Monday, 18 February 2013

SG-type guitar from Argentina

I wonder if vintage South American-made guitars could be the new collectables in the same way that "Behind the Iron Curtain" soviet-era guitars from Russia and Eastern Europe are becoming quite sought after in certain quarters. Here we see a vintage Argentinian-made guitar that has been quite clearly modelled after the Gibson SG. Note that, as on certain other SG-derived copies, the body shape here is symmetrical, but of course on a "proper" SG the body horns are slightly offset with a bias towards the bass-side. I think the eBay seller hits the nail on the head with the following observations:
Did you know Argentina produced lots of superb electric stringed instruments in the 60's? Honestly, we didn't. Argentina suffered in the end of the 20th century a string of political and economic problems before recently recovering, but it was until the 70's one of the world's most advanced nations, with a cultural creativity that had nothing to envy to Europe. Given its geographic isolation, the country could develop a guitar industry all of its own.

These are the most European guitars ever made outside of Europe. They look like coming from a parallel but similar universe. Besides economy models there are highly elaborate artefacts, extremely well made in every detail. Some of them have shellfish-shaped peg buttons that are among the coolest things ever seen on an electric instrument. Who wouldn't want a guitar like that to grace his collection?
Currently listed on EBay in Italy with a possibly unfortunately optimistic Buy It Now price of €850.

G L Wilson

© 2013, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!


  1. Hi, im from argentina.
    Most of the old guitars made in my country arent very good instruments. I assume this one has some modifications, and it isnt 100% original.

    The most known brands of guitars on that time were Kuc and Faim. With a google search for "Kuc guitarras" you will another models made in that time. Some nice, some kinda ugly, but all very vintage.

    Luckly, things are looking for the argentinian made guitars. At least for the handmade guitars by luthiers. I recommend you to look at the works of a well know luthier from here, caled Galasso.


    1. We've already looked at a couple of guitars from Lanzi Instruments. Copy & paste this:

  2. Totally agreed with luis. Faim instruments even had frets in wrong places (I have a bass which I turned into fretless because of that).

    Galasso is really good. And there we are lots of independent luthiers that make one or two guitars (like myself) just for fun.

    If you care, you can look at a Morgan guitar I got from a friend : . You'll see, it's made really badly. Just so you know, that particular guitar had, from the 'factory':

    - Bridge pickups magnets carefully pointing along the direction of the strings (hence it had no sound output).
    - The pickup selector is a fan speed switch. 220V, 5A.
    - The body is half an inch wide, and they routed out so much wood, it broke
    - The bridge is an acrylic piece grabbed by two NAILS with the heads chopped off.
    - The frets are made out of alpaca, being a soft metal, they were grinded away by the strings, and some 'fell' to the sides in several parts.
    - Check out where the double dots are.

    I've been repairing it for a long time, and fixing what the maker had done wrong.

    You see, you already mentioned a Morgan guitar. The most info I got was that he was a Luthier from here who didn't know much and tried to copy guitars from photos.

    The 'best' guitars from that period came from a luthier called Repiso, but still, they are poorly made.

    1. Another Morgan here:

    2. As Will pointed out, check the 18th fret on your image. Plus, it has been probably refinished sanding the front and back, and finishing it with tung oil. It was probably a black.

      It is probably a Faim guitar from the 70s, I've seen many and they're awful even from a playability point. You can see it has a zero fret and no fretboard radius. Check the neck in this one it's very much the same :

      Nowadays guitars from that brand are better, but still not very good. The Faim brand was a cheap guitar brand which as you can read from my 'fretless' bass comment and this, focused on SELLING guitars instead of selling GOOD guitars.

      You can ask me about argentinian guitars any time you have questions about them.

      BTW, great blog, I read it all the time! :)

    3. I own an accoustic and a 'les paul' like Repiso made guitars. They are excellent instruments.

  3. "They look like coming from a parallel but similar universe."

    Pre-internet, you could have these isolated pockets of creativity developing independently. Collaboration is all fine and well until it leads to mindless consensus. I see this a great deal in today's guitar players. They all get their instruction from the same Youtube videos. Or I should say, entirely too many.

    I'd like to explore these lesser known SA brands from the 60's and note, the difference between really great guitars and moderately playable ones are normally only a few degrees off? In few cases have I found changing strings, adjusting action ( assuming it can? ) and expert set-up did 'not' improve matters markedly.

    Since I missed the Fen/Gib boat entirely, let me be the first to entertain the collectible viability of brands yet over-hyped! It's so bad, if I had the storage I'd be more inclined to collect old pianos and organs, hoping they'd someday appreciate!

    1. Will... some of these guitars need set-up and fixes far more expensive that the guitars themselves. For example, my Faim (argentinian) bass I said before had less distance from the fret 7 to 8 than from the 8th to the 9th. As you know, distances between frets are less and less when you go to higher frets. Then, you will never play in tune. Nevertheless, the bass has 40 years of age and a lot of use and abuse (when it had the frets), but you would need to compromise the tuning or adjust the pitch by bending... or not care about tuning at all.
      I should point to you that they cut the only two braces the top had, to mount the electronics, so the top was bent inwards and the bass was unplayable. By cutting some mahogany I had lying around, and putting it between the top and back, I got it working again.
      Plus, the pickup wires were cut, so I had to put them in the toaster, get the wax out and fix them...
      I had to use flatwounds because the wood of the fretboard was REALLY soft, and the strings dented in the fretboard, causing 'fretless buzz'. Even more, the tuning posts were very little in diameter, which made the expensive flatwounds I had to break off just outside the 4th string post. The 4th string is just hanging from the outer windings...

      ... would you really go for that kind of work for a bad instrument, just to see if it happened to work? I know I'm kinda demential, but not everybody...

      Having said that, now that it's fretless, it's a fun bass to play around with.

    2. Oh I GET it alright ( just look at the 19th fret on the one Gavin posted above! ) It's not even uniform with itself? I'd probably be more interested in the limited runs makers like yourself turned out.

      Point is, I've spent a lifetime being prejudicial about non F & G guitars and it's time to be more open minded. Quick aside, spoke w/ a piano tuner this morning while considering perhaps getting involved in that market and he said it's the same deal. Rife with counterfeits and forgeries!

      I guess it's just as easy to get Story & Clark decal and slap it on a piano as it is schtick a Stratocaster decal on a knock off..! Yet, I'm undeterred, I think this is going to be interesting..?



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