Sunday, 2 October 2011

Maccaferri TV Pal 1950s plastic acoustic guitar
Way before this modern age of MP3s and digital downloads, before CDs even, we listened to music on records or "vinyl" as it is called now. I remember back in the late 1970s following the advent of punk rock and new wave, the music was much spikier and the records themselves were often pressed in various shades of coloured vinyl rather than the usual black. I recall in the music press there was a big noise when it was announced that the new Generation X single, "Valley of the Dolls", was to be issued in multicoloured vinyl. Of course when the record came out, the colour was a sludgy swirl of brown. As any kid that has played with Plasticine modelling clay could have told us, if you mix a whole bunch of colours together you end up with brown with little swirls of colour in it.

Which is a very roundabout way of saying that I think that may the same thing must have happened with this plastic Maccaferri TV Pal guitar. It was probably intended to be multi-coloured but ended up a brown swirly mess.

Mario Maccaferri was, of course, best known for the Selmer gypsy jazz guitar he designed. He also had a career in the production of plastic consumer goods. Believing that plastic had a previously untapped potential he produced the world's first plastic stringed instrument, the Islander plastic ukulele in 1948. By 1953 he had branched out into the production of plastic guitars. These were not intended solely as novelty items; they were supposed to be serious highly functional instruments. The TV Pal model was one of the round-hole designs which also included the Islander and Romancer guitars, but possibly the Maccaferri plastic gypsy jazz guitar with cutaway and f-holes is better known.

This Macaferri TV Pal is currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $195.

G L Wilson

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