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More info on the Electra brand and the mysterious Phoenix

You may have seen the curious Electra Phoenix detailed in Jan 30th’s post. I did some research and found, through the Westone Info link at the bottom of this page, a whole website dedicated to Electra here;

Electra Guitars History

As it turns out, the brand was exclusively made up of well-built Japanese guitars, mostly copies but with some original shapes, most notably the Phoenix series. These were sold through St. Louis Music of Missouri during the 1970s up to the mid 1980s. In 1983 or so the Electra brand was dropped by SLM in favour of another brand made in the same Matsomoku factory, the better-known Westone, one of which, as you may know, has eventually ended up in our possession.

Electra Phoenix X135 GuitarThe Phoenix was the best known of Electra’s original models, a vaguely Strat-shaped guitar available as a series of 10-15 different models. The one featured on the site , I believe to be a Phoenix X135 model. This model featured an ash or maple body (the one for sale looks maple to me), and two coil-tapped humbucking pickups. This one is in a natural finish and is possibly an earlier model due to the inclusion of a scratchplate.

Interestingly, in a recent interview with James Hetfield of Metallica, he claims his iconic battered Gibson Flying V copy he has used from the start of his career was made by a company called “Elektra”. Electra made a bolt-neck Gibson V copy from 1974 to the early 80s, and Hetfield’s allusion that the guitar was made in the late seventies or early eighties, and has a bolt-on neck, means it could well be made by Electra.

Whether Hetfield’s guitar was made by a company called Elektra, or whether this was a spelling mistake on the typist’s part is not known.

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