Yamaha SG45, made in Japan in 1973. This particular "natural relic" is currently being auctioned on eBay in the UK with a low starting price. It'll be interesting to see what it fetches.
The body is solid mahogany and it has a set neck with rosewood fingerboard. It's quite obviously a Les Paul inspired design, but the body shape has been softened with a much smoother lower cutaway. Note also the bizarre back cover plate stretching all the way from the volume and tone controls on the lower bout to the pickup selector on the bass side of the neck. It makes you wonder why they didn't use separate covers for each area, but thinking about it, I'd wager that the routing for the wiring between these areas is directly beneath the plate rather than inside the body. After all, on most Les Pauls the wiring channel would be beneath the maple top of the guitar, but the Yamaha doesn't have a separate top, just a mahogany slab body. This would be a cheaper, more efficient construction method, even if it does lack elegance.
One other minor detail, I notice that the pickup selector moves from side to side rather than up and down as on a Les Paul. This is much more logical. I play a LP style guitar (actually a cheapy Vintage brand V100) and I'm always accidentally knocking the selector switch and changing pickups when I don't want to. I don't really like selector switches in this position, I'd rather they were well out of the way, but if you've got to have one here then side to side operation makes perfect sense. I had been considering turning the selector in my LP-alike through 90 degrees to get the same effect.
Anyway... I'm so glad to have found out what this guitar was. Back in the tail-end of the 1970s I saw a punk band called Case whose guitarist had one of these and I have often wondered what it was.
G L Wilson
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