Sunday 31 March 2013

Yamaha SB-2 bass circa 1966/67 very briefly spied on eBay
This Yamaha SB-2 bass was listed on eBay very very briefly earlier in the month and then mysteriously the listing was pulled. I wonder if the seller had an offer outside of eBay that was just too good to refuse? I'm pretty sure these are pretty rare basses, seing as the SB-2 was Yamaha's very first solidbody bass guitar and bass sibling to the Yamaha SG-2, SG-3 and SG-12 guitars (about which I have written much on this blog already - check "You may also like..." below - the links are sure to come up there!). This particular example in sunburst would nicely match my own Yamaha SG-3 guitar. I was hoping no-one would notice it and it might sell for a nice low bid, but as I said already the auction was soon removed.

There's not a lot to say about this bass really, other than its rarity. Built circa 1966/67, 32" medium scale length, no complicated circuits as on the SG-2 and SG-3, and this example has cruelly had its frets extracted. Really, if you want a fretless bass, nothing but long scale will do. OK, so that's peronal opinion, but they could've done a neater job. On the upside, it shouldn't be too difficult to re-fret again.

G L Wilson

© 2013, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
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Saturday 30 March 2013

Steampunk-themed relic Thinline Tele-style guitar
The craze for steampunk-themed guitars is getting almost as popular as that for faux "relic" guitars. Some would argue that it is just as silly. This steampunk Thinline Tele-style guitar was originally a Czechoslovakian-made Jolana Vikomt and has now been steampunkerized in the soon-to-be time-honoured fashion of bunging a few cogs and gauges on it, maybe also some ramdon electronic components and some tubing.

Currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $349.

G L Wilson

© 2013, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

Friday 29 March 2013

Sigma by C.F. Martin Tele-style guitar (made by Tokai)
Here's an unusual but mighty fine-looking Telecaster Guitar from C.F. Martin's Sigma brand. Made in Japan for Sigma by Tokai guitars, it rather unusually - for a Tele - sports a headstock with three tuners to each side. From the photos I'd guess it was also of a slightly shorter scale length - a Gibson-esque 24" perhaps?

The seller claims that this is one of only 49 examples produced (When? 1970s? 80s?), and is "one of the best playing electric guitars I have ever encountered." This guitar is currently listed on eBay UK with a starting bid of £449.

G L Wilson

© 2013, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

James Trussart Steel Top (with alligator finish)

Everybody loves a James Trussart guitar, and this Steel Top is one of his finest models! Everything in it is the most pleasant combination of classicism and innovation, and though it almost looks like a jewel, it still feels that it can be played for real on stage.

I think that metal front thinline guitars have a really interesting sound, I wonder why nobod builds  some on a big scale - and with an affordable price (the Trussart is handmade and quite complex, therefore pricy). 

Bertram D

© 2013, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Guitar review: Fender Pawn Shop Series Bass VI
Fender's Pawn Shop series are - in their own words - "guitars that never were but should have been". The concept seems to be that these designs are influenced by weird old modified guitars that you might find in a pawn shop. Hence we see different pickup combinations and trem systems and variations on design that you wouldn't expect to see on stock Fender guitars. In some cases, the Fender Pawn Shop guitars go beyond such minor modifications and we see alterations to actual body designs, e.g. the Mustang Special has a re-designed chunkier body shape, the '72 is essentially a Thinline Strat, and the Offset Special is reminiscent of a Thinline Strat with an offset waist and equipped with a Jaguar/Jazzmaster tremolo.

The model that I was really interested in, however, was the Fender Pawn Shop Bass VI. I've been hankering after a Bass VI for years. I used to have a Hohner Hollywood (so-called) Bass VI but its 25.5" scale length meant that you couldn't really tune it down a full octave below a regular guitar, and so I had to make do with it being tuned down to G. That's still a whole lot lower than most baritone guitars which are often tuned to B or C - or A if you're lucky, but it still wasn't "bass" enough and that always really bugged me.

The Pawn Shop Bass VI, like the original, has a 30" scale and so has no such problems with being tuned to E. It differs from the original Fender Bass VI in a number of minor details: most notably it has a JZHB pickup in the bridge position - this does look a lot like a large P90 pickup but my understanding is that it is a double coil version of the Jazzmaster pickup. In the neck and middle positions are a pair of Jaguar pickups. These are all controlled by a Strat-like 5-way switch. It's a disappointment that Fender didn't use the individual pickup on/off switches plus "strangle" switch on a chrome plate as on the classic Bass VI. This doesn't seem so much like a quirky modification, rather a brazen cost-cutting exercise, which is a pity because I think Fender missed a trick here.

There's another chrome plate missing beneath the volume and tone controls and output jack. Here on the Pawn Shop Bass VI the pickguard has been extended to include this area. Other than that, it's a pretty faithful reproduction of the original. The neck is unbound, but then not all the "originals" had bound necks anyway. Interestingly the headstock bears the legend "Fender VI" (as used on the very first Bass VIs rather than the later "Fender Bass VI") with "Electric Bass Guitar" in smaller lettering beneath.

Part of the reason that I wanted a Bass VI was so as to encourage me to play more melodic parts and lead lines, as so often in a band situation I find myself ending up playing rhythm guitar which - although I am happy to do - I want my share of the limelight too. I also have an album to record and I was looking for new "voices" to use in my music, and decided that a Bass VI could be the very thing.

So, how does it play and sound? Well, the first thing that struck me was that it packs a punch as a bass. Some uninformed people insist on calling the Fender Bass VI a "baritone guitar". Believe me, it is nothing of the sort; indeed I'd go so far as to say that to call it a baritone guitar is an insult. It's as much of a bass as a Fender Precision or a Jazz Bass. Other people say that it's a "bass for guitarists", but I don't think this is so much of an insult - there's a lot of truth in the statement. It has six strings, it is tuned like a guitar only an octave lower, and the string spacing is like that of a guitar. It even has a tremolo (but I'll talk about that some more later). A bassist friend of mine tried out the Fender Bass VI and commented, "I'm not sure how I'm supposed to play it. Do I play it as a bass or as a guitar?"

For the most part I do play it like a guitar, although I expect I'll end up using it for bass lines too. The one thing that took a little getting used to was the extra stretch on a 30" scale. It didn't feel too bad, but when I changed back to playing a regular scale guitar again, that felt really awkward. However, having been changing back and forth between guitar and Bass VI for a month now I have gotten used to the differences in scale length.

It is possible to play guitar chords, but open chords can sound muddy; you wouldn't really want to strum on a Bass VI, but careful arpeggiation of chords can be quite effective. Barre chords are possible too - they sound better the higher up the neck you travel. I've even played the Bass VI using a capo on certain songs so as to put me into baritone guitar range - that has proven to be quite effective.

Initially I was underwhelmed by the JZHB pickup in the bridge position. My initial reaction was that Fender had put it there just for the sake of making it different so as to justify the "Pawn Shop" label. However, I was initially using my guitar amp but after a band performance during which the poor amp struggled, I got myself a most excellent bass amp from Roland's Cube series which complements the Bass VI beautifully. Prior to that I only ever used the bridge JZHB pickup in conjunction with the middle Jaguar pickup through the guitar amp because I thought that on its own it sounded thin and weedy, I have since found that through a proper bass amp it gives me a really usable treble sound that cuts through nicely when playing in a band situation that includes another bass player.

When playing with another bass player, I've been very conscious that I need to dial in a different bass sound so that we don't clash or else end up in one big bassy muddle. Using the JZHB pickup helps cut through, but also choice of effects helps too - and thankfully my Roland Bass Cube has a whole load on-board.

The Bass VI is an instrument crying out to be played with a chorus effect. It really does bring the sound to life. I've also found it best to scoop the middle out on the EQ on the amp, but obviously one can experiment and find out what works best for them.

I love also the sound of the Jaguar pickups, although I think perhaps I would use them more when recording rather than when in a live situation when I want my sound to be distinct from that of the (4-string) bass player in the band.

Now the tremolo... it's the same kind of Fender trem as featured on their Jaguar and Jazzmaster guitars. That, for me, should be a good thing as I've never got on with Strat-style tremolos. However, with this particular instrument I cannot get the trem arm to snap into place. I really don't want to force it into position and possibly break something. I've tried asking Fender in the UK what I might be doing wrong and so far have not received any response. I did wonder if the shop may have given me the wrong arm, but seeing as it was a shop specialising in bass guitars that is rather unlikely (the only other Bass VI they had was the Eastwood Sidejack and I remember that had its trem arm installed - also that's another Fender Jaguar/Jazzmaster type system). [EDIT - 16 April 2013: Today I received a parcel from Fender containing a threaded tremolo arm for Bass VI. It fits and operates percectly. Yes, it does seem that the shop gave me the wrong arm in the first place. A big "thank you" to Michael at Fender Customer Relations for sorting this out for me.]

I've seen the opinion expressed elsewhere thay the tremolo on the Bass VI is no great shakes anyway and is more of a gimmick than a usable trem, but I would like the opportunity to find out for myself. (Earlier I mentioned the Hohner Bass VI I used to own. That had a Wilkinson trem that was very effective in use).

Having seen comments on forums such as it seems that some people are buying these Pawn Shop Bass VIs and modifying them to look and function like the originals, which is an irony seeing as the whole point of the Pawn Shop series was to present ready "modified" guitars. I think Fender should have done a straight reissue of the Bass VI rather than a Pawn Shop version. A little bit of chrome shouldn't hike the price up very much.

I know it sounds like I have a few niggles with the Fender Pawn Shop Bass VI, but despite the unnecessary Pawn Shop accoutrements, despite the mix-up with the trem on my example, I do love my Bass VI dearly. I feel as if it might be the perfect instrument for me and can honestly say I haven't been as excited about a guitar purchase as much since I bought my first ever Fender Stratocaster circa 1987.

The Bass VI is a Made in Mexico Fender, which is something a few years back might have caused some to view it with concern, but Fender Mexico have really got their act together now and this is a quality-made and beautifully-finished instrument. Retails in the UK at prices between £601 and £755 so shop around. Colours are black with tortoiseshell pickguard (i.e. mine), sunburst with tortoiseshell pickguard, and candy apple red with matching headstock and white pickguard.

Just DON'T call it a baritone guitar, OK?

G L Wilson

© 2013, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Kay "Old Kraftsman" Sizzler vintage electric guitar
With a body shape that looks like it could have been cut out by hand using a saw in your garden shed, this Kay Old Kraftsman Sizzler guitar manages to be crude and quite fantastic at the same time. "Old Kraftsman" was actually a brandname used on Kay guitars sold by Spiegel stores. The maple neck gives it a rather Fender-like appearance, but this is in fact a set neck and not a bolt-on.

Currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $1,199.99.

G L Wilson

© 2013, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

Sunday 24 March 2013

DeArmond M55

Strangely it is difficult to find information about this DeArmond M55 - though it's an internet era guitar released in the 2000s! Even though it's been discontinued and DeArmond don't produce guitars anymore, Fender (who owns the DeArmond brand) could have kept a website about these guitars!

Anyway, the design of this guitar is based on a Guild model - DeArmond were just making the pickups and sign - and as you can notice, the original humbucker has been replaced by a Filtertron copy. I like the absence of stoptail and the turn-o-matic / string-through-body combination, it always feels to me that it's the best way to transmit the strings vibration to the body.

Bertram D

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

Saturday 23 March 2013

Vox Phantom XII assembled from 1960s Italian "new old stock" parts
Here's another for our southpaw friends, a Vox Phantom XII. The Vox Phantom is one of those guitar designs that you either love or hate. I'm in the former camp. Anyway, I'll let the eBay seller explain about this particular example:
Italian made Vox Phantom 12 string left handed guitar... BRAND NEW... custom made from matured, original unused parts.

This is an example of a limited supply of old Vox and Eko guitars that have only recently been assembled from stock that has been stored, slowly maturing for many years.The body,neck,scratchplate and control knobs are all vintage original Vox old parts... the bodies were sprayed up and stored in the mid to late 1980s ... Modern Vox type pickups have been added with a set of repro machineheads. The electric wiring is brand new. What you get is a vintage guitar BRAND NEW!!!

Finished in Black with 3 single coil pickups, chrome hardware, rosewood neck.

This guitar is a beauty!!!

Why buy a new Vox made in Korea for over £1200 or an American rip off when you can have an Italian LEGEND for £865!!!?
I'm guessing that the seller, elitepianos are one and the same - or else closely allied to - Brandoni Guitars.

The neck would appear to be a right-handed example - note in the above photo that the Vox logo appears to be upside-down for a left-handed player. I don't suppose this will pose any real problems, but I hope they made some concession to the player with regards to the side dots on the neck - they're not a lot of use on the wrong side.

Currently listed on eBay UK for £865.

G L Wilson

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

Friday 22 March 2013

1950s plastic toy skiffle guitar with auto-chord attachment
I love these old 1950s and 1960s plastic toy guitars; sometimes they can be just as fascinating as real guitars. This particular 1950s skiffle guitar has a idiosyncratic auto-chord attachment on the neck so the player doesn't even have to learn chords - just press a button. That is, so long as they don't want to play any chords other than G7, E7, C, A7, D7, G.

Currently being auctioned on eBay UK with a low starting price.

G L Wilson

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

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Fender Hellecaster

Look twice, this looks like a Stratocaster, but it's a Fender Hellecaster, a limited edition John Jorgenson signature model released in 1997. 

It has split pickups similar to those used on the Electric XII and later on G&L guitars, an inverted big headstock (that looks extremely cool and should be standard on strats), and nice sparkle finish. 

So with a little effort, one can make a strat look good after all!

Bertram D

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

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Sekova Grecian hollowbody electric guitar: six pickup stereo wonder?
Here's another one you don't see come up for sale very often. It's a circa-1968 Sekova Grecian, made in Japan (although the exact provenance is not known) and imported into the USA by U.S. Musical Merchandise of New York City.

Of course what makes the guitar so spectacularly bizarre and/or wonderful is that it sports SIX pickups, albeit six individual string pickups, i.e. a one for each string. You might think that makes it effectively a one-pickup guitar, but something else is going on here; just witness the number of switches and volume and tone pots. The Grecian is actually wired for stereo with the signals from the 3 bass strings and the 3 treble strings being separated. It's a nice idea, but quite crude compared to latter-day stereo guitar innovations, e.g. the Kramer Ripley guitar or the Gittler guitar where the output from individual strings can be panned wherever desired in the stereo spectrum.

But how does it sound? In an article for My Rare Guitars, Michael Wright ("The Different Strummer") commented:
As cool as it looks, this Grecian formula sucks big time. The stereo idea wasn’t terrible, but you always had to have two amps to take advantage of it. Plus, the coils are just not big enough to crank out much sound and, like so many Japanese guitars from this era, the wiring is extremely thin and the pots are crummy, so you’re lucky if the thing plays.
The example pictured about is currently being auctioned on eBay with a starting price of $295. Thanks to Steve C for bringing this guitar to my attention.

G L Wilson

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

Monday 18 March 2013

Fender Japan Aerodyne Jazz Bass rare left-handed version
Fender's Aerodyne series of guitars and basses were another - rather elegant - variation on a theme courtesy of the ever resourceful minds at Fender Japan, with bodies that feature a gently arched top and binding. This particular Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass is a rare left-handed example. Note that the bass features both Precision and Jazz Bass pickups.

Currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $999.99.

G L Wilson

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

Saturday 16 March 2013

Stonehenge 2 guitar with tubular metal body briefly seen on eBay
This Stonehenge 2 guitar was listed as a new item on eBay yesterday, but today the auction has been withdrawn. Whether the Greek seller has decided not to sell or else was offered a deal outside of eBay, I cannot say. What the seller does tell us is that:
In 1984, the guitar maker Alfredo Bugari of Castelfidardo made a novel guitar with this name with a tubular metal body. The model name derives from his theories about the sound properties of the ancient English stone circle.
That description raises more questions for me than it answers; I'd like to know more about Bugari's Stonehenge theory, but then that would be getting away from guitars, which is what this blog is all about.

The seller also mentions that it's one of only 150 such guitars that Bugari built. Here on Guitarz we looked at a Stonehenge 3 guitar back in 2009. There doesn't appear to be a lot of difference between the "2" and "3" models, from what I can tell, apart from different pickups and a completely different bridge. The bridge on the "2" that we are looking at here appears to have fine tuners - I thought it might be a trem for a few moments and then wondered where the mechanism would be; note the view from the back - the bridge has no material behind it - it makes you wonder how this affects the sound.

This guitar WAS listed with a starting price of £300. What happened to it after the auction was pulled, I can't say, but as it's such a rare and unusual piece I thought I'd share it with you. (I normally like to share eBay auctions that you CAN bid on).

G L Wilson

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

Friday 15 March 2013

slightly pimped up Ibanez Talman TC 220

Ibanez Talmans are recurrently featured on this blog - I just like this simple and classic guitar and its many variations - I can't believe that it's been discontinued when so many ugly, useless or cloned guitars are sold every day... 

The Talman TC 220 normally sports uncovered humbuckers, the previous owner of this one just added chrome covers and rings - actually I did that on my Epiphone Dot Studio and not only this looks good, but to me it also improves the sound somehow...

I love the Talman control plate / jack output - I wish I could buy one somewhere for a project...  

Bertram D

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

Thursday 14 March 2013

A Fender paisley Tele with a difference - it's GREEN!
Although this is a genuine Fender Telecaster, it does feature a custom refinish. You're not going to find an off-the-shelf Tele in green paisley like this one. The seller calls it a "a 7-UP Paisley 'JUDGE' version... direct from Ralph and Sandy's custom shop" (as if I'm supposed to know what that all means) and goes on to list the guitar's specs: Seymour Duncan Tele Hot Neck pickup, Seymour Duncan Tapped Tele bridge pickup, reverse control plate, 5-way switching, series and parallel modes, Vitamin Q Paper in Oil capacitor, No Load Tone control, Electro socket jack holder, Switchcraft jack, Premium CTS controls...

It does indeed sound - and look - like a very fine guitar. And so it should be with an eBay Buy It Now price of $2,299.

G L Wilson

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

Wednesday 13 March 2013

One-off 1980s Route 66 guitar from Wilkes Guitars
I'll let route66don, the eBay seller of this bizarrely-shaped Route 66 guitar, tell you all about it:
Unique one-of-a-kind route 66 guitar made as a showpiece for us by Doug Wilkes of Wilkes Guitars of Stoke on Trent, UK in the mid 1980s. Built to the highest spec it has a maple body and neck with an unbound phenolic resin fingerboard with side dots, EMG active vintage style strat pickups, Leo Quan Badass bridge/tailpiece and vintage Kluson Sealfast nickel banjo style machine heads. It sounds and plays great although the shape is of course somewhat clumsy to hold. Used but in very good condition. Paintwork has 'yellowed' a little and it has 2 tiny dings on the top of the '66' horns. Comes complete with a pro quality foam lined aluminium flight case by T&D cases of Hull. For sale due to my retirement at £1000.
I'm guessing his band was called "Route 66". It's just a hunch I have. [Edit: it looks more likely that "Route 66" was the name of his music shop - see the comments below.] And when he says it's "somewhat clumsy to hold" I think he means it's not very ergonomic.The banjo-style machine heads are a nice touch though.

Doug Wilkes, of course, is a luthier never afraid to experiment; regular readers might recall Wilkes' "The Answer" guitar with sliding pickups.

The Route 66 guitar is currently being offered for sale on eBay UK with a starting bid of £1,000.

Of course we've previously looked at another completely different Route 66 guitar. Curiously, it is also UK-made.

G L Wilson

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

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Grab your sunglasses: 1955 Harmony Stella Sundale acoustic guitar
I often wish that contemporary acoustic guitar designs featured more interesting finishes. Usually if it isn't a natural finish, the most outlandish you can find is a completely black acoustic guitar - or else a pink one for girls.

Just look at this Stella Sundale by Harmony from 1955. Now there's a guitar that's going to get the player noticed with its grey finish emblazoned by what looks like an inverted yellow Christmas tree on the guitar's top. According to the eBay seller, "this was an art-deco series put out by Harmony in the mid-late 1950s, and this is the rarest model, as it was only offered in 1955." I've certainly seen photos of other Harmony/Stella guitars from this period with interesting coloured finishes, but this Sundale has to be the most eye-catching.

These guitars are not known for their fantastic acoustic response or particularly great playability, but as an affordable guitar for the masses they are still remembered fondly by many; some players even prefer their idiosyncratic qualities for rough and ready blues playing.

This example with original hard case is currently listed for sale on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $550.

G L Wilson

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

Sunday 10 March 2013

Matsumoku-made Aria Pro II Titan Artist series TA-30 semi

...speaking of Japanese guitars, here is one that is much more affordable than the guitar in the previous post, in fact I would recommend this as my eBay Buy of the Month because I have been using one of these very same guitars as my main instrument for a while now and think that it is a superb guitar. It's one of my favourite guitars ever and I don't make that claim lightly - I was trying to work out the other day how many guitars I have owned and it must be at least 60.

Anyway, this is a 1980s-era Aria Pro II TA-30, but please do not confuse these with the later Korean-made TA-40 guitars which also had a bolt-on neck. The TA-30 is a quality Japanese guitar made in the now legendary Matsumoku factory and is far superior in construction, materials, and in playability. (It absolutely nails that Creedence Clearwater Revival sound, if that frame of reference is any use to you!) The Korean-made TA-40 is not a bad guitar but the cheaper laminates that it is made from mean that it has a tendency to sound rather boxy.

The Japanese and Korean TAs do look very similar but there are various little details that help you tell them apart. For example, the Japanese TAs have a much slimmer body if viewed sideways-on - it's about a centimetre difference. Also, the f-holes are much more slender and ornate, whereas the Korean examples have more of a "cookie cutter" outline. The Japanese examples are often fitted with those tulip-shaped machine heads too.

Contrary to popular belief and numerous eBay listings for these guitars, both Japanese and Korean, the TA-30 and TA-40 are not "335-style". For starters the shape is slimmer and nowhere near as rounded as the Gibson guitar, but more tellingly they have fully hollow bodies and not a solid centre section as on the 335 (that's what makes it a 335).

Currently listed on eBay UK with a starting price of £150. That is an absolute bargain for a Matsumoku-made guitar of this quality. If I was in need of a back-up for my main guitar I'd certainly bid but right now I have other priorities.

G L Wilson

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

Saturday 9 March 2013

2001 ESP KH-2 Kirk Hammett Signature relic guitar, #18 of 100
Legions of Metallica fans will probably want to lynch me, but I'm sorry, it has to be said...
HOW MUCH for a Japanese-made Super-Strat?
Currently listed on eBay UK with a Buy It Now price of £3,999.99.


[NOTE: I have nothing against Japanese guitars. In fact I think they often represent the very finest production-made guitars on the planet, and I have owned many. What I am really astonished at here, is the super-inflated price for a guitar that is essentially a "super-strat", just a very basic guitar. I'd like to know how that price tag is justified. Is this actually the recommended selling price (in which case in seems that Metallica fans are being ripped off big time) or is it a price that has been created by demand?]

G L Wilson

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

Thursday 7 March 2013

FMW luthier-built Ricky-inspired bass through neck with lucite wings
This unique FMW bass by Berlin luthier Frank M. Weber is quite a stunner. It's obviously based around the Rickenbacker 4000 series basses, is of walnut and maple through-neck construction with see-through luctite body wings. The body is equipped with 8 white LEDs to illuminate the see-through sections. It also has LED position markers mounted into the top edge of the ebony fingerboard. Pickups are "Harry Häussel" Bass Bars.

Currently listed on eBay France with a Buy It Now price of €1500.

G L Wilson

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

Wednesday 6 March 2013

The Strawbs "Shine On Silver Sun" and a Vox Winchester

Further to our previous post, here is a 1973 clip from BBC TV's Top Of The Pops featuring The Strawbs performing "Shine On Silver Sun" with guitarist Dave Lambert playing his Vox Winchester, which - as we have already seen - has a body made from a Vox wah-wah pedal.

Note that his Winchester features two pickups rather than the single pickup we looked at in the previous post. Also, the neck has a different headstock, implying these were assembled from whatever Vox parts were lying around.

G L Wilson

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

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Vox Winchester guitar has metal body made from Wah Wah pedal chassis
Talk about re-cycling ... and you thought that Fender's recycled parts Swinger and Maverick models were quirky! I think that the above photos of this rare 1960s British-made Vox Winchester guitar speak volumes. Do I really have to add anything? Other than perhaps to draw your attention to the really weird positioning of the volume pot in a window in the rear of the guitar! (If it IS a volume pot as the eBay seller suggests. See the Dave Lambert link below.)

Currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $2499. Thanks to Nathan for bringing this guitar to my attention. Nathan points out that Dave Lambert of the Strawbs owns an example.

G L Wilson

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

Monday 4 March 2013

Hofner Shorty - the little guitar that is ripe for modding
This eBay UK seller, impressed with the quality and playability of Hofner's inexpensive little travel guitar, the Hofner Shorty, has modded seven of them installing the Wilkinson WVS50 two-point trem system on each, and made them available for sale on eBay with a Buy It Now price of £175 a piece.

He makes a very good case for the playability and versatility of these babies, as evidenced in the above video.

Meanwhile, another modder has routed out the body of his Hofner Shorty, reinstalled a new top and bridge, and with the help of piezo pickups and a little technology has converted it into a quite convincing sounding electro-acoustic guitar for busking.

G L Wilson

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

Kay strat copy with flowery custom paint

Sometimes there is a thin nuance between psychedelic / flower power patterns and your grand mother's favorite summer dress...

Look at this refinished Kay strat copy from the 1980s, does it sing about universal peace and free love or does it ask you to put the teapot cover on and take the scones out of the oven?

Bertram D

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

Saturday 2 March 2013

Gibson SG Special 3SC

Yeah, I know, it's a Gibson SG and it has 3 blade single coil pickups, it exists, it's real, it's the Gibson SG Special 3SC - a 2007 limited edition -, and I show it here just for its plain oddity! 

Well, maybe it's also a good guitar!

Bertram D

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

Friday 1 March 2013

Kramer KL8 bass - aluminium neck and eight strings
It always kind of annoyed me that no-one seriously took notice of Kramer guitars until Eddie Van Halen started using them, mainly because by this time - in my eyes - they had stopped being cool by abandoning the aluminium necks that made their early instruments so very interesting in the first place. The company was founded in the late 1970s by Dennis Berardi, Gary Kramer and Phillip J. Petillo and produced their first aluminium necked guitars in 1976 from a plant in Neptune, New Jersey. They switched to producing more generic wooden-necked guitars in 1981. Notably, Gary Kramer, had left the company by this point.

Unlike Travis Bean guitars and basses, Kramer's aluminium neck was basically a T-shape in cross section with a fillet of timber to either side so as the give warmth to the back of the neck against the player's hand. Kramer produced more basses in their early period of metal-necked instruments in a ratio of approximately 4:1, mainly because bassists for some reason seem to be more willing to experiment with new ideas than guitarists (which is something I have often complained about - c'mon guitarists, stop being so conservative!).

The above-pictured Kramer KL-8 bass is an 8-stringed beauty (OK, it's only strung with 4 strings in the photo, no need to point that out in the comments), has a pair of DiMarzio pickups and a whole bevy of switching options. Note the wooden inserts (looks to be walnut, maybe?) in the back of the neck. Note the four machine heads at the body end for the octave strings. This concept of tuners at both ends of the instrument was also used around the same time on 12-string guitars and 8-string basses built by the likes of Wasburn and BC Rich (also 10-string guitars in the latter case). Actually, speaking of BC Rich, the whole design is rather reminiscent of their guitars; only the forked headstock gives the game away that it's a Kramer.

The eBay seller has listed this bass as being from the 1980s, but I think it's more likely to be 1970s, although conceivably it may have been from the last year of production of aluminium necks in 1980.

Currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $1,500.

G L Wilson

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