Monday, 4 October 2010

Back to the future - Old Alloy Electric Guitar 1965 Vintage Unique 1 Off

Now, this is an unexpected find. The seller claims it's from 1965 but from the overall look, the pickup and the headstock it looks like it's from the 80s/90s. So as the seller says, It's waaaaaay ahead of it time. I'm simply going to copy and paste the sellers description in full as he's done such a good job and to be honest, there isn't a whole lot more I could add. Except to say that if this is from the sixties, it's a pity it didn't go into production.
Here we go...

...Well, where do I start in describing this incredibly unique electric guitar. I can not think of any other that comes near the unusual build or sheer sexiness of this instrument. It was clearly way ahead of it's time. I have nicknamed her `The Bat'Leth" because the body has a striking similarity to the Klingon battle weapon in Star trek.

I was left this guitar by an old neighbour of mine in his will, where I used to live in Bristol. I had always admired it whenever round his house and had asked many times if it was for sale but he always said no.

His name was Brian Laney. He worked for the R&D department of an English guitar company but I have been racking my brain for several days and have never been able to remember the name of it. Though I believe they were Bristol based. I have no idea if they even still exist. The guitar was handed to him on his retirement.

The guitar was a prototype built by Brian circa 1965 in order to assess the musical qualities of different materials. Needless to say it is a One Off. Completely unique. It is left handed, though I remember being told that it can easily be converted by unbolting everything and swapping everything over the other way round.

From what I remember being told, the body and neck were made from an aircraft quality alloy, the head being wood. It has a Spruce-Ply Back, stained blue, which is attached to the body by bolts. There is a gap of about 5mm between the back & the front which I have tried to show in one of the pictures. The whole guitar is only about an inch thick.

The main alloy body is about 10mm thick and was cut, shaped and finished entirely by hand. The bottom front point is removable, I assume to suit your mood (see Picture 5). Brian had a sense of humour.

At the rear, the neck is attached to the body by another alloy plate, thus making an extremely rigid structure. Indeed, this guitar will sustain for Britain. The wood back serves no structural purpose whatsoever.

It seems there used to be a cover of some sought on the back of the neck. The neck itself was `hand carved` and shaped from alloy. The head is wood with what seems like a clear plastic backing and chromed tuners. I don't know if these are original or not.

The nut appears to be graphite. The pickup is a humbucker but I have no idea of the name or model of it. There is the facility to fit 2 single coil pickups but I don't think this has ever been done.

Amazingly, the guitar only weighs 9 lbs, the same as a Gibson Les Paul, though I am sure a pound or two could be saved by changing the bolts to alloys.

I have plugged it in on many occasions and she can certainly sing, though my rendition of `Smoke On The Water` hardly gives her justice. I'm only a poor drummer, so no talent then?

It comes with it's own custom cable as the body is fitted with a `canon` connector. A normal 1/4" mono jack is at the other end.

The guitar is fitted with strings but their age is unknown. I have cleaned her a little bit, though not to much as I don't want to destroy the Patina of the past 45 years.

The volume pot could either do with a clean or replacing (cheap to buy), as it's a bit crackly when turning, though she happily pumps out the decibels.

One word of warnng. If you intend to emulate Pete Townsend, beware that you will probably destroy the stage, not the guitar as she is incredible strong.

I have no idea as to value, so have started the bidding at 99p and see where it goes from there...

Well, there you have it. Not wanting to be a doubting Thomas (more like a disbelieving Betty), the pickup looks like an 80s (Dimarzio or similar) and the shape is so 80s/90s - I know the Gibson Explorer is from the fifties so this could well be the real deal. It's just so hard to imagine this being played by The Beatles, The Moody blues, Roger Miller, Sonny and Cher, Cliff Richard, Ken Dodd, The Seekers or pretty much any band in 1965. I'm pretty sure the machine heads are later than 65 but they could have simply been replaced.
I have to say I do love it. I love the blue coloured plywood, the industrial rivets and the raw metalness of it. I'm tracking it on eBay and if it stays close enough to my budget, I will be bidding for it. If I get it we'll be able to see close up and hopefully learn some more about it.

David in Barcelona

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

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