Tuesday, 27 November 2012

1960s Selmer Freshman


Now this is a Guitarz guitar if ever there was.

After doing a bit of research, I found out this is 1964(ish) Japanese built, Selmer imported, Freshman. Despite what the seller says (and previous owners' "doing up"), it seems pretty much original including the bridge. Not surprisingly, this was a budget guitar among budget guitars in it's day, selling for the princely sum of £15.

It does have it's charm, two tone scratchplate and wood covered pickups being especially groovy. I don't image it plays well all that well but I'm sure it could be induced to cough up some sweet chunky funk in the hands of someone like Jamie Hince.

It's attracted some attention already and, as it's quite a pretty and desirable collectors piece, I think there'll be a bit of a scramble at the end, which is just 13 hours away, as I write.
Here's what the seller says:
This is an old late 1950's or early 1960's solid electric guitar.
I would say a collectors item, not for playing.
It is marked FRESHMAN and also Foreign.
When purchased at the car boot the previous owner said he had "Done it up".
He had given up when he had tried to modify the rhythm solo switch to a pick up selector and got in a mess.
He says both pick ups work but it needs sorting out.
I have tried it on a little amp and the only thing that works is one volume control.
The other volume, tone and solo/rhythm switch do nothing to the sound at all.
The paintwork is all original as are all the other parts except the bridge looks odd to me for an electric guitar.
A rough little guitar needing a lot of cleaning and sorting out. All beyond me.
By the way, I found this scan of a Selmer catalogue, thanks to Laszlo ℅ the indispensable Vintage Hofner web site.

David in Barcelona

  © 2012, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - 10 years and counting!


  1. Is that a neck-through-body design? It looks like it has no heel at all.

  2. How strange that they should use "Freshman" and "Sophoamore" as model names in the UK - those terms are almost unheard of here (in the USA they refer to new and seasoned university students respectively). And back in the early 1960s few British teenagers had any hope of going to university anyway - most finished school to go to work at the age of 16.

  3. In the Ebay listing, there is a picture of the back showing that this guitar has a fixed neck with a small but fairly standard heel. This one went for £98 in the end. A pretty good price for such an oddball guitar. My Google searches came up just two other examples, one from a 2011 Ebay listing with a £329 asking price and then relisted later at £269 and then again at £199 with one bid.

    David in Barcelona

  4. I had one of these for my 14th birthday in 1964.
    My mum took me into Jack Brentnalls next to the Theatre Royal in Nottingham where for my £15 budget I could have either a new Freshman or a 2nd hand Hofner Club.
    The salesman advised the Hofner but as a "know it all" 14 year old I chose the Freshman.
    I estimate it set me back about a year in my progress towards learning to play such was the poor quality of the neck.
    The bridge shown in the picture is original. It struck me as odd even as a novice guitarist.
    Happy memories for me as my first guitar but the youngsters today are soo lucky with the choice, value and quality of guitars for beginners.
    If I'd had a Fender when I was 14 I could have ruled the world, well maybe not.

  5. Still got mine up in the attic along with my other early axes. my first solid. Still plays fine

  6. Hi I have a 1960s Selmer freshman foreign electric guitar anybody any idea how much is worth I think they were made in Japan



Related Posts with Thumbnails