We've had a few vintage Mel-O-Bars recently but this one is 1980s, unused with just a couple of small scratches on the neck and a liberal coating of shop dust. That's like fairy dust but more expensive. The sellers say it's been on display in their shop since the 1980s. The body is foam padded "for comfort" and, it's covered in Naugahyde!!!!!!! Sorry, more exclamation marks and bold type, I just can't help it.
It was Tom Waits who introduced me to the subtle, sticky and seductive texture, the clammy and clinging faux leatherette-ishness and the sweet, heady vinylious aroma of Naugahyde and I've been a sucker for it ever since.
I checked out Naugahyde on Google and they are still in business! www.naugahyde.com
"There is only one Naugahyde and it's proudly made in the USA." Well, for that I'm glad! They do have a somewhat skewed take on eco friendly though, which is kind of fuzzed over with their story that Naugahyde comes from the sloughed skin of naugas - "No naugas were harmed in the production of this material". But as Naugahyde is actually made of PVC, the welfare of cute little fictional critters is the least of our worries. Slight digression... Guitar making is, in the mainstream at least, an industrial process and, even apart from the timbers that are used to build guitars, there are glues, paints, varnishes, plastics and heavy metals (yeah! I'm talking to you Ozzy) used in their manufacture so... Where art thou, eco-guitar?
It also has another interesting though somehow less, well, tactile feature (if you get my drift) which I've never seen before. Along the edge of the neck is a guide bar to help position the slide. I guess you would feel the notches with your finger tips as you play. I tried searching for more info on this but with no luck so far. It may well be an innovation unique to Melobars.
I'm pleased to say, that as it's clearly not everyones cup of tea, I had little opposition in the usual bidding frenzy over there at eBay Towers and it will be winging its way to sunny Barcelona (into the loving arms of the Spanish customs department so they can determine how much to fleece me for this time) very shortly. I stayed up till 4.30 in the morning to bid for this, by the way.
David in Barcelona
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