I found this great forum whilst researching a future post about Dwight guitars. I haven’t had the time to delve too deeply into all the sub forums, but I strongly recommend that anyone with an interest in vintage guitars should spend some time snooping around here…
Great video clip from 1988 of Steve Howe, best known for his playing with Yes and Asia, talking about part of his extensive guitar collection.
Steve is a well known and respected guitar collector, having had a book published about his collection in 1993.The book is pretty rare now, but is available here;
Barney Kessel was a very respected jazz guitarist in the 1950s and 60s, and gained his own Gibson signature model in 1961.
The guitar was unusual in shape,Â with a 25 1/2″ scale length similar toÂ an ES-335, but with much sharper double florentine cutaways, resembling an SG.
However, the body was much wider than an SG, and looked unbalanced.Â
The guitar was very normal apart from this, with four main controls, a wide body as opposed to the thinline design of the ES models, two humbuckers and a Bigsby vibrato.
The model described thus far is the original Barney Kessel Regular. There was another model, the Barney KesselÂ maple-necked Custom, which didnâ€™t sell as well, with a tune-o-matic bridge instead of the Bigsby. Both were available from 1961 until 1973
The Custom was a deluxe instrument; ornate inlays and gold plating throughout – it launched at a significantly higher price than the Regular, $560 and $395 respetively (1/9/61 Gibson price list)
Barney Kessels were discontinued around 1974 and have not been made since. They are rare now, and would probably command a price upwards of Â£5000.
Interviews with guitar dealers at the 2008 Arlington guitar show…
The Ibanez Destroyer was born, like itsâ€™ sister guitar, the fairly similar Ibanez Iceman, out of Ibanezâ€™s infamous 1970s battle with Gibson over Ibanezâ€™s blatant copies of the Les Paul and SG Junior.
Ibanez received a cease- and-desist order and decided to make more original models. This culminated in the Iceman and Destroyer of the late 1970s. The Destroyer started in 1975 as a very impressive Gibson Explorer copy also called Model 2459, but was phased out around a year later.
The new models had a revised body shape, which was an Explorer shape with no scratchplate and some Iceman-style notches on the lower body and the top horn.
There were several models including the rare star-shaped DT250, DG350 and DT350, the DT555 model designed by Phil Collen of Def Leppard, the DT100 played by Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden, the short scale DTX120 of 2000 and the DT420, a reissue of the original DT400 of 1981-2.
The Destroyer has not been made since the DT200 was phased out in 2005, but recently they have been reissued and are now back in the shops.
Destroyers are surprisingly not that expensive.
I found an old DT450 on eBay for less than Â£500, and a DT200 for around Â£300. The new model, with DiMarzio D-Activator pickup, will probably be around the same as a similarly specified new Iceman, around Â£500 or so.
I found this interesting video, I’ll let the author explain in his own words;
See how years of exposure to light has faded the finish of a Les Paul Junior. The same thing has happened to older Les Paul Standards – where the red fades away and “cherry” sunburst becomes “ice tea” sunburst.
Guitar collector info by Steve Evans of Jacksonville Guitar Center in Jacksonville, Arkansas.Â
The Bich was launched in 1977 alongside the Seagull and Mockingbird in the BC Rich range of the 1970s. It featured the most daring of BC Richâ€™s â€œvintageâ€ designs, with a body originally penned by renowned luthier Neal Moser.
It featured two very unusual cutaways on the bottom of the body, a neck-through design, and originally was only available as a ten-string model (see photo), which had 4 tuning pegs at the bridge end for the 4 extra top strings.
However, this limited the appeal of the guitar somewhat, and so a normal six string was launched soon after. It featured all the usual other trimmings on 1970s BC Riches, including elaborate coil-splitting functions and aÂ dizzying array of switches and knobs..
Master Volume, Rhythm Pickup Volume, Pre-amp #1 Volume, Pre-amp #1 On/Off, Pre-amp #2 Volume, Pre-amp #2 On/Off, Phase Switch, Pickup Selector, Six Position Varitone, Dual Sound Rhythm Pickup, Dual Sound Lead Pickup and Master Tone.
When all switches are off the guitar is in passive mode. At this time both pickups are controlled by the master volume. Both pick-ups are activated by pick up selector switch. The tonalities of both pickups in passive mode are controlled by the Master Tone.
Click on the preamp On/Off switch and get an instant 10 db boost from the gate. At this point the pick-ups are now controlled by the pick-up volume control while the master tone still controls the tonality of both pick-ups. With both pick-ups on, phase switch in the up position will produce an out of phase sound, (a tone resembling a half cocked wah sound).
To coil tap the lead pickup flick upward dual sound switch. This converts the pick-up into a single coil sound by separating the pick-up into one coil. Dual sound switch #6 performs the same task for the rhythm pick-up.
As you rotate the six-position varitone clockwise, each position produces a distinct sound based on whichever capacitor is in operation. You will also notice a slight decrease in gain but the pre amp volume can compensate the drop and then some. It is only as limited as your imagination.
All these switches can be use to your liking & when you find a particular sound you like, make note of the setting for future reference. The B.C. Rich Active Electronics produces a spectrum of 154 distinct sounds. If you really want to get really funky with all switches on as described rotate master tone counter clockwise. If you are a traditional blues player you will find sounds you never knew existed. Note that all pickups function while in passive as well as active mode. The battery can easily be changed by carefully removing the screws for the control cavity plate.
The main difference between the active and full active electronics system is that the full electronics system has two independent preamps as well as two volume switches which can work in unison or individually and can naturally distort the volume even at low settings.
The B.C. Rich Active and Full Active systems offer more sounds than any other onboard electronics.
The Bich is still available and is a very popular model in BC Richâ€™s line. It is available as a ten string, six string, bolt-on and through-neck versions, with prices starting from around Â£250. However, like other older BC Riches, the 1970s versions command upwards of Â£1000 when on sale.
The Charvel company, which spawned the famous and reputable brand Jackson Guitars, is also well known for their very high-quality superstrat models and for a while was the chief supplier of Eddie Van Halenâ€™s guitars. In 1992 Charvel launched their biggest break from their usual superstrat tradition (the company also dabbles in Telecaster-shaped models and four-pointed star-shaped models).
This new model was called the Surfcaster.
It was unusual in that it was shaped more like a Fender Jaguar, and had Danelectro-style lipstick pickups and was available in bright and colourful finishes- aqua, sunburst and orange.
It was also of semi-hollow construction, like a Gibson ES-335. It also spawned very rare and collectible bass and 12-string versions. Surfcasters are of very high quality and have a typical Telecaster/ Rickenbacker-style jangling sound.
The Surfcaster was just too different to the guitars played by Charvelâ€™s usual customers and was met with little success.
It was discontinued in 2005, despite efforts to bring in a wider audience with a three pickup solidbody version. Surfcasters are rare now, and are worth between Â£800 and Â£2000 when they come up for sale.
The Epiphone Coronet was launched in 1958 as an alternative to the popular Gibson Les Paul Junior. It was part of a range of models made from the late 50s to 1970. The range included the Crestwood, Coronet Â and Olympic models.
The models were designed to compete with the Gibson Les Paul Junior, and so they all had slim mahogany bodies and necks, and were made in a slightly offset double cutaway format.
The guitars resembled a cross between a Fender Telecaster and a twin-cutaway Gibson Les Paul Junior. The Coronet had a single â€œdog-earedâ€ P-90 pickup at the bridge. The Olympic had one-single-coil pickup, like a Gibson Melody Maker, while the Crestwood, available as a Custom or Deluxe model, had two or three mini-humbuckers depending on model. The guitars had an optional Epiphone Trem-O-Tone vibrato, similar to the Bigsby unit widely used by Gibson.
The Coronet is the best-known of the range and is known as a very simple, playable instrument which is well built and has a classic single P-90 tone like a Gibson Les Paul Junior, which was the original target for the guitar.
Coronets are quite rare, as they never achieved the success they set out to have. An original will cost anything from Â£750 to Â£1500.
Epiphone no longer make any of these models, and the closest to a new one is the limited run of â€œUSA Coronetsâ€ made in the 1990s.Â However, these are nothing like the originals, and only share the shape of the 1960s models.
The USA models had optional Floyd Rose tremolos, Bill Lawrence pickups and an array of vibrant finishes. These will be anywhere from Â£400 – Â£750.
You may have seen the curious Electra Phoenix detailed in Jan 30thâ€™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;
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.
The Phoenix was the best known of Electraâ€™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 â€œElektraâ€. Electra made a bolt-neck Gibson V copy from 1974 to the early 80s, and Hetfieldâ€™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 Hetfieldâ€™s guitar was made by a company called Elektra, or whether this was a spelling mistake on the typistâ€™s part is not known.
I found this old, but still relevent article on bnet.com
Anyone who’s ever heard a Jimi Hendrix solo knows that guitars can produce fantastic sounds, and anyone who’s ever ogled the curves of a Fender Stratocaster will tell you they’re mighty stylish as well. But the instrument’s appeal goes well beyond its visual or sonic charm, its practicality or even its ties to musical history–it can also be a highly prized collectible. Certain vintage models are often regarded as investments, much like antique chairs or Impressionist paintings. Perhaps this is why so many people who start out with a youthful passion for playing end up happy victims of what Walter Becker of the rock band Steely Dan once drolly referred to as “GAS: Guitar Acquisition Syndrome.”
Look among the ranks of those who’ve caught this particular bug, and you’ll find a surprising number of chief executives, most of whom aren’t professional musicians but all of whom grew up with rock music and are now helping to drive the vintage market upwards. Take Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, for example; his collection includes the white 1968 Stratocaster that Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock in August 1969. Bought from an Italian disk jockey for $1.3 million, that guitar is now the centerpiece of the Allen-funded Experience Music Project, a Seattle rock ‘n’ roll museum and historical foundation that opened in 2000.
Allen may be America’s best-known executive guitar collector, but there are lots more. Frank De Fina, president of Panasonic Systems Solutions Company of America, conservatively estimates that his collection is “in the dozens.” Its highlights include a 1939 Martin D-18 acoustic and three electric models lusted after by collectors worldwide: a 1953 Fender Esquire, a 1956 Fender Stratocaster and a 1959 Gibson Les Paul. With such a large number of treasures on hand, storage became an issue. So a few years back, De Fina bought a bank vault to house his collection. “Bank vaults are more readily available than many kinds of vintage guitars,” he quips, “and they’re a lot cheaper, too.”
Tom Simons, president and creative director of Partners & Simons, a Boston marketing firm, doesn’t have as extensive a collection as De Fina, and regards himself as “a guitar accumulator” rather than a collector. Still, the dozen instruments that he’s accumulated would probably strike most people as extravagant. One of them, a Danelectro Bellzouki electric 12-string from the mid-’60s, is described by its owner as “not playable but fun to look at.” Comments like this, by the way, are a sure sign that GAS has taken hold.
Henry Juszkiewicz’s early interest in playing and collecting guitars was so strong that he ended up buying a guitar company; since 1986, he’s been the CEO of Gibson, makers of the legendary Les Paul, among many others. His collection now numbers “around 40,” mainly Gibson prototypes, including two models designed by country great Chet Atkins. Juszkiewicz confesses that he owns guitars besides Gibsons–“I can’t be a one-brand guy,” he admits–but in deference to his position, he won’t reveal what they are.
Diamonds in the Rough
Why has guitar collecting become such a popular pursuit for these and so many other chief executives? Most just love the instrument, for the way it looks, sounds and feels. Many also love it for what it represents: their youth. “There’s a little bit of the outlaw in the electric guitar,” marketer Simons says. “What’s more, CEOs are the business world’s version of rock stars, and a climate-controlled closet humidor full of vintage instruments is a link back to a time when they were able to practice the occasional bad behaviors without repercussions. Those guitars are reminders of when the good times really rolled.”
Of course, there are other, perhaps more shrewd, reasons. “Look at a guitar that sells for $12,000,” says Gibson’s Juszkiewicz, “then look at a diamond that sells for the same amount of money. It’s this little stone. There’s no craftsmanship, there’s no history, and it does nothing. There are a lot of diamonds being sold out there, and yet I would posit that the guitar is of more legitimate value. The reality is that in our marketplace, the investment quality of instruments is pretty phenomenal.”
He’s not joking. In the last few years, the prices of vintage guitars have skyrocketed. The most extreme case is that of the Gibson Cherry Sunburst Les Paul. Approximately 1,700 of these guitars were made between 1958 and 1960 before the line was discontinued due to lack of popularity. Their original list price was under $300; as recently as five years ago, you could find one for $45,000. Today, they’re selling for $250,000. And Stan Jay, president of leading vintage guitar dealer Mandolin Brothers in Staten Island, N.Y., wagers that a mint-condition “Burst” could fetch $300,000 before this year is over.
Other high-ticket items are Martin acoustic guitars made before World War II and so-called “pre-CBS” Fender electric guitars, made before CBS bought the company in 1965. “The rate of appreciation for those models in the last year has been the fastest I’ve ever seen.” says George Gruhn, owner of Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, author of Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars, and generally acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost guitar authorities. “Some of them have jumped as much as 75 percent.” And though Gruhn is as shocked as anyone by these price hikes, he doubts that the bubble will burst in any lasting way: “I haven’t seen any guitars drop in value and never get back, and I’ve been doing this for 42 years.”
read the rest of the artice here
I found this guitar for sale today while I was cruising around some guitar sites.
I’ve never heard of Electra before, but reading the sales info it seems to have come from the Westone/Matsumoku stable of brands and was sold in the US through St Louis Music in the early 1980s.
It’s very “80’s” with the brass bridge, knobs and nut and looks very similar to Westones of that era. (well it would, wouldn’t it?)
It’s pretty cheap at Â£295 and I can’t believe there are many more of this brand floating around out there.
Here’s the link if you want to check it out for yourself..
The Mockingbird was introduced in the mid 1970s as part of BC Richâ€™s then – new radically shaped range.
Alongside the Warlock model, the Mockingbird has become an iconic BC Rich model, and probably the most famously used, with players including Slash, Craig Chaquico of Starship, Kerry King of Slayer and a host of rock players from the 1980’s.
The original Mockingbirds had neck-through body design, as all BC Riches then had and many do in the current range.
They were noticed for their outlandish Explorer-meets-BC Rich Seagull style, ironically now one of BC Richâ€™s more subdued shapes. They had active DiMarzio pickups controlled by a variety of coil-split switches and knobs strewn over the bottom right corner of the body.
Mockingbirds are still very much available, from prices as low as Â£250 for a version with a bolted-on neck. Neck-through versions are from about Â£400 new.
The 1970s versions are of very high quality as they were made when BC Rich were still an oddball boutique manufacturer, and as such the prices of originals are high, starting from around the Â£1500 level in most cases.
However, if you got hold of one you would have a great quality, collectable rock machine which far surpasses several new guitars of its type in terms of quality.
Gibson Trini Lopez
Trini Lopez is a popular American-Mexican singer and guitarist who designed two signature guitars for Gibson in 1964. The first was the Trini Lopez Standard and the second the Custom, or Deluxe.
The Standard is based on the classic ES335 shape, but with a trapeze tailpiece (as seen on early Gibson Les Pauls) and diamond-shaped soundholes. The guitar also differed to an ES335 in that it had a Gibson Firebird neck set into the body.
The Trini Lopez Custom is a much rarer instrument. It is based on an old jazz guitar designed in 1961 by Barney Kessel. The Custom has a double-cutaway body like that of an ES335, but with the cutaways much sharper and a larger body, giving a slightly unbalanced look.
The Lopez models were discontinued in 1971 and are collectible and highly prized today, although not particularly expensive at this point in time.
The Standard has been given a new lease of life in 2008 by Dave Grohl, singer and guitarist with the Foo Fighters.
His Gibson signature DG335 model is a modified Trini Lopez Standard finished in Gibsonâ€™s classic shade Pelham Blue. The Trini Lopez models are rare and pretty expensive, but Grohlâ€™s signature model is more affordable (and readily available).
The Gibson Moderne is one of Gibsonâ€™s most infamous instruments, and due to its limited production and the story surrounding it, it has acquired semi-mythical status.
It was first announced in 1958. The Moderne was slated to be part of a very modernistic three-guitar series including the Flying V and Explorer, now two of the most successful guitars ever made. So what happened to the Moderne?
In 1958 the three guitars were just too ahead of their time. They were dropped unceremoniously within a year.
The Flying V and Explorer were reissued in 1967 and 1976 respectively, and continue to have huge followings. In 1958-9, only 96 Vs and 22 Explorers were made, but there was simply no demand for the particularly bizarre Moderne- not a single one was made, or so most people think. Some collectors have been slavishly trying to track down a 1958 Moderne for decades, to no avail.
As far as anyone knows, no Moderne was made until the â€œreissued modelsâ€ of 1982. The only information collectors have to go on is the original patent drawing and a 1958 shipping record.
The Moderne was â€œreâ€- introduced in 1982. The 1980s models were not very successful either, with only 183 being made in the initial run.Â Other than the Korean-made Epiphone copies, Gibson has refused to manufacture the ModerneÂ again and there have been none made since the original â€œ2ndÂ seriesâ€ was phased out in around 1983.Â Â These can occasionally be found for sale, and are commanding high prices as they are still a rarity.
Also not very common is the little-known Ibanez Futura, a copy of the Moderne made in the 1970s and 80s.
Ronald Lynn Wood, a guitarist originally from Flint, MI became fascinated by the Moderne as a young man and set out to unravel the mystery of this elusive guitar. His new book,Â Moderne: The Holy Grail of Vintage Guitars, has just been released by Centerstream Publishing, and it is the most exhaustive and comprehensive accounting to date of the search, the history, and the rumors and facts surrounding the Moderne.
You can buy it here;
Gibson already had two very successful unorthodox looking guitars in 1982 – the much – emulated Flying V and Explorer, which are considered the benchmark for odd shaped guitars to this day. Â Which is why the unusual Corvus, launched in 1982 to little fanfare, so prompted the question â€œWhat were Gibson thinking?â€
No-one really seems to know the answer to this question, and even at the time one imagines several Gibson workers were probably mystified.
No guitar had ever attempted a shape like this before, and with hindsight it seems fairly safe to assume why. No-one was prepared for the sheer madness, or possibly ugliness of the design, which drew numerous comparisons to a tin opener, although this is presumably not the effect Gibson was aiming for!
The guitar, quite apart from the unusual shape, was a perfectly normal guitar with single-coil or humbucking pickups and tune-o-matic bridge, although a bolt-on neck, unusual for Gibson, who usually utilised set necks. Finishes included classic TV yellow, white, natural wood and a particularly vibrant orange. There were three models, the Corvus I, II and III (depending on the number of pickups).
The Corvus (Latin-speakers may know this is a Latin word meaning crow, which is maybe what Gibson were trying to emulate with this shockingly unconventional design) was a complete failure for the company and was withdrawn, having sold barely any units, in 1984.
However, the Corvus has gained a small cult following after its demise, so they arenâ€™t as reviled now as they were.
If you do find one, youâ€™d certainly be the only person on your street with one!
This year’s price guide; The bible of the vintage guitar collecting industry.
For collectors, dealers and players, this updated guide provides specifications, serial numbers, and more for determining the originality of vintage American acoustic and electric fretted instruments. Detailing thousands of models of major manufacturers, the book now includes expanded coverage of Martin, Guild, Mosrite, Dobro, Gibson banjos, Fender amps and Gibson amps, plus updates on the latest models from Fender, Gibson, Rickenbacker and others since 1990.
Another guitar identification and price guide. A nice companion book to the Vintage Guitar Magazine price guide.
The guitar industryâ€™s most comprehensive publication on electric guitar information and pricing has been dramatically improved! The new 11th Edition Blue Book of Electric Guitars is now over 1,150 pages, identifies over 1,200 guitar manufacturers, trademarks, and luthiers, and features hundreds of new images. Written by Zachary R. Fjestad and edited by S.P. Fjestad, the fully revised 11th Edition Blue Book of Electric Guitars keeps the reader up-to-date on new and vintage pricing, technical information on electric instruments, and serialization on most major trademarks. This edition lists the current and discontinued electric companies, contains a thoroughly revised Trademark Index with contact information, and features hundreds of black and white photos depicting popular makes and models.
Since the inception of the first “electrical” guitars in the 1920s, no other manufacturer has produced a greater variety of professional quality models than Gibson. This book presents a documented account of the instruments released during a highly creative period from the 1930s up to the mid-60s, which saw the coming of age of the electric guitar. It describes all the models that have made history and contributed to establishing the reputation of Gibson. This edition features over 500 illustrations, including 100 in color, and previously unpublished material.
Gibson Guitars: Ted McCarty’s Golden Era is a long overdue book that covers the world’s greatest period of guitar manufacturing. As CEO of Gibson Guitars from 1948 to 1966, Ted McCarty presided over the production of nearly one million instruments and amplifiers. 1950s Gibson Les Paul Standards, Flying Vs, Explorers, and ES-335s are considered to be some of the most valuable fretted instruments in the world. This book is Ted McCarty’s first and only complete biography, and a book that gives us a glimpse into a golden era of his factory and his loyal employees who made some of the world’s most desirable guitars. It features over 100 photographs, some from Ted’s personal archives and never before published. “Ted McCarty was the architect of a Golden period in Gibson’s history. During his 18-year tenure, he helped to reestablish the company’s historic leadership in the industry through a number of musical innovations that still resonate today.” Gibson Chairman and CEO Henry E. Juszkiewicz
Fenderâ€™s Katana was a flop, selling barely any units in its 1986 one-year, lifespan, even when a cheaper and more basic Squier brand version was launched. Another model was also launched to be made exclusively in Fenderâ€™s new Japanese factory, which also departed from Fenderâ€™s traditions- the Performer. This guitar resembled a Fender Stratocaster mixed with a BC Rich guitar, with a small, angular body and pointed horns.
The unusual body and headstock shapes have been rumored to have originated in the shape of the scrap wood leftover from making Japanese Stratocasters. The body is small with a deep double cutaway. The tuning machines are found on the upper edge of the triangular headstock. The fretboard is two octaves and features a locking nut and jumbo frets. The bridge is a floating System I tremolo. Both bass and guitar are built to the highest level of quality and detailing. For example, the controls have inset rubber grips, the tuning heads have fully enclosed gears and the jack sockets are an enclosed, not ‘skeleton’, type, in contrast to many other Fender products with more ‘economy’ hardware.
The Performer boasted two angled custom humbucking pickups with a coil-split function and a Floyd Rose-style locking tremolo. The guitar features a volume knob, a tone knob, a pickup selector switch (neck/both/bridge) and, most importantly, a coil tap switch which disables one coil of each humbucker, resulting in a guitar with two single-coil pickups. This is perhaps the guitar’s most famous and useful feature, as it can produce heavy, fat humbucker sounds as well as crisp, sharp, Strat-like tones.
Both were discontinued in 1986 and havenâ€™t been made since. These two guitars are a little-mentioned and underrated point in Fenderâ€™s history.
The Bond Electraglide was a very unusual, little-known guitar made in Scotland by Andrew Bond in 1984-5.
The guitar was highly odd, featuring a carbon-fibre body, very complex digital readouts instead of controls, and a neck which featured no frets, instead a â€œsteppedâ€ fingerboard, where the frets were replaced with saw-tooth shaped steps.Â
The player selected pickups via five pushbuttons; volume, treble and bass were incremented numerically via digital rocker switches, confirmed by a three-colour LEDÂ readout.
The guitar was launched at the 1984 NAMM show in America. Apart from the various gimmicks featured on the guitar, including the required use of an external power supply, it played normally and sounded normal, with three single-coil pickups and a normal body shape.
The Electraglide was a big shock to the traditional guitar buying public, and was very unsuccessful, (even though I have personally nearly bought one a couple of times).
It sold no more than 1000 units, and was all but forgotten by 1986.Â There were some notable users however;
British guitarist Mick Jones is known to have used a Bond Electraglide with his band Big Audio Dynamite in the mid 1980s. The Edge used his extensively on The Joshua Tree, including the solo on “One Tree Hill”, as well as on “Exit,” and “Mothers of the Disappeared”.
Will Sargeant from Echo and The Bunnymen was also an Electraglide user.
In 1985 Fender was under threat from rival brand Gibson, who offered a variety of very successful rock guitars (Flying V, Explorer etc.), and companies specialising in pointy-shaped metal guitars, such as Jackson and Dean with the successful Randy Rhoads model and the ML, respectively.
Fender were, at this time, one of the only major guitar brands without such a model in its range. Their attempt to muscle in on this profitable sector of the market led to two designs, the Performer and Katana you see here.
The Katana and Performer were exclusively built in Fenderâ€™s then – new Japanese plant, built in response to much cheaper and nearly as good Japanese copies of Fenderâ€™s models.
The Katana is vaguely Jackson Rhoads – shaped and was available as a Fender or a much cheaper and more basic Squier version. The Fender version had a set neck, two humbuckers and a locking tremolo, whereas the Squier has a bolted neck with only 21 frets, one humbucker and a standard trem. Squier versions are slightly less hard to find, but neither are common.
The Fender Katana was a commercial flop, and was only made from 1985 to 1986. All versions are very rare, and Fender versions are likely to be over Â£500 on the rare occurrence of one being put up for sale.
Squier versions are much less expensive, due to the less elaborate construction and less expensive hardware, but donâ€™t expect a search for either to be over quickly.
Fender have since stuck to making their standard iconic models, the Stratocaster and Telecaster among others.
The Fender Japan factory is still in use for making cheaper Fenders than the American and Mexican ranges.
You can read more about the superstrat in our history of Ibanez, who pioneered the genre with the RG, S and JEM models, but for now letâ€™s focus on a particular superstrat made by high-end manufacturer ESP for Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett.
There are several Hammett models in the ESP range, but this ultra-limited edition sits proudly at the top of the tree. ESP have only made 20 of these guitars, and all are sold.
The 20th Anniversary was made to mark 20 years of Hammett endorsing ESP guitars, and comes complete with several embellishments not found anywhere near his other guitars.
It has an alder body with a gorgeous flamed maple top, two EMG 81 humbuckers, an original Floyd Rose tremolo, a maple thru-neck and Kirkâ€™s signature fretboard inlays (quite literally in the case of the 12th fret: Kirkâ€™s signature has been replicated painstakingly in mother of pearl).
The KH-20 is, as previously mentioned, top of ESPâ€™s KH range, and because of the special features and 20-piece production run.
They can still be found, but the price is currently around $10,000. Â
Cheaper Hammett models exist, however, so if you are a Metallica fan who wants a slice of their metal pie, youâ€™re spoilt for choice.
Gretsch have made a huge selection of quality electric guitars since the mid-1950s (interestingly, Gretsch have been around since 1883 making other instruments, but started vying for domination in the electric market around 1954-5), of which the 6134 model, better-known as the White Penguin is among the rarest.
The 6136 (also known as the White Falcon or â€œthe Cadillac of guitarsâ€) is a well-known Gretsch guitar, a big-bodied semi-acoustic finished in gleaming white, with all manner of elaborate trimmings like an armrest on the bass side of the body, gold binding and a huge tone that saw it used by Brian Setzer, Billy Duffy of The Cult and Stephen Stills.
In 1955 Gretsch made a solid-bodied guitar with all the usual Falcon features. It was based on the body of Gretschâ€™s well-known solid-body Les Paul alternative, the Duo Jet. They named it the 6134 White Penguin.
Looking like a shrunk-in-the-wash White Falcon, a successful guitar, the Penguin should have sold well, but only around 100 were ever made before its demise in 1963, and tracking one down is like trying to find an exquisitely-made white-finished needle in a haystack.
Gretsch make a reissue model of the White Penguin, but trying to get enough money to buy one is possibly harder than finding an original. The Penguin is one of the rarest and most desirable solid-bodied guitars ever made, and with good reason.
Now the body has been sanded and polished out, I can begin the rebuild, using a selection of old and new parts.
First thing to go back on was the neck. When I got the guitar it only had 2 screws holding it in place, instead of the 4 it should have.I managed to find two more similar screws, and using the old neck plate I re-attached the neck. Â Although the edges of the lacquer around the frets is a little scabby, I sanded it lightly to take the rough edges off and left it alone. I want to retain some “patina” of age. Â I did give the frets a good clean though, and also treated the fingerboard with a healthy dose of lemon oil.
I also stuck in a new nut, using 2 part epoxy glue, guessing the position. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to break the glue joint to re-position the nut, and luckily I got it right first time..phew!
The original machine heads were reinstalled before the neck was re-attached, using a flat washer to replace the one missing one. I also tightened up the tensioning screws, and the work just fine, although the chrome is showing its age somewhat.
The one cock-up I made was in polishing the truss rod cover…I thought the lettering was indented, and in my enthusiasm polished it a little too vigurously, losing a little definition on the letter edging…oh well…
The bridge went back on next, then the pickups, with new screws and pickup rings. The wiring was fed through to the cavity, but left for now. I also fitted the new pickup selector switch, using the original brass lock nut, again, feeding the wiring through to the cavity.
The next post will be about my wiring adventures, but here’s a sneak preview of the insides…Thanks for reading!
This post concentrates on an ultra-limited edition series of models with a total production run limited to 100 units.
Dean Lost 100 Series
On behalf of several artists and owners, myself included, I will say that Deans are very good guitars.
If you check our histories section, youâ€™ll see that the company was started in 1977 by one Dean Zelinsky, who wanted to make great guitars for rock musicians (something he achieved, if the legions of celebrated Dean fans including ZZ Top, Dimebag Darrell of Pantera and shredder Michael Angelo Batio are anything to go by).
However, due to an error regarding serial number application, the guitars were labelled from 77 00101 onwards.
Thatâ€™s why the historic reissues youâ€™re reading about were created – to show what the guitars built by Dean were like in 1977.
The 99 guitars are based on the V, Z and ML body shapes (the only models made by Dean in 1977) with serial numbers from 1 to 100. Â All are signed by Zelinsky himself.
They are all exact reproductions of what the Dean of 1977 was really like, right down to the oft-altered shape and size of the headstock.
However, they were built from 2006-8 and nearly all (if not all) have been sold, and at Â£3660, they are pretty pricey.
But assuming they havenâ€™t all been sold and you have the cash, you could get an exact replica of a classic rock instrument, with all the features retained on modern Deans- the high-quality set-neck construction, long-lasting sustain from the mahogany body, and Deanâ€™s renowned pickups.
Even if you canâ€™t afford a Lost 100, there are whole ranges of less expensive Deans, like the 79 and Time Capsule Series.
This time I thought Iâ€™d go for a whole range of guitars, which were meant as budget instruments when they were first made in the mid-1950s.
1950s Danelectro Range
Originally meant as budget guitars and sold through the Sears catalogue under a variety of names, Nathan Danielâ€™s company, Danelectro, soon started marketing the guitars as Danelectros, not Silvertones and Airlines as they had before.
The guitars were a huge hit with beginners Â as they were very cheap and the various shapes available looked good, unusual for budget guitars of the time.
There were several different models, all very simple, fun to play and utilising the innovative Danelectro own-brand pickups, single-coils mounted inside lipstick tubes, so novice guitarists, or even experienced musicians on a tight budget, could choose a good-looking and playable guitar. However, the guitars were killed off in 1969, only to be reissued recently to rave reviews.
1950s-60s Danos are surprisingly rare now, and fetch upwards of Â£600 when found by collectors. They are highly prized because of their rarity, and are well-known for their unique tone, which is bright and resonant because of the chambered bodies and cheap materials (a mix of chipboard and plywood).
If you can find an original and have the money, theyâ€™re prized and playable vintage collectorâ€™s items. If not, the reissues are great, and all the models are only about Â£200.
Models include the 59 (as used by Jimmy Page), the 56 (a single-cutaway budget Les Paul-type guitar), the 63 (originally the Silvertone 1448 amp-in-case guitar sold by Sears in the USA) and the Dano Pro (an unusual, almost completely rectangular guitar).
Collect them all!
You can read a full biography of Nathan Daniels, written by his son, Howard by following this link
This guitar was used by Hank Marvin of the Shadows during the 60’s, along with his iconic Red Fender Stratocaster
Burns Marvin (1964-65)
The Burns is a whole lot rarer (and cheaper) than a sixties Les Paul – it isnâ€™t worth the tens of thousands one of those commands, but they only made 350 or so, so if you want one it’s possible to find the official Burns-made reissue model, and alos a 40th anniversary special edition.
The Marvin featured a whole host of innovative features, including a sculpted â€œscrollâ€ headstock, a knife-edge vibrato and tuning pipes in the body.
These are seriously rare guitars, and chances are youâ€™ll never find a â€œrealâ€ one. However, if an old one does come your way and you have the cash, then why notâ€¦
What guitars would make the basis of a dream guitar collection?Â
In these postsÂ we’ll look at theÂ rarest, most valuable, most collectableÂ or just drop-dead gorgeous guitars – starting with one of the most valuable types of guitar available.
Late 50’s to early 60’s Gibson Les Paul
These are seriously valuable guitars, especially all original models. New Les Pauls cost anywhere from Â£1500-Â£2500 depending on model, specifications etc. Any decently presented original model from the fifties will probably fetch up to ten times more, possibly higher depending on condition.
Although the guitar was a slow burner when it was released, in the late 1960s interest picked up – quite a lot – so much so that some Les Pauls, particularly from around 1958-60, are worth properly huge amounts of money, and theyâ€™re hardly ugly, are they?
The original classic solid-body guitar, all thanks to the genius of Les Paul (the man).
A bit off topic, but I thought I would add my thoughts to Joe Satriani’s accusations of plagiarism over his track “If I Could Fly” and the Coldplay track “Viva La Vida”.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Rock guitarist Joe Satriani has sued Coldplay, accusing the Grammy-nominated stars of plagiarizing one of his songs.
Satriani’s copyright infringement suit, filed on Thursday in Los Angeles federal court, claims the Coldplay song “Viva La Vida” incorporates “substantial original portions” of his 2004 instrumental “If I Could Fly.”
The 52-year-old guitar virtuoso is seeking a jury trial, damages and “any and all profits” attributable to the alleged copyright infringement.
Although there is a strong similarity in one section of the song, I don’t believe a court will agree.
Any Musicologist worth his salt will be able to find many examples of the same passage, going back hundreds of years.
I beieve there was a similar case a few years ago, between Cat Stevens and the Pet Shop Boys regarding the song, It’s a Sin, Â which never progressed for the same reasons… An expert found many examples from classical music of the same phrase, proving that Cat Stevens wasn’t original in the first place. Read Wikipedia about it here. I believe this will be a similar outcome, if it ever reaches court.
I reckon Joe is misguided in bringing this case…some nice publicity though..*wink*
Sorry, the video has been removed from Youtube for copyright reasons..
As I said in part 3, I have decided on a Volvo car colour for the body, a dark blueish grey metallic colour from an aerosol can. Â ( I can’t remember the colour name!) I bought grey primer, 2 cans of blue and 2 cans of clear lacquer from my local Halford car parts shop as well as some 600 grit and 1500 grit wet and dry paper.
The body was filled, sanded, filled, primed and sanded as described in the last post, until I had an even base of grey primer. I didn’t get the body immaculate…there are still a few small dings, mainly on the edges, but it’s a whole lot better than it was, and perfection wasn’t what I was aiming for…just a decent looking usable guitar bought back from the dead!
Finally, I started laying down the base colour. I hung the body on my washing line in the garden and heated the cans of paint in hot water until they were warm. This raises the pressure in the can, allowing the paint to flow faster anD to cover more evenly. ( A trick I learned from my model car building buddies).
I laid down a couple of light “mist” coats to begin with, until the whole body had an even covering of the metallic blue, then built up layer by layer, allowing the paint time to dry in the warm (indoors) for a few hours between each coat. This allows the paint to “gas out” which lets the solvents used to propel the paint from the can evaporate between coats, which in turn helps the whole drying and paint hardening process.
I gradually built up the paint layers, getting a wetter, heavier coat on each time, but also making sure i didn’t get any runs in the paint. Eventually I had used two full cans of blue on the body, and I had a pretty even, semi-gloss finish.
As the paint is metallic it needs a clear lacquer coat to bring out the shine, so after a day or two of drying in my warm office, I repeated the whole process with the clear coats. After the first can I did give the whole body a light sanding with 600 grit wet and dry to flat the surface back, taking out the worst of the unevenness from the finish. This can be a scary process, as the paint goes totally matt again, but if you are careful enough not to go through to the colour coats, it will add to the smoothness of the final paint job.
Â After the two full cans of clear had been used up, I left the body to dry and gas out for a few days while I started gathering the new parts needed. The next part will be about the new bits, but to finish up the body, after the drying process I polished the clear layers with my special polishing kit…again, another model car item.
A polishing kit is a series of small pieces of glass paper, going from 1500 grit right up to 12,000 grit. (which feels like velvet). The process is to sand the body (with water) removing any high spots in the cleat coat. This again will make the paint look matt, but will leave a very smooth finish. After the initial sanding with the 1500 grit, you move to the next finer paper (1800), and repeat the sanding process (always wet, dipping the glass paper in water and using the supplied rubber sanding block to wrap the paper around).
This process polishes the clear coat with finer and finer grades, making the finish super smooth and bringing back the shine. You work through the grades, 2400, 3200, 4000, 6000, 8000 and 12,000 until the final grade doesn’t appear to be doing anything at all. After drying the body and giving it a going over Â with guitar polish the results can be pretty spectacular…A glassy shiny smooth paint finish, which should be just as hard wearing as the original.
As previously mentioned, the finish isn’t perfect, but I’m pretty happy with the results.
The paint cost me about Â£15, and I already had the other supplies so I’m ready to begin rebuilding in the next post.
Thanks for reading!
Has a wealth of great guitar information. Over 600 pages of guitar history, playing styles, pictures, and some information on rarely seen makes and models of guitars from all eras. As the Amazon reviews quite rightly say:
This book is a real bargain…not only is it excellent value at (rrp Â£20 – cheaper bought on Amazon), it is also full of fascinating and useful information. Chapters are;
Sound and Construction
Essential ingredients that determine the sonic characteristics and playing feel of the world’s most popular guitars.
Amps and effects
A look under the hood of the gear that shapes your sound.
A guide to care, cleaning, set-up, repair and minor customisation of your guitar.
Take a taste of the ten most popular guitar styles – to find new inspiration for your own playing, or an entirely new direction.
- Rock and Pop
A unique illustrated directory with all the inside info on the great electric guitars and the stories of their development for 130 leading brands.
A detailed, comprehensive and fully illustrated guide to the language of guitar.
If you have an interest in guitars then there will be plenty in this book to entertain you. The maintenance section is particularly useful – with everything you need to start maintaining your own guitar rather than paying someone else to do it! I actually discovered that I had been stringing my guitar incorrectly for the last 10 years – I would tie up the slack straight onto the tuning head, which it describes as bad practice. That is just one example of many tips and tricks the section includes. It goes into real depth, covering many different types of guitar and setup.
The Play Guitar section is excellent too, covering a wide variety of styles and including useful and concise information to get you started playing in a new style, or rounding off your existing abilities.
The sound and construction, amps and effects and guitar manufacturers are for those who want to know more than just how to play. To me, all of the information there is very interesting and is well laid out and described – generally in chronological order.
Having said that, not everyone is interested in the detail. If you’re not then this book should still be of use (and great value!) as the first two sections discussed above really make this book great value for money. The informative sections are a bonus for those interested.
Whether a newbie or an experienced, knowledgeable, player I think there will be something in here for you. I would recommend this book to any guitar player as a great reference and really interesting read.
My own copy of this book gets referred to on an almost daily basis, it’s well worth the low price!
I stripped the guitar down into its remaining component parts, as mentioned in the second part of this article.
Most of the damaged parts were then assesed and either thrown out (like the pick up rings) or attempts were made to salvage them.
The bridge was very grungy and rusty…the saddles were stuck tight, needing my cutting wheel to get two of them off and all the screws were chewed up and useless. The only answer was to replace the set. Â I got some Graphtech “string saver ferra glides” which have a graphite insert to ease the possibility of string breakage, but were pretty costly at Â£19.95. I cleaned up the baseplate and tremelo block and re-assembled the whole thing.
The body was stripped of all parts and sanded with coarse sandpaper to remove the top coat of clear lacquer and give a good base for the wood filler I needed to use to fill the dents and gouges. I used some basic white plastic wood filler I found in my local hardware shop…The colour didn’t matter as it was being painted anyway. It was then a case of tediously filling, sanding, checking, re-filling, sanding, etc until all the big problem areas were smooth. Fingertips is the best tool for this job…your sense of touch is more reliable than sight when it comes to imperfections of this nature.
Here’s the body hanging on my washing line with the first “ghost” coat of primer, which gives a final indication of any rough areas before the remainder of the primer and top coat get applied.
Next post I’ll deal with painting the top coat and the hunt for spares…
Thanks for reading, please feel free to comment on my efforts…literary and practical!
Just been reading about the updated version of Phil Taylor’s book about David Gilmour’s iconic black Stratocaster…
“The Black Strat” is the first and only accurate and knowledgeable account of David Gilmour’s favourite Stratocaster guitar. Written by Phil Taylor – David’s personal guitar technician since 1974 – to coincide with the release of the long awaited and much requested Fender ‘David Gilmour Signature Strat’: an instrument replicating the look, set-up, sound and feel of David’s famous guitar as it is today. The chronological story begins with David Gilmour joining Pink Floyd early in 1968, his guitar at that time, his subsequent instruments leading to the purchase of the Black Strat in 1970, and the other guitars that have come and gone. This book details all of the changes and modifications made to the Black Strat, its use on Pink Floyd tours and iconic albums, David’s solo projects, and various guest appearances throughout the years.Â
About the Author
Phil Taylor (London) has been working for Pink Floyd continuously since he was 22 years of age. In 1974 he was employed by Pink Floyd to take care of the band’s personal equipment used on stage and in the studio. He has worked on every Pink Floyd and David Gilmour project for over three decades.
This book is a great gift or alternative for those of us who can’t afford the two and a half grand for the new Fender Â signature replica!
Take a closer look at the book in the link..
The guitar arrived safely, although frankly if it had been kicked to my house from 200 miles away the damage wouldn’t have been much worse! I unpacked it and before any stripping down, I took a few photos and got a basic overview of what needs doing. It’s a pretty extensive list…the issues are as follows;
- Pickup selector switch brokenÂ
- Mini Toggle switch broken
- Nut missing
- Both pickup rings broken, and mounting screws all chewed up and rusty
- Missing machine head ferrule
- Bridge saddles rusted, all screws in nasty conditon
- Jack socket missing
- Tremelo cover missing
- Tremelo arm missing
- Some frets in poor condition
- 2 neck screws missing, others damaged
- wiring looks very shoddy..no idea if the pickups work
- Body has gouges and scrapes, paintwork in very bad condition
IÂ have also toyed with the idea of metal pickup covers, but it seems pointless buying parts until I know if they work or not. I may need two new humbuckers.
Many years ago I built a guitar from scratch, making my own body and using a Stratocaster copy neck.
It played ok, and was “of its time” but after that initial flurry of sawdust and bad wiring I didn’t really dabble in guitars apart from changing the odd pickup and general maintenance.
Over the years however, I have been a prolific builder of model cars, which has given me the ability to paint and modify stuff, and also a quite enviable collection of small tools and useful bits and pieces.
Just recently I have fallen in love with guitars again. I have never stopped playing (guitar and bass), but my son has become an avid and proficient player and enthusiast, which has re-awakened my interest in guitars and collecting.
So one day while surfing around Ebay I found a knackered old Westone Thunder 1T guitar being sold as a project. It was in very poor condition, with many missing bits.
As the buyer says in his own words..
“This guitar needs a total overhaul…It was working 10 years. There areÂ missing screws, nut, jack socket, 2 tuner ferrules and 2 broken switches. It is covered in scatches and dings. The neck looks straight (see photo). I do not know if the electrics work but they did, this was my sons first guitar, and was soon upgraded.”
I won the auction for Â£46 plus Â£15 postage and the guitar was with me within 4 days.
Next post I’ll tell you all about the work ahead in detail, and my ideas for the rebuild.
Thanks for reading!
I guess 2 guitars doesn’t add up to a collection, but maybe 5 does, even if it a small one!
Everyone who plays guitar has their own reasons for doing so..not all players are into their gear, whereas others (like me) take great pleasure from tinkering with instruments, modifying, refurbishing and rooting out new (old) guitars.
Eventually most players begin to see reasons to acquire extra guitars. Maybe an electric player realises they need an acoustic too, or an acoustic player decides to try out a resonator, or you decide to do some home recording and buy a bass to record with. At this rate, you end up guitar collection whether you intended to or not.
There are many types of collector; the high end big money types down to the young kids upgrading and swapping instruments between mates.
We intend to cover all areas of guitar collecting with this blog, so please bookmark us and visit often!
We’ll be talking about guitar collecting, different guitar models, beginners guitars, expensive guitars, where to find collectable guitars, advising on maintenance, pointing you towards some interesting guitars, online lessons, collating guitar information, guitar news, events, guitarists and interesting albums and gigs and just about anything else we can think of.
Bear with us while we get ourselves in gear and work out all this wordpress malarky…