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Charvel Spectrum Epidemic!




icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481I thought you may be interested to see this.

A high end guitar collecting friend of mine has a guilty pleasure. Collecting Charvel Spectrums!

His addiction has been satisfied for the time being, with the arrival of a black model from Australia, although he is making noises about the lack of maple necked models.

He has also persuaded a few collecting friends of his to indulge too, and between them the Spectrum collection is now in double figures.

So what's all the fuss about?

The reason is, these are great guitars... versatile, with an extra tone eq pot and great for gigging with.

They have an 80's vibe about them (don't get too near that pointy headstock!), and the quality of the construction is undeniable.

Seven Charvel Spectrum Guitars

The sparkle finish model (top left) is a special order, but the rest are all original.

These are still pretty cheap guitars, in the £300-500 price range, but prices are steadily climbing, probably due to my mates hoovering them up at a rate of knots!

If this style of guitar is of interest to you I'd start looking soon. As always, I'd recommend going for originality and  good condition to help safeguard future values, but I'd be quick, because as soon as funds allow I'll be out there looking for an orange one too!

In the meantime, here's a little bit more information about Charvel Spectrums.

Collectable Guitars pt 33 – Ibanez Musician

Ibanez Musician MC-550WNThe Ibanez Musician was born out of the Japanese copy boom of the 1970s, which also helped spawn the Ibanez Destroyer and Iceman.

After Ibanez were sued for copying Gibson designs they branched out into original designs. Their first original models were the aforementioned two guitars, as well as the Performer, a Les Paul-type with a small curve cut into the bass side of the neck joint.This design has been more famously used by another Japanese company, Aria, on the iconic PE series.

Around 1978 the Performer was followed by the new Studio and Musician series.

The Musician was a more conservative piece of design than the wild stylings of the Iceman and the “Explorer-on-steroids” look utilised on the Destroyer.

It had a body shape halfway between a Stratocaster and a Les Paul, the same overall shape as a double cutaway PRS, although of course those guitars came about five years later. The most basic model was the MC100, with a bolt-on neck, although all the others, up to the custom order MC550WN model (of which only 465 were made), were neck-through.

The Studio series is less well-known, and less upscale than the Musicians. The Studio series all had set necks, although this was the only main difference to the Musician.

This new series of guitars were known for their excellent sustaining properties, although this did lead to extra unwanted weight. The woods used were usually walnut and maple (for the through-neck), plus ash or walnut “wings” which formed the actual body.

Pickups were Ibanez Super 88 humbuckers, and the high-end MC500 had an onboard three-band EQ activated by a toggle switch. This gave the player free rein to create a properly unique sound, for when the other two toggle switches activating phase reversal and coil splitting of the pickups just weren’t enough.

The MC500 had controls for the passive pickup mode, and three more knobs for when the EQ switch was on. The passive controls were a master volume, master tone, three-way pickup selector and the coil split and phase reversal switches. When the third toggle switch was activated the active controls (a different knob type to avoid confusion between the passive and active controls) controlled Bass boost, Midrange boost and Treble boost. The control layout for the Musician MC500, while vast, was quite simple and easy to use.

The EQ allowed for a vast spectrum of sounds, and the beautiful woods, through-neck, carved top and huge sustain made the MC500 one of the more desirable guitars of the late 1970s. There are also many good reviews of the other guitars in the series, and the models have a cult following among players.

The guitars aren’t too rare, but can be fairly hard to find sometimes. A recent search on eBay uprooted a few guitars, mostly in America.

An MC500 is going for just under £1100, while another MC200 looks to be going for significantly less.

Every review I have read of these guitars praises them, particularly the MC500, and they are worth quite a lot now.

Below is a picture of a beautiful MC500 (albeit with no strings attached), and I will attempt to explain the control layout.

musician Controls

Collectable Guitars pt 28 – Daion Guitars

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Now here’s one you might not have heard of.

Daion were an old Japanese company operating from the famed Matsumoku factory for a short period in the early 1980s. The Daions were very high quality, and full of innovative features.

They had a range of electrics, basses and acoustics which were often very different to the usual guitars available from the bigger companies.

Daion GuitarsOne of the better known (and I use that term loosely) Daion models was the semi-solid ES-335-alike 555 Headhunter, which featured an innovative third cutaway on the bottom of the body.

The central solid block was a sandwich of maple and spruce, with ten grooves cut into each end for increased resonance. It also included a coil split function for each pickup and through-body stringing, a first for semi-hollow guitars.

The company also made two lines of solid-body twin cutaway guitars. The Savage utilised a bolt-on neck and two humbuckers, or three in the case of the Barbarian from the same line.

There was also a bass, similar in looks to a Gibson Ripper. The other run was the through-neck Power series.

This had the SG-alike Power Mk.X and the Mk.XX, which looked similar to a Westone or Ibanez Musician. These also had two humbuckers.

Daion also made acoustic guitars, some, in the Caribou and Gazelle series, with a similar bottom cutaway to the 555 Headhunter. There were even 12 string models.

Daion Power Solid Body Guitars

The Caribou and Gazelle were Daion’s response to the upcoming amplified acoustics market, while the Legacy and Year series were standard high quality acoustics.

Daion, for whatever reason, was a shortlived brand which never really took off.

Very few people have ever even heard of this underrated company, which is why, in the rare event of a Daion of any type coming up for sale, it never generates as much interest as it probably should.

Daions sell infrequently, so prices are unclear. I found a Daion Acoustic which sold for $850 a couple of years back, but Ebay searches didn’t bring up any guitars at all. I would guess the 555 semis would be worth between £500-1000 and  if the trickle of enthusiastic players is to be believed they are worth every penny of whatever figure they sell for.

Collectable Guitars pt 17 – The Ibanez Destroyer


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Ibanez Destroyer was born, like its’ sister guitar, the fairly similar Ibanez Iceman, out of Ibanez’s infamous 1970s battle with Gibson over Ibanez’s blatant copies of the Les Paul and SG Junior.

Ibanez Destroyer guitarIbanez 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 £500, and a DT200 for around £300. The new model, with DiMarzio D-Activator pickup, will probably be around the same as a similarly specified new Iceman, around £500 or so.