pre law-suit era - before they started to clone American guitars better than the originals...

Bertram

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!
Ibanez

1969 Gibson SG with striped refinish

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We seem to have been having a bit of a SG fixation on this blog recently, don't we?

Do you think this refinished striped 1969 Gibson SG outdoes the silver glitter SG that Bertam posted about earlier? This one, again, would probably be best suited to a glam rock band. I have to confess I secretly quite like it. Hey, it's even complete with the Gibson Lyre vibrola.

Via Vince Gotera on our Facebook page.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Custom glam SG

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SG time! Sparkling SG! Glam for the people!

One out of 18 SGs by Gibson custom shop in silver sparkling finish, with 3 humbuckers and everything needed to fight the Emperor Ming on planet Mongo!

Bertram

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

1970s Hoyer SG

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Yes I'm a little bit obsessed by these vintage German trems lately - that is ironical for someone who has very little use for one when playing guitar (but I still have so much to learn!)

Look at the big chrome trem and rolling saddles bridge of this superb 1970s Hoyer SG in burgundy finish, isn't it he sexiest thing in the world? 

Bertram

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!
guitarz.blogspot.com

Ibanez Roadstar II from 1984

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MIJ (Made In Japan) Strats from the 1980s have a particularly good reputation. The enthusiast of such guitars could do far worse than this 1984 Ibanez Roadstar II. Whilst not a direct Strat copy, you can't deny the obvious Strat influences. Indeed, some would say that its an improvement on the Strat design. Personally, I find the shape quite pleasing. It is very yellow though and with matching pickup covers - perhaps it's a nice change from the multitude of all-red guitars we have shown on this blog before.

If you're interested in bidding, the auction is up in just over 4 hours as I type this. No-one has bid - as yet - and the starting price is $299 (item location is California), so someone could get a good bargain here. (Let us know if it's you).

Thanks to Oren Clark for pointing this one out to me.

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Höfner Telecaster

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In the 1960s Höfner made Telecaster one of its unescapable models.

But they didn't just copy the Fender original model, this is their own version, that has everything more or less different: as much as I can see with the angle even the body shape (bigger horn, isn't it?) is slightly modified, as is the headstock, also the rectangular control plate with the jack output, big knobs and flat head switch, the truncated pickguard and of course the pickups that look like nothing I've seen so far...

And on top of that it has one of these extra cool Höfner trems!

Bertram

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

1960s Decca Bass

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guitarz.blogspot.com:

I don't always get around to blogging about guitars I'm watching on eBay before the auction ends. I try my best to feature guitars while the auction is still active just in case some of you guys want to place a bid or hit that Buy It Now, but I'm usually watching so many at any one time and it's not possible to feature everything at once.

Sorry, that's a long-winded way of me saying this auction has already finished. This Decca-branded bass had a starting price of 99c and sold for $261.79. It's a Japanese-made instrument, and the seller claims that:
It is clearly an early product of the Matsumoko (whose Guyatone bass guitars had these pickups as well) and the pre-Kawai owned Teisco guitar factories as it has recognizable parts from each of those plants.
Well, the neck definitely looks Teisco with those inlays along the bass side of the fingerboard. The metal control plate is an interesting shape and incorporates an angled outward output jack (NOT "input jack" - sorry, pet hate of mine) which calls to mind a Strat style output socket mounted upside down and inside out.

The seller believes that the brand ties in with the Decca records label and that this brand of instruments was primarily produced for sale to small record shops. All of which sound highly feasible, but is conjecture.

Does anyone out there remember the Decca brand or know any more about this?

G L Wilson

© 2011, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!