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Alray Cougar vintage stereo guitar - a Wurlitzer in all but name


Previously on Guitarz we have looked at a Wurlitzer Cougar stereo guitar, part of the Wild One series which also included the Wildcat and the Gemini. These guitars all share the same pickups and stereo circuitry which includes jazz/rock settings for each pickup - basically switching between different capacitors for to affect tonal change. Wurlitzer guitars were built alongside the now legendary LaBaye 2x4 guitar at the Holman-Woodell factory in Neodesha, Kansas in the mid to late 1960s.

However, if you look closely at the Cougar pictured above you'll notice one or two differences from the example we previously featured. The headstock design is quite different, and notice also that the vibrato base plate is missing its Wurlitzer "W" - in fact this vibrato unit looks identical to that employed on the LaBaye six stringer.

The reason behind this is that this particular Cougar is not a Wurlitzer - it instead carried the Alray brandname. From the information I have gathered, Wurlitzer offered the Wild One series guitars from 1965 to 1966. The seller of this Alray Cougar on eBay suggests that this guitar is circa 1967/68. Maybe this was assembled from left-over Wurlitzer stock after they had decided to abandon their guitar line?

This guitar is currently being offered for sale on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $1,200, which is in a similar price bracket to Wurlitzer-branded guitars (if and when they come up for sale).

G L Wilson

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