Sunday, 17 June 2012

Orpheum hollow body


I have very little to tell about this Orpheum hollow body guitar, but that since it's labelled 'made in USA', it might have been made by Kay or Harmony - these two companies have made Orpheum branded guitars before their construction switched to Europe in the 1960s (Wandré then Egmond).

Later on it went to Japan but it was used for GuyatoneFujiGen or Teisco made solid bodies. 

Bertram D

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10 comments:

  1. According to this link: http://www.rickresource.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=402939 it was made by a company called United Code, probably some time in the 1950s. The things you learn...

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  2. It's a Premier guitar, relabeled for Orpheum.

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  3. Why is the bridge totally straight? doesn't look like it's intonated properly at all... :/

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  4. I'm sorry, not the bridge, i meant the Saddle.

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  5. Actually upon closer inspection, I can kind of see the original footprint. It was at one time setup properly, but i'm guessing that's a floating bridge, and whoever restrung it last didn't know what they were doing.

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  6. Good guess at yet another nice old mystery guitar! The pick-ups look like dog-eared P-90's.

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  7. if it's made in US it should be from the 1950s but to me the design doesn't fit - and the plastic pickup covers feel like Egmond - I'm suspicious about the made in US label...

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  8. Not too much info on United Code (pronounced Ko-Day), other than the fact that they were at one time owned by Frank Forcillo and operated out of Elizabeth New Jersey, and began in the Late 40's. There was a connection between Guild and United, also D'Angelico and United throughout the 1950's. There were apparently quite a few Italian Immigrant Luthiers around New York at the time.When John D'Angelico finally caved into pressure to make "electric" guitars he chose not to make the bodies, but rather purchased laminate-top bodies from Forcillo's United company. John would then make the neck and complete the guitars which were then sold at his workshop/Studio
    The pickups here were made by Franz, out of Elizabeth New Jersey and are seen on quite a few Guild's from the period as well as a few D'Angelicos, Premiere's and some Vega's, they have a very unique sound
    Bo Diddley is playing one on his First (and only) appearance on Ed Sullivan (available on Youtube)
    You can usually tell a United Code Guitar by the rubber ink stamp in the bottom sound hole,
    The top number starts with a "G" and denotes the model. The bottom number is usually a two digit number for the year.
    According to some, Guild used Craftsmen from United Code to finish some of their Guitars.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Not too much info on United Code (pronounced Ko-Day), other than the fact that they were at one time owned by Frank Forcillo and operated out of Elizabeth New Jersey, and began in the Late 40's. There was a connection between Guild and United, also D'Angelico and United throughout the 1950's. There were apparently quite a few Italian Immigrant Luthiers around New York at the time.When John D'Angelico finally caved into pressure to make "electric" guitars he chose not to make the bodies, but rather purchased laminate-top bodies from Forcillo's United company. John would then make the neck and complete the guitars which were then sold at his workshop/Studio
    The pickups here were made by Franz, out of Elizabeth New Jersey and are seen on quite a few Guild's from the period as well as a few D'Angelicos, Premiere's and some Vega's, they have a very unique sound
    Bo Diddley is playing one on his First (and only) appearance on Ed Sullivan (available on Youtube)
    You can usually tell a United Code Guitar by the rubber ink stamp in the bottom sound hole,
    The top number starts with a "G" and denotes the model. The bottom number is usually a two digit number for the year.
    According to some, Guild used Craftsmen from United Code to finish some of their Guitars.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Not a whole heck of a lot is known about United, or United Code (pronounced ko-day) other than at one time they were owned by Frank Forcillo and operated out of Elizabeth New Jersey beginning in the late 1940's. There was a connection between Guild and United and even D'Angelico and United that went on for quite a while, someHistorians say that Guild had United finish some of their first Guitars.. United Code was very much a US Company, Frank Forcillo worked with D'Angelico in Little Italy and applied for a stringed instrument patent in 1948 in the US Patent Office.
    When John D'Angelico finally gave in and began producing Electric Guitars, He asked his Friend Forcillo and United Code, to make laminate body's and finish them after He supplied the necks.
    These pickups, while looking like P90's are actually Franz, which was a company also in Elizabeth New Jersey at that same time period . Franz pickups can also be seen on early Guild and D'Angelico Guitars as well as Premiere, Vega, Orpheum and a few others. They are also sometimes seen with metal covers, but mostly with black or white covers resembling P90's. There s a healthy "Cult" following for these pickups
    The theory is that there was a lot of give and take at the time, and that most of the Luthier's, especially Italian Luthier's knew each other and helped each other, maybe the "United" name, owned by Forcillo, was a Sub Contactor of sorts.
    You can usually tell a United Code Guitar by two ink numbers stamped in the Body in the lower sound hole on the inside of the back. The top number starts with a G and denotes the model. The bottom number is usually a two number year

    Bo Diddley was playing a United Code Guitar with Franz pickups on his first and only appearance on Ed Sullivan (now on YouTube), very much like this one here

    ReplyDelete

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