Saturday, 22 March 2014

Your guitars: a Russian-made Stella guitar - inside and out

Hi, Gavin,

I'm following Guitarz blog for quite some time and I have the guitar you already posted but I find it just too interesting not to send you more info and pics on it, in case you want to post it.
It's Russian Stella electric guitar, made in 1979. A friend of mine had it for years in his closet, looks almost brand new, and decided to give it to me. I opened it up and took bunch of pictures - it's quite a crazy guitar.

Its made in Rostov Na Donu in the USSR in 1979 then put together in 1980 - at least judging from labels I found inside on piece of deteriorating paper. It cost 210 Rubelj, and it says so on plate on back of the guitar :)  Finish is the weirdest thing I've seen (but not weirdest part of the guitar) - you need a bloody axe to chip it, it's just impervious. Thus, the wood remains a mystery. Neck is stable but the frets...made of brass and pretty much rectangular. 

What's weirdest are the electronics - seems they took guts from old TVs or radios and accommodate them for guitar - looks like a jungle in there - mind you, they are done VERY neatly, check the photos - little knots that hold wires together etc. And of course, the goodies: stereo output, phase outs and all other mysterious switches and pots. 

Sound is actually very good if you manage to find right combination of switch positions and volume pots - which is, due to possible combinations, almost random - you flick first one up and third one down, open this and that volume and you get awesome tone, then you flick something else and it sounds like mosquito. And electronics are quiet, specially considering how much is going on. I got myself made a Y-cable with 5-din input on one end and two 1/4" input-jacks to which I plug the normal guitar cables - this way I get stereo output and can also hook up two amps.
Check this great video I found on youtube out, it explains much:

Vibrato bar is sadly missing, but seems it's there for the looks only - it does nothing. The metal thing just above the bridge is string dampener (foam is missing) which is lifted by pulling it up and it is retained there by springs underneath it. 
Tuners are horrible, you can wiggle them left and right, bridge is quite the same. But overall, the shape is one of most pleasant shapes I've ever hold, neck is chunky just enough, the emerald green pickguard is great.
Once I will deal with frets, tuners and bridge, and maybe shield electronics, it will be one spiffy guitar.

Thanks for reading, 

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1 comment:

  1. Terrific guitar and well detailed and photos. Great restoration project.



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