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Squier M-80


At first sight, this M80 doesn't look much like a Squier - isn't Squier supposed to just released budget versions of Fender guitars? -, but more like these Matsumoku guitars from the early 1980s that prepared the guitar world to the metal era: unspectacular outline and wood, transparent finish, Gibsonesque gear and pickups - even an Ibanez-style headstock! But the M80 is a real - though short-lived - Squier guitar from the mid-2000s, about which there is little online information, but several very positive reviews. 

This one has seen its Duncan Designed HB replaced by Seymour Duncan open ones - like many Squiers, it seems that the M80 has been a good base for upgrades and modifications! It's easy to overlook this guitar - though it has a refreshing feel of honesty that made me want to know more about it -, but when you read what Tod Krause, its designer, says, you may reconsider:
“I’ve been working on the M-80 for a long time. I designed it for somebody who was playing at a club, working with a label, about to be signed, or had been signed. I wanted to build a “workingman’s” guitar for a new generation of players. That guitar evolved from many years of seeing things in guitars that I like or dislike. A lot of designs on that guitar are my gut-level reaction to what I see people playing, my playing, and what players tell me they like and dislike – or find comfortable and uncomfortable.
 “There’s a lot of design in the M-80 that doesn’t meet the eye. For example, the body comes from a shortened Mustang guitar. If you put a longer-scale Neck on a Mustang, you have to shorten the body so it feels right. I placed the strap buttons, so that when the guitar is hanging, it feels familiar. Let me put it this way … I’ve got 25 years in the business, and the M-80 is the accumulation of 25 years of designing and building guitars for the world’s most discriminating players.” – Todd Krause
Strange that the guitar was discontinued so quickly...


© 2012, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Passion in Pinstripes: the Synyster Gates Custom-S

/ - Guest blog by Olivia Lennox:

Musician endorsed guitars go way back. Axe masters such as Steve Vai, Slash and Joe Perry have all put their name to Les Paul guitars, while Fender and Gibson also have a huge catalog of models endorsed and used by famous guitarists. Schecter have had some big name relationships over the years too, including Mark Knopfler and Pete Townshend, but it’s their long-term sponsorship with Avenged Sevenfold guitarist, Synyster Gates, that has resulted in this latest and rather special offering.

The Synyster Gates Custom-S features many of the specifications used by the Avenged Sevenfold guitarist on his signature model, including Sustainiac Stealth. This unique pickup system replaces the normal neck Humbucker and enables Gates to sustain feedback at all levels, a feature that makes Gate’s heavy attack style so distinctive.

Available from January 2012, the Synyster Gates Custom S is a startling-looking guitar. In black, three-piece mahogany and featuring silver pinstripes, the guitar is as distinctive in color as it is in design. With sleek Avenger body and clawed head, it provides a statement worthy of any hard rock or metal outfit. With left-handed models available, the price tag for the 24-fret, 25.5 inch neck guitar is $50 shy of the $1,700 mark, but it’s doubtful you’ll find a more distinctive Avenger axe for the money.


Described by Gates as his “secret weapon,” the Sustainiac feature provides sustained and controlled feedback. In the position where the normal neck Humbucker pickup sits, the Sustainiac circuit processes the pickup signal and sends it to the Sustainiac driver, where the amplified note is turned into vibrational energy and fed back to the strings. The result is an ability to sustain feedback indefinitely, as if playing the guitar inches from a loud amp. Of course, the Sustainiac system can be turned off, allowing normal Humbucker tones.


Gates’ signature pinstripe design is one of the most distinctive in the metal world. It works well with the Avenger shape, creating quite a unique-looking guitar that while clearly metal and rock in shape, also exudes a retro feel. Made in three-piece mahogany for extra stability, the Synyster Gates Custom-S is obviously built to last. With an ebony fingerboard that Schecter say produces a snappy and crisp attack with the density of Maple but with a stronger fundamental tone, the Synyster Gates Custom-S is equipped with a Floyd Rose 1000 Series bridge and a Floyd Rose 1000 locking tremolo system. The Synyster Gates Custom-S also has a Grover Rotomatics 18:1 gear ratio for finer tuning, Seymour Duncan Invader pickups that complement the Sustainiac system, 3-way volume toggle, on-off mini toggle, and 3-way normal-mix-harmonic mode mini toggle.


When it comes to American guitar makers, Schecter are often overlooked with the likes of axe giants such as Fender and Gibson taking more than their fair share of the guitar world’s laurels. Yet, Schecter are a passionate guitar manufacturer and the Synyster Gates Custom-S is a good example of the dedication and fastidiousness they invest in their axes. The Custom-S had been on Schecter’s design drawing board for years, but the company always seemed reluctant to release the product to the market until they were wholly satisfied that it was not only the best guitar that they could produce, but also that it was as close to Gates’ original signature guitar.

For those not familiar with the company, Schecter was founded in 1976. Originally selling only replacement parts for Fenders and Gibsons, by 1979, founder David Schecter launched his own fully assembled electric guitars based on the Fender designs. An exclusive range, but very expensive, originally only 20 stores across America stocked Schecters. They owe much of their contemporary success to Pete Townshend of The Who, who fell in love with one of these early Schecter guitars and was the first high profile guitarist to use one on stage. Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits also used Schecter Stratocaster-style guitars to record "Making Movies", and has owned many Schecters over the years.

In 1987, Hisatake Shibuya, a Japanese entrepreneur and owner of the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, bought Schecter. Hisatake Shibuya devoted all his efforts to manufacturing high-end, expensive custom instruments. As a result, Schecter have been endorsed over the years by high profile guitarists, such as Stone Temple Pilots’ Robert DeLeo, and Jay Noel Yuenger and Sean Yseult of White Zombie. And Synyster Gates complements such esteemed company rather well.

Olivia Lennox is a professional writer and amateur singer/songwriter. Her day job involves writing on behalf of a premium sofa retailer and a number of travel blogs, but her real passion lies in strings and vinyl.

© 2012, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Eko mando guitar, 1980s 12-string octave guitar (and who is that playing it?)


Further to yesterday's post about the Robin Ranger octave guitar, just through sheer coincidence this morning I found this photo featuring an Eko Mando Guitar which is essentially a half-scale electric 12-string. No doubt this was an instrument inspired by the Vox Mando Guitar, the Vox and Eko companies having previously had very close ties in the late 1960s when Vox shifted guitar production to Italy's Eko factory. Unlike the 6-string Robin Ranger, the Eko with 12 strings arranged in 6 courses allows for a more realistic mandolin sound.

"New old stock" Eko mando guitars are still available today via Brandoni Guitars, if anyone is interested in purchasing such an instrument. They also have 8-string Eko electric mandos.

As for the identity of the 1980s kid in the photo (nice tank top and balloon pants!), I have to put my hand up and admit it is me.

G L Wilson

© 2012, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Robin Ranger octave guitar from the 1980s


From Texas's very own Robin Guitars here we see one of their earlier instruments from the 1980s, the Robin Ranger octave guitar.

Designed for guitarists who want to play up in the mandolin range but who want to use the familiar guitar tuning. It's also great for doubling up guitar parts.

This guitar is currently listed on eBay with a starting price of $400 and a Buy It Now price of $750.

It also gives me the excuse to show this video (below) of the Vaughan brothers, Stevie Ray and Jimmy, playing the same Robin doubleneck guitar with 6-string plus 6-string octave necks.

G L Wilson

© 2012, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

Your Guitars: Harri shows us Javier, an SX Liquid modified for 3rd bridge playing


Harri writes:
This is my main guitar, Javier, who I modified heavily. He is an SX Liquid from I outfitted him with a Retrotron mini humbucker and a lipstick tail pickup from, painted him pistachio green, stuck a buncha stuff on him, and now he is as you see! I love this guitar. I keep him tuned to DGCGBB, and his third bridge effects come through really nice when the volume's rolled off. Hope you like'm!

Thanks for showing us that, Harri. I confess that I have been curious about pickups behind the bridge and the effects you can get with 3rd bridge guitars. I know that Sonic Youth have made much use of them. For anyone who is interested in 3rd bridge instruments, check out the fascinating website of Hans Reichel who made and played guitars not only with pickups behind the bridge but also with another fretboard beyond the bridge. (Sadly, Hans passed away last November, which alas I failed to report on the blog at the time.)

G L Wilson

© 2012, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!