Saturday 31 July 2010

1959 Silvertone 1423 aka Jupiter


Another baby of the inevitable cross-brand electric guitar industry in the 60s, this Silvertone 1423 was actually built by Harmony (as the H49 Stratotone Jupiter), equipped with DeArmond pickups and released exclusively in black / gold sparkle finish. Its chambered body made it very light and highly appreciated by beginners.

Silvertone had its models based on Danelectro, Harmony, Kay, National or Teisco guitars - they were actually manufactured by these companies with slight variation and branded by Silvertone that was the music instrument brand of the Sears Department Stores from the 30s until the early 70s.  


Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Friday 30 July 2010

Jackson Custom Shop "Black Beauty" Dominion Mark Morton signature

Jackson Custom Shop Dominion Mark Morton Black Beauty

This Mark Morton signature Jackson Dominion is a very honorable neck-through, chambered mahogany body, double humbucker guitar with a descent classic no-nonsense design, slightly twisted but without the hint of genius you would expect from this kind of instrument. 
It was conceived by Jackson for Mark Morton who plays in some metal band called Lamb of God and who wanted 'a guitar with which he could also play rock or blues'.

The guy just invented electric guitar it seems!


Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Thursday 29 July 2010

Fender Jaguar Special HH

Jaguar HH

The Fender Jaguar Special HH could seem not so special - well, it's just another Jaguar -, but - beside its name - it's very special to me since I'm the proud and happy owner of one of these babies.

It was love at he first sight (and I was a Fender hater until then - now I'm just a strat hater) after being faithful for about 20 years to my Rickenbacker 620 and my Ovation Breadwinner! It has a kind of perfect look, not with the classicism of a Les Paul or a ES-175, but in its own twisted way despite the venerable age of the Jaguar (see the previous Jaguar post).

So the HH (as it's often nicknamed) has the usual design, 24' scale and typical complex electronics of a Jaguar, but it's mounted with Fender's Dragster Humbuckers - sounding really superb - and a tune-o-matic style stop tail (official name is Adjust-o-matic, must be American humor). It has a simple black nitro finish and black pickguard and lots of chrome, and a super cool 1969 strat headstock with vintage tuners. You put your fingers on the neck and they start to play on their own and to do things you didn't know you can do.

It was made in Japan in the 2000s, and I found contradictory information about it being exclusive to the Japanese market or not. I thought so for a long time and it was sold to me as an import - and you don't see it so often around -, but this is not mentioned on the Fender website so it's doubtful. There is also a baritone version (a real baritone, not a 6-string bass), that I will accept as a present any time.


Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Wednesday 28 July 2010

50s Premier/Multivox Custom doubleneck guitar in gold sparkle finish

Gold double neck

This Premier doubleneck guitar is one of the craziest looking one I ever saw, and by crazy I don't mean just bizarre for the sake of it, but joyful and eccentric. And it definitely predates the glam era since it's from the 50s - though probably just one of its kind - only the Bigsby and the stoptail have been recently changed. 

I would write more about it but I'm mesmerized by the gold sparkle finish. I think that the ETs are trying to contact me!


Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Henman Bevilacqua S1

Henman-Bevilacqua S1

With this Jazzmaster-looking Henman-Bevilacqua S1, Henman Guitars proposes an interesting combination of classicism and... well, I cannot say modernism or high-tech, since electric guitar is ontologically modern and high-tech, so let's say progressiveness. You could say that there's nothing new in the two humbuckers (tappable though) and Bigsby trem but if you look closely at all the details, you will see that this guitar has clearly something (I just wish they wouldn't spoil a transparent black finish with a figured maple top when the body is made of solid mahogany...). 

If you are interested in this Hen-Bev S1, go and have a look at their website, they have plenty of technical specs about stuff like their avant-garde tuners and truss rod, plus a couple of video demos that allows you to hear its terrific sound (very rock/blues though - but it seems that it's what 99% of players expect - ah, and someone should tell the demo player that an emo haircut after 21 is pathetic).

About the Jaguar/Jazzmaster design, it's strange but I have to admit that though it's been introduced in 1958 - shortly after the Telecaster (50), the Les Paul (51) and the Stratocaster (54) - and widely spread in the 60s by European companies (mostly Italian and German), it didn't turn into a boring cliché but kept a radical feel - probably because it wasn't overexploited by Fender. So Henman played it safe when they chose this design, both familiar and with a maverick spirit.  


Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Monday 26 July 2010

BC Rich Gunslinger Power customized in Swarovski crystal

gunslinger crystal

Usually I don't post about wacky guitar finishes, but it's summer, all our readers are partying in Ibiza or hiking in the Appalachians, and this one is really really special.
So put on your shades and look at this BC Rich Gunslinger Power customized in Swarovski crystal by the Crystalz Rock company - yes, there is definitely a glam gene in Brits' blood that can be triggered any time.

Making such a guitar requires to glue 5000 crystals by hand, one by one, but playing it cannot be without 30 cm platform boots, tight lamé catsuit, glitter make-up and big big hair.


PS. nothing to say about the BC Rich Gunslinger - it's just some superstrat...

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Sunday 25 July 2010

1967 Gibson Kalamazoo KG2 serial number 00001

Gibson Kalamazoo KG2
Here is the Gibson Kalamazoo KG2, Gibson's response to Fender's Mustang at a time when the two dominant companies didn't yet carefully split the market. And it is probably the most Fender model produced by Gibson ever, not only by its design but with the single coils pickups, bolt neck, 6-in line tuners, tremolo (though it's a very Gibson short Vibrola trem with  Tune-o-matic bridge).

Kalamazoo was a short-lived budget line released by Gibson in the late 60s - there was two models, this one and a SG-style one, each with one or two pickups (KG1 & KG2) and with 2 different scales (both short), with bodies made of artificial wood (MDF) and cheap gear.

And this one has the serial number 00001 - it can interest collectors...


 Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Friday 23 July 2010

Yamaha Pacifica with mirror fingerboard

yamaha pacifica

This mirror fingerboard guitar  is intriguing - at least for me who know very little about fretless guitars. I crossed just a few on my way (but never played one) and they used either hardwood or metal...

Mirror feels a little fragile to me but I can credit the maker of this customization for being innovative - though I wonder why he would do that on a low-end Yamaha Pacifica (unless it's just a prototype)...

If anybody has extra info, it's welcome!


Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

1968 Zen-On Morales ESP-290 Black Bison

zen-on morales bison
An hollow-body guitar with Bison Style horns, who could dream of a cooler guitar? This Zen-On Morales ESP-290 Black Bison is a beauty (the pickguard is not original) and I wonder why pointy horns are so rare on this kind of guitars (there is an other example with the Barney Kessel models - a.o. this one by Gibson).

Like many 60s Japanese guitar companies, Zen-On is a blur entity. It is spelled either Zen-On or Zenon - that is very different - before shifting to Morales (why this one is a Zen-On Morales I don't know), but has been labeled also Futurama, while producing a few Jaguaresque original models (remarkable for their contoured pickguards) , but also Mosrite or Teisco clones... And it seems that in the 70s they shifted to acoustic guitars but without a website for Japanese vintage guitars, it's hard to tell.


Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Thursday 22 July 2010

Baker B3 XT Phoenix 5


I'm into Teles lately, and I'm particularly interested when they are the starting points of smart upgrades, such as this Tele/Firebird hybrid Baker B3 XT Phoenix 5 (sounds like a space ship name from a 50s pulp SF novel). This guitar is remarkable a.o. because of its solid mahogany one piece model - body and neck are cut from the same block, that is quite a rare luxury (so the raised center is not a beam on which the wings are glued, but a recall of the Firebird). 

It has the 3 mini-humbuckers (with metal rings) of the Firebird VII (I wish it had banjo tuners too), a stratesque hybrid pickguard and a quite nice transparent sunburst finish that makes sunburst almost agreeable. 


Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Mita's hand-built guitar
We love seeing self-built guitars here on Guitarz, but they can so often be hit and miss. Some seem to design the guitar as they go along and you get very crude looking instruments. Others will rely on templates of tried and trusted designs. It's so refreshing to see an instrument that has been designed from the ground up, that looks fantastic and is all original.

Here we see such an example from Guitarz reader Mita, who made this guitar for a college project as a third year industrial designer student in 2007. The guitar was designed to be compact but with a full scale length, in this case 24.75". The "frets" are in fact inlays (see detail photo, right) making this a fretless guitar.

I think it's a fantastic piece of work. It is both aesthetically pleasing and an original design - something which can be very difficult to achieve.

If I had to criticize at all, I'd say that personally - and I stress that this is just my opinion - I don't see for the need of a tremolo on a fretless instrument (the whole point of a fretless is to use the fingers of the left hand to produce vibrato). But that's a minor niggle, I suppose it's possible that there are fretless players who also wants to divebomb, and this certainly isn't the first time I've seen a fretless guitar with a locking trem.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Millenium Falcon guitar

Quite why Star Wars is so enduring to so many people is a complete mystery to me. There. I said it. I do not like Star Wars. I know this may be an almost blasphemous statement to many, but there it is. If Freddie Mercury could say it, then so can I.

There have been Star Wars themed guitars before, most notably from Fernandes (how anyone could play a guitar with, say, a picture of Darth Vader on the body and "Star Wars" emblazoned on the fingerboard whilst on stage without feeling an acute sense of embarrassment I do not know). Here we see a one-off guitar build with a body fashioned out of a Star Wars Millenium Falcon toy.

The body is reinforced inside with maple so that the ageing plastic toy does not implode under string tension. It's all very ingenious and quite impressive if you are into that sort of thing.

But it's not for me.

Read and see more here (via Misha).

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

An optimistic Portuguese eBay seller

If there was ever an optimistic eBay seller, then it's this guy, a newbie to eBay with zero feedback and who seems to think that a Buy It Now price of $1,000 is not unreasonable for this cheapy Strat copy with a seriously carved-up body.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Monday 19 July 2010

Guild DeArmond M-75T


The seller of this DeArmond M-75T on eBay doesn't tell its production year but from its price it's not a vintage instrument from the first DeArmond guitars era - when in the 60s Guild had some of its models produced in Korea under the DeArmond brand (DeArmond being until then Guild's and many other companies' pickups manufacturer). So it's a recent model by the new DeArmond revived by Fender in the 90s, again producing cheaper Guild models.

But according to the company's philosophy, it's supposed to be a faithful reproduction of the early Guild's guitars, here the Bluesbird, with chambered agathis body, DeArmond 2K pickup, Bigsby-like but specific trem, and blue sparkle finish.


Edit: see comments for extra information.

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Sunday 18 July 2010

John Paul Jones's Manson Custom Bass Lapsteel

John Paul Jones

Addendum to my previous Melobar post:
the first time I noticed a Melobar style lapsteel guitar was in a video of Them Crooked Vultures showing John Paul Jones playing a custom made (by Manson, hence the trademark embedded Kaoss pad) strap-on bass lapsteel (photo) - I actually wrote a post about them, but at the time I was more interested in Homme's Maton guitar and Jones's Manson bass mandolin!

I'm not a fan of Them Crooked Vultures' music but I must admit that they have a very good taste in instruments. Besides Jones's Manson lapsteel, we can see in this video Homme playing his MotorAve BelAir and Johannes who took over bass duty with a violin bass that looks like an original Höfner (couldn't see the brand but the headstock shape fits)(can't tell about Grohl's drums, this is out of my domain!).

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Vintage Heit Deluxe Teisco

teisco bizarro

No doubt that as soon as I saw this Heit Deluxe Teisco, it jumped into my eye and I knew that it would be my next post! But there is no information to be found on the Internet about this stunning vintage guitar, so any extra input is welcome!

It has similarities with the famous Hallmark Swept Wing - weirder even... and Heit was one of the many brand names that Teisco used to export their guitars in the US. That's all I can say, but just having looked at this guitar will make today a good day!


Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Saturday 17 July 2010

1965 Mosrite Melobar

mosrite slide

This Mosrite Melobar is one of the most exciting instrument I've posted here.

I was aware that something such existed but (thanks one more time to David B. who regularly send us his Internet finds) I've made some research lately about it and I discovered a cool hybrid guitar, allowing a musician to play lap steel style while standing / moving / dancing - that makes it a great instrument for the kind garage blues I particularly like lately (that's also the kind of instrument that was played in Captain Beefheart's Magic Band).

The instrument was conceived by Melobar in the 60s and built by different brands - this one by Mosrite with its classic design that fits particularly well (there is also a Flying V version with accurate ergonomics but ill-looking in my humble opinion). It has a neck with 70° angle to the body, that is then almost horizontal when the body hangs from the strap in a standard guitar position (the strap is connected to the headstock to allow uncompensated pressure on the neck). You play it like a regular lapsteel, though probably with more energy!

This is the 9-string version of the Melobar - they existed also in 6 and up to 10. For some obscure and un-understandable reasons, the Melobar was short-lived and never reissued (I have a doubt though, there's been a website that is now closed, so I can't tell if it was a vintage fan site or a new company one - like Jolana...). So who will resuscitate this little marvel?

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Friday 16 July 2010

1979 Jolana Diamant

jolana diamond

OK, this vintage Jolana Diamant is not something overwhelming new or original, just one of these 70s LP copies made in Czechoslovakia, though you must admit that the pickups and switch look terrific (we actually already showed here the bass version of the Diamant).

But the opportunity is good to tell that I just found out that the Jolana company started again - I don't know exactly when... I wonder if this is an effect of the vintage cult that seriously hit the east-european market since the US/UK/Japan vintage guitars are unaffordable for musicians! Unfortunately, the charm is not there anymore, their guitars look standard Chinese production with Korean gear and just a Jolana branding - but maybe I'm wrong...

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Thursday 15 July 2010

Waterstone semi-acoustic electric
You want original designs? OK, you've got it!

Actually, I think this Waterstone semi illustrates quite nicely why so many manufacturers stick to tried and tested guitar designs and derivatives of the same. The simple reason being some just couldn't design their way out of a wet paper bag.

Waterstone? With those hugely inflated body horns, Waterwings would have been a better name.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Here's one for all you 1980s hair metal throwbacks: the Greco Tusk
Ken found this Greco Tusk for sale on Yahoo Japan. Greco, of course, are best known for their high quality replicas of guitars by the likes of Fender and Gibson, and whilst this does have a touch of the Explorer about it, it would appear to be an original design. Whilst it's not headless, the headstock is really only there for aesthetics - and perhaps balance too - with the tuners being down at the bridge.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Underwater guitar with The Great White Shark Song

Yeah, I know he's miming! Nevertheless, rather him than me!

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

A Little Bit Country, a Little Bit Rock 'n' Roll

By our guest blogger, Alexis Bonari

In the world of country, where acoustic instruments have ruled for decades, electric guitar, mandolin and banjo are inching their way into this predominantly unplugged arena that frowns upon change. Since the seventies, bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers have ridden the line between country and rock, creating their own type of sound that caught on like wildfire by using electric instruments. This sound influenced country's rebels like Waylon Jennings and Jessi Coulter, angering many country fans while creating a brand new breed of music and followers.

Ticking Off the Old Timers

Some of the country music elders have been outraged by artists like Shania Twain for her use of electric guitar, overproduction and a sound that wasn't considered "country” thanks to her (at the time) husband, Mutt Lange, who produced albums for groups such as Def Leppard and AC/DC. Mutt and Shania fused her country sound with electric instruments and a belly-baring rockin' look that exploded up the charts and sold out stadiums around the world. Reigniting country brought millions of new fans into a world that had become stagnant and paved the way for newcomers who wanted to incorporate electric instruments into their music but were too afraid to be shot down.

Metal Catches On

Just as electric guitar has made its mark on country, eighties metal hair bands were also influenced by country's acoustic sound and the effect that a simple acoustic guitar and a microphone had on their audience. Poison's "Every Rose has its Thorn” and dozens of other metal bands had their signature acoustic song that made them millions and brought tears to their fans.

Breaking Down Walls

Other top bands in their own right like ZZ Top and Heart, have just recently been embraced by country's hottest rising stars, expanding country's acoustic sound into a whole new arena of electric instruments. Taylor Swift who was featured on CMT's Crossroads with Def Leppard is a great example of why country rock is hotter than ever thanks to a little electricity!

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at, researching areas of online degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Photo: The American country singer/guitarist Taylor Swift, with her Taylor acoustic guitar made of Acacia koa wood, at the Maverick Saloon & Grill in Santa Maria, California, June 16, 2006 by Dwight McCann /

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Gorgeous guitars from The Creamery

I've been meaning to feature The Creamery on this blog just about all year, but was waiting for the website to go live, which I believe it did last month... but then, I got side-tracked as I so easily do these days!

The Creamery are based in Manchester in the UK, and is the operation of Jaime Campbell who builds one-off custom guitars of the bolt-on neck, slab-bodied variety. Naturally this means Telecasters and Esquires as you might expect, but also some other body shapes too including Explorer (The Alleyway) and, my own favourite, a slab-bodied Jazzmaster (This Year's Model) inspired by Elvis Costello's guitar.

Jaime likes to use recycled woods and has posted on Facebook and Twitter about raiding skips to claim a piece of timber that someone else has just thrown away. The Fenchpost (pictured top left) for example, is an Esquire-type guitar with a body built out of an old pine fence post and which still has the nail holes proudly on display as a feature. I think it looks fantastic.

Another Tele-type has a body built from a butcher's block (The Butcher's Block) which not only gives it a unique appearance but is common sense, making use of a quality timber product which is quite frankly wasted on a mere chopping board.

I should also mention that Jaime also handwinds his own The Creamery brand scatterwound pickups, which are available to buy on their own without a guitar attached.

I can't wait to see what's next for The Creamery. I believe a Prince-style Telecaster is in the works.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

1971 Micro-Frets Spacetone

Micro-Frets Spacetone

We already posted about Micro-Frets guitars on this blog, an interesting company born in the 60s with quite an innovative spirit, and recently revived. Here is their Spacetone model, their most famous guitar I guess (saw it in the hands of Carl Perkins and Dave Gore).

It's a hollow-body with a characteristic F-hole, a Bigsby trem (that is strange since they usually use their own model), P90 pickups, a double pickguard, cool double dots fretboard inlays and of course the superb Micro-Frets headstock.


Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Monday 12 July 2010

Bodge job alert!
Bill found this Strat body with an alarming pool extension on eBay, and comments "I think someone may have been trying something like Clapton's Mid Boost circuit. Tragic."

Well, I'm not so sure. It looks to me like someone wanted somewhere to hide illicit substances. (And yes, I do remember the story about a Squier Strat impounded by Customs because they found its body to be made from cocaine.)

Either that, or someone was trying to make one of those easy-to-smash guitars.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Sunday 11 July 2010

1963 Höfner 173

We didn't have a German vintage guitar here for ever! Time is right to show this Höfner 173 with 3 pickups (humbucker-like but probably single coils with big covers - something not unusual at the time) on a strat shaped body and an ubercool trem system.

That's now that I start to rant: "Why don't they do all these cool trems anymore and we have to choose between 3 boring models when 40 years ago every guitar maker would create his own system - they worship all that is wrong in vintage and despise all that is right!"

brm, brm


Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Saturday 10 July 2010

Fender Performer guitar and bass - forgotten classics?

Could the Fender Performer by the last real original design from Fender before they decided instead to produce a myriad of subtle variations of the same vintage designs?

The Perfomer was produced for only one year between 1985-1986 by Fender Japan during that strange period in Fender's history in which there was no USA guitar production happening.

The Performer was originally designed as a bass (the guitar came later) by John Page, who has commented that the original intention was that it would be an Elite version of the Jazz Bass! The angular body shape was in fact inspired by the Fender Strat - flip one over and note the shape that the flat surface makes.

The guitar does look like an after-thought, it must be said. The small-ish body and 24-fret neck mean that there's a smaller than usual space in which to accommodate the two humbuckers - added to which the offset slanted design of the pickups themselves mean that they end up being positioned very closely together. However, a coil-tap does mean that at the touch of a button this guitar can go from fat humbucker tones to a crisp sharp Strat-like sound.

Other interesting features include the rubber grips on the volume and tone controls, and the Swinger-esque headstock shape.

A forgotten Fender classic? Possibly. Examples have been selling on eBay for $1000 and upwards.

(Pictured above: Fender Performer guitar and Fender Performer bass both in auctions about to finish on eBay very soon! There is also a sunburst example of the guitar for sale in the UK at a not unreasonable price of £599.)

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Zemaitis Diamond custom

Zemaitis 2

A cliché I regularly read on the guitar blogosphere, is the claim that the new made-in-Japan Zemaitis guitars are not the real things, that trying to prolong the work of craft-master Tony Zemaitis is pointless and almost blasphemous, and by extension that these guitars are probably just bad instruments (but if you dig a little bit, you find people saying that handmade original Zemaitis guitars were sometimes botched and badly finished, looking much better on photos than is real, a little bit like Wandre's).

Like most guitar lovers, I never played a Zemaitis guitar, never even saw one in real (neither original or Japanese) since they are not guitars you easily find at your local music shop, but I think that they are some the most superb guitars ever, and I imagine that all the pro musicians who play or endorse the new Zemaitis instruments don't do it only for their good look.

The one you can see here, a Zemaitis GZ500S Diamond is actually from the GZ series - one could call it the budget line of Zemaitis if they weren't over 2500 €, handmade, with engraved gears, abalone binding and inlays - built on contract by law-suit era copy specialist and old-timer guitar maker Greco (so good at cloning guitars that a part of the company became Fender Japan). It has upgraded pickups and pots and just one look at it causes in me a feeling of achievement and perfection (together with the sour feeling that I'll never have enough money in my life to buy such a guitar...)


Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Friday 9 July 2010

of Dead Weather, Grestches, photos and blogging

the dead weather

A few months ago, a Guitarz reader pleasantly remarked that what we do here is easy and dishonest, since we just lazily browse the Web, steal a guitar pic here or there, add a few lines and claim the whole thing ours.

So last week I was very proud of myself when I decided to go for guitar hunting in the Real Life (the lack of interesting guitars on the Internet lately is not getting better!), and for the very first time took a small digital camera to a rock concert. And since it was a concert of the Dead Weather, I though that I would come back with great photos of two of the coolest guitars out there, the Gretsh custom white Bo Diddley (played by Alison Mosshart) and Billy Bo Jupiter Thunderbird (played by Jack White).

Unfortunately I'm a much better photographer with a big good camera, steady and in daylight, than in a middle of a jumping crowd with a quick succession of complete darkness, powerful spotlights straight into my lens and moving blue lights... Of the more or less 100 photos I took that night, these are the less bad, sorry... And when the show stopped, the roadies came right away and took the guitars away, so no chance to shoot them at rest either!

By the way, the concert was brilliant, even better than I expected, and I can tell you that I'm not an easy audience!

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Oh, here we go again...

Oh dear! Has this eBay seller been living under a rock? He claims that this assault rifle guitar is "... the most original guitar you will ever find!"

Biggest. Cliché. Ever.

(And, no, it's not a one-off or a rarity of any kind, it's identical to this cheapy K-tone.)

What next? Another toilet seat guitar?

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Thursday 8 July 2010

Stewart hollowbody vintage guitar
This Stewart-branded semi-hollowbody caught my attention on eBay. The body shape has offset double cutaways like a Strat rather than the more usual 335 shape aped by many semis.

I wish I could tell you more about this guitar, but I do not have a lot of information to go on. Apparently, when Epiphone was acquired by Gibson's parent company, CMI, in 1957, they shifted production from Philadelphia to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Some of the former employees went on to work for a company called United Code who built guitars with brandnames such as Mansfield, Premier, Defender and Stewart. Possibly this is one of the latter.

But if that is the case, why do I think it looks Japanese? I'm sure I've seen those pickups on vintage Japanese guitars before.

One thing I do know is that it almost certainly isn't the same Stewart Guitars who build the Stowaway - a Strat-a-like that can be dismantled to fit inside a standard-sized briefcase.

If anyone has any more info on this beauty or on Stewart Guitars in general, then please let us know via the comments!

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Thanks to Micha

Before today's main post, I want to say thanks to Micha who designed the new Guitarz header. I'd been meaning to change the old Hendrix Woodstock Strat header for ages now - it's served us well since 2007.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Squier '51 - stock and customised examples
Fender's subsiduary Squier are mainly known for producing budget-conscious versions of Fender guitars such as the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Precision and Jazz Basses. Occasionally they have been known to do something more adventurous and issue an original model guitar not based directly on any Fender design.

The Squier '51 is one such guitar, and whilst I say it is "original" it very clearly borrows and combines elements from three Fender designs, namely the Strat, the Tele and the original '51 Precision Bass.

Essentially you could say that it has a hardtail basswood Strat body married to a Tele neck, with a '51 P-Bass pickguard. It has a single coil pickup in the neck position and a humbucker at the bridge. There is no tone control but a rotary pickup selector and a coil tap option for a range of sounds.

Judging by comments I have read about this guitar on the net, it seems it was a very popular instrument. Such a pity that it was only in production from 2004-2006. Of course, it was a guitar very popular with tinkerers and guitar modders, and judging by the number of photos I've seen on eBay and elsewhere I wonder how many stock examples are left in the world, because so many seem to have been upgraded.

Pictured above we see two examples in Vintage Blonde. On the left is an untouched stock Squier '51, and in the middle and on the right a customised example featuring upgraded pickups including a P90-style in the neck position, and a Dynamic Fender Vibrato as found on certain other Fender guitars such as the Mustang. (Finally, an S-type guitar with a tremolo that might actually work nicely!)

The Squier '51 was one of the guitars in my "500 Guitars" book, but the publishers unfortunately used an incorrect photo of a Squier Strat.

See the Squier '51 Modders Forum for more customisations!

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Glen Campbell's electric resonator guitar

Tone Deaf Radio has written to me asking what guitar Glen Campbell is playing in the above clip?

This red electric resonator guitar is also pictured on the front cover of his album "Hey, Little One".

Anyway, my suspicion was that it might be a Mosrite - I don't know why I thought that - but it's been vindicated by this page here where we see a very similar guitar in black for sale (pictured right). I did wonder if it was it was a genuine collaboration between the Dobro and Mosrite companies, or if the name Dobro is being used to describe the type of guitar, i.e. a resonator. Dobro is one of those brand names, like Biro or Hoover, that has passed into the language and is applied to similar items not of that brand. However, a look at the full-size photo clearly shows both names on the headstock.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Forrest Custom Telecaster with B-bender in Green Paisley

More Telecaster and more paisley - aren't you amazed by my consistency? 

But this Forrest Custom Telecaster is is not only a sweet looking guitar, it has a device that to my shame I discovered only recently (I have excuses though, I know nothing about American country music for which it's mostly used), the B-bender. 

Look at the back of this Tele, this spring and levers mechanism connects a device at the bridge that bends the B-string  to the higher tone, to the front strap lock, so you can use it just by pulling  your guitar up and down. If it's interesting I can't tell, since I'd have to listen to country music and that's something I can't do, but a little search on YouTube will give you all the information you need.

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Monday 5 July 2010

John McGee's Mockingbird
We've seen a couple of John McGee's self-built guitars before. Today we see what happened when he turned his attention to one of BC Rich's most iconic designs. I'll let John talk you through it:
Here's a Mockingbird I finished up earlier this year. I'm a fan of the more unusual body shapes, and the Mockingbird has long been one of my favorites.

This one has a mahogany body. I don't know what strain of mahogany it is, but it's dang heavy. In hindsight, I really should have thinned it down a lot more than it is, but oh well. If it bugs me too much down the road I can always just make another body for it. :)

The flat top of the BC Rich version never looked right to me, so I gave all of the edges a soft bevel. Except for the "axe" - it had to stay sharp. You rarely see a guitar painted a really in-your-face yellow, so that was the way to go for this one.

The neck was a bit of an experiment. I glued up purpleheart and lightly flamed maple with the intention of dropping the truss rod in from the back, like on some Fenders. After wrestling with how to fill in the trench in the back, it was suggested to just slice off a piece of the neck blank, use it for the fretboard, and drop the truss rod in the front. As it was from not only the same piece of wood but the same place IN the board, the purpleheart glued back almost seamlessly.

For anyone who might be concerned about the strength of a pinstriped fretboard, you shouldn't be. 99.99% of the time, a properly glued joint will be stronger than the surrounding wood. Fender has been putting a walnut skunk stripe in the back of their necks for decades without issue.

The pickups are a story unto themselves. A friend of mine winds pickups for me in exchange for bodies. He made these with purpleheart bobbins to match the neck. Using wood bobbins isn't too uncommon in the high-end custom shops that wind their own pickups, but they don't come cheap. I'm extremely fortunate to have this friend. These are wound pretty close to PAFs, but a touch brighter.

Chrome hardware and a Kahler finish off the guitar. The electronics are as simple as I get: a 3-way switch, 1 volume, and 1 tone.

Thanks for showing us this fine looking guitar, John. I particularly like the multi-lam neck, and the sculpted contours of the body (it's very yellow isn't it?).

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Sunday 4 July 2010

Aria SB-800 bass with 6-bolt neck
Tyler Beard writes:
This is a rare variant of the famous Aria SB-1000. From the front it is an SB-1000, but turn it over and you'll see a brass neck plate. Indeed, it is a bolt-on. The neck plate is relatively large because there are 2 hidden screws under it. Why exactly this hidden screw design was chosen, I can't say. Otherwise, this bass is every bit the SB-1000, and equal in its quality and sound. It runs on an 18-volt active circuit. It shares the SB-1000's B.B. Circuit and is a tone monster. Brass bridge, nut, and back plates, aluminun knobs. Has sealed tuners that are very high quality. The body is, in the style of Matsumoku, a neck-through look-alike. It's a laminate of Oak, Maple, and Walnut. Also has the Matsumoku trademark 5-piece maple neck.

The neck also has some features that are atypical of your average. It has almost no taper, so it's consistent and if you feel the need to shred like Cliff Burton (I often do), no problem. Also, the neck is sculpted at the neck joint so that your hand slides onto a smooth curve and not a sudden block where the neck and body join. And the instead of using a scarf joint, the angled headstock is given added strength through leaving excess wood where it goes to the neck. I also feel this bass puts the neck joint=sustain argument to rest. This can easily hold a note long as any set neck or neck through.

Curiously, mine has 2 serial numbers. One on the neck plate, and one on the back of the headsotck. The bass can only date to 1978 (the neck plate agrees), as it was only produced for that year. The headstock says it would be a 1981. I find it unlikely this is a replaced neck, though. It's possible parts were overproduced. The headstock design (the "bat-ear") also dates to the late 70s models as opposed to those in the 80s, and no SB had a neck like this with 6-bolts and the heel so it could not be a transplant off of another model.

~Tyler Beard
Thanks for showing us this bass, Tyler. I couldn't possibly comment as to its rarity value, but it's certainly true that the through-neck style is much better known when it comes to this design of Matsumoku-produced Aria basses. If anyone else has any more information, please leave a comment below, in the usual time-honoured fashion here at Guitarz.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Saturday 3 July 2010

The guitars of Christian Blandhoel

Christian Blandhoel is a Norwegian visual and audio artist.

He has quite a collection of self-customised guitars which form his "Sonics" series of art works. These aren't guitars for conventional playing. They can have any number of strings, oddly-positioned pickups, springs as bass strings, pickups behind the bridge, etc. Some don't even seem to have a neck as such.

For more of his work please see here and for the guitars specifically here. Much of it is in Norwegian, but I still found plenty to look at and thought it was utterly fascinating.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Friday 2 July 2010

Galveston Lucifer

lucifer galveston

This is the Galveston Lucifer

Can't tell much more about it since there are no information on Galveston on the Internet! I just found that's it's the US front brand of a Korean company, and they have an Internet address that leads to no site! 
Though this kind of guitars is not my cup of tea, I think that its design is quite nice. It's well balanced, dynamic, not ridiculous and ergonomic, with an updated 80s Peavey taste - much better than most BC Rich monsters. Do we face a glam-metal come-back?

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

Thursday 1 July 2010

Ras Allover's The Crotch bass

Regular readers might remember Ras Allover's Log bass which we looked at in March 2009.

Now he's back with a new log-based 4-string creation, named "The Crotch" which he claims is possibly the sexiest bass alive today.

Body: Ash *
Neck: Rock Maple w. Walnut Skunk Sripe
Bridge: BADASS
Pickup: MAXXON Vintage Single Coil
Strings: Heavy Gage ELIXIR Nano-Web Coated
Controls: Stacked Concentric Volume - Tone
Hand made in Toronto, Canada

Sounds and plays great with an exellent sustain and a deep rumble bassy tone.

Won 1st Price at the 'Six String Garage' instrument competition in Toronto, Canada!
Ras has even sent in an accompanying joke, which must be a first for Guitarz:
A tree grows up in the forest and doesn't know what kind of tree it is. So it decides to ask the Maple tree: 'Hey, Mr. Maple, I am trying to figure out what tree I am!' So Mr. Maple looks at him and says: 'I am not too sure, why don't you ask Mr. Pine over there?'

Ok so the young tree goes: 'Hey, Mr. Pine, I am trying to figure out what tree I am, can you help me out!' And Mr. Pine says: 'You know, I can't really tell from where I'm standing, why don't you ask Mr. Oak, he's been around the longest.'

So the little tree goes: 'Hey, Mr. Oak, I am trying to figure out what tree I am, any ideas?' Mr. Oak looks at him and says: 'You know, I am not too sure whether you are a son of a Beech or a son of a Birch, but your mother was definitely the best piece of Ash in the forest ...'
So there you go, a wood-based joke for all you luthiers and lovers of tonewoods. (Don't I remember an episode of The Phil Silvers Show in which Sgt Bilko was trying to persuade a bunch of TV executives that wood was currently what everyone was laughing at?)

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!


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