Have a look at some of the more recent additions to this site below.
Not to be confused with the Gibson ES Artist launched by Gibson in 1979; this ES Artist was an early model designed by the Gibson research and development team in Kalamazoo in 1977, the instruments themselves constructed by Gibson artist Chuck Burge. It was planned for launch as a high end semi acoustic with 335-style construction (central maple block) and innovative circuitry - but was pulled at the last minute, being deemed too expensive. Apparently, several examples were produced with varying specifications, though exactly how many actually left the Kalamazoo plant is unclear. Certainly two guitars were sold to LaVonne Music by Gibson in around 1980. Read more about the development of this guitar, with details from Chuck Burge and the story of it's sale to LaVonne music
The Hofner Committee was a truly beautiful guitar produced in Germany, primarily for the UK market. It was a large bodied (initially 17 1/2") guitar with a carved spruce top, available as an acoustic or electric guitar. By the early sixties the carved top was replaced with a laminate, and although still a very fine guitar, the earlier carved top examples, with frondose headstock (like the example shown here) are far more highly prized amongst musicians and vintage guitar collectors.
The Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean, or model 6119 was Gretsch's best selling hollow body of the 1960s. This wonderfully faded example from 1965 was originally Dark Cherry Red, but has turned a mid-orange brown. The original color, however, can be seen underneath the pickup surrounds. 1965 specs: maple body, two-piece neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard and Hi-Lo 'Tron single coil pickups. Nickel plated Gretsch Bigsby tailpiece.
The 1965 Gretsch catalog, or catalog #32, featured 10 hollow body electric guitars, including the newly launched Gretsch Viking; four solid body electrics, including the Astro Jet - making it's only catalog appearance; just one bass, the single pickup PX6070; nine acoustics and 12 tube amplifiers. Pride of place went to the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman that adorned both the front and back covers. 24 pages, six of which are in full color.
Loose frets are especially problematic in certain old guitars, but are generally very easy to fix. You'll be amazed at the difference you can make with just a few tools, a bit of knowledge, and a little time. Fixing loose frets can eliminate fret buzz, remove sharp fret ends, and greatly improve the tone of any guitar. If your luthier bill will be greater than the value of your guitar, definitely time to have a go yourself!
Hagstrom guitars were distributed in the mid-1960s United States by Merson of USA. This eight page 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog, printed in two-colors contained six solid body electrics, three solid body basses, two electric acoustic guitars, two electric acoustic basses and five acoustics.
The President was produced by Hofner in Bubenreuth, Germany, specifically for Selmer, who distributed the brand in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other commonwealth nations. The President was a hollow body electric acoustic, available as a full body or thinline, and with blonde or brunette finish. It was a great playing guitar that sold fairly well in the second half of the 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and into the very early 1970s. The example shown here is a full-body depth guitar in blonde - and as a 1965 guitar, one of the last to feature the rounded Venetian cutaway. From late 1965 until 1972, the President sported a sharp Florentine cut. Naturally, such an electric acoustic suggests jazz and blues, but many of the original British Hofner President players were part of the rock 'n roll, skiffle and beat scenes of the late 50s and early 60s.
"The Choice of Professional and Student Musicians Everywhere" This eight page catalogue was included as an insert in the 1963 annual "school music" issue of Downbeat magazine (September 1963). As well as keyboards and pedal steels, this catalog contains seven guitars, three basses and ten amplifiers - from student guitars such as the Musicmaster and Duotone to professional models like the new Jaguar.
The newly designed Les Paul Recording guitar was released in 1971, in many ways as an updated version of the Les Paul Professional that had debuted two years earlier in 1969. The new guitar came with a new owners manual explaining the (somewhat complicated) controls, their operation, and giving other specifications, including recommended strings, action and control settings. Compare with the broadly similar owners manual for the Les Paul Personal / Professional
The Les Paul Triumph bass, like the Les Paul Recording guitar was first shipped in 1971, but was based on a slightly older model, the 1969 Les Paul Bass. Functionally, these basses were very similar, although the Triumph did offer low and high impedance operation, without the need for a transformer cable. This owners manual details the basses specifications, suggests a string set, recommended action, and suggests a series of tonal settings for rock, country and solo bass playing.
20 pages, black and white with color front cover. In the middle of 1981, Rosetti took over distribution of the Gibson line in the UK. Rosetti were a very big name in Britain, having distributed Epiphone since at least 1963, as well as Hagstrom and others. This catalogue was produced at the tail end of 1981, and introduces a number of models to the UK, such as the MV-II, MV-X guitars and the Victory basses, the GGC-700 and the Flying V bass. Some of these models were so short-lived that they were actually never included in US brochures. The cover image (reproduced in part here) showed some of the earliest demonstration models, including a Victory with a highly unusual white scratchplate.
A closer look at a 1981 Gibson Victory MV-II electric guitar. The Gibson Victory MV, or 'Multi-Voice' guitars had very wide tonal palettes; with coil-tapped humbuckers they could produce typical Gibson tones, but were also designed to 'out-Fender' Fender. Two models were launched in the summer of 1981. Whilst the MVX, was designed to do everything a Stratocaster could do, the MVII was 'primarily for the discerning country player' - placing it squarely against the Telecaster.
Gibson produced a series of single sheet flyers in 1982, promoting some of their newer models (Victory bass and Multi-Voice guitars, Chet Atkins Classic Electric and the already best-selling Sonex-180 Deluxe), and a few classic reissues (30th anniversary Les Paul Standard and Heritage Flying V) - all of which were received with some applause at the 1982 Atlanta NAMM show. These flyers all contained one or more side-panel, that folded out with model specifications, but were also designed to be reproduced in guitar magazines of the time without the extra fold out.
The Clubman was one of the earliest UK-built guitars produced by Vox at it's Dartford plant. As an entry level model it was very light, fitted with the most basic components, and not made of the most select woods, but it's unique styling, low price and easy playability made for a relatively popular guitar. Initially there were two guitar models, the single pickup Clubman I and dual pickup Clubman II, and a companion Clubman bass - check them out in the 1962 Vox catalogue. The guitar was redesigned in the middle of 1963, getting a new Strat-style body, but examples with the older body style were still being shipped perhaps as early as the start of 1964.
The Vox Consort was produced in the UK throughout the mid 1960s; originally modelled on the Fender Jaguar, it was one of JMI's better quality instruments, with many features not seen on lower-priced guitars. This early example mixed innovative tone circuitry with Vox's original chrome-covered V1 pickups, for "every possible variation of tone from bass to sharp brilliance". By the middle of 1963, the model had been redesigned, becoming less Fender-esque and more Vox - have a look at the redesigned Consort in the 1963 Vox catalogue
The 1965/1966 Selmer guitar catalogue contained guitars by a number of different makers imported for the UK market, the most numerous being German-made Hofner electrics, acoustics and basses. There is also a fairly large Gibson section, but it by no means contains all instruments produced under that brand at the time. Other instruments featured include guitars and basses by Hagstrom and Futurama, and Brazilian acoustic guitars by Giannini. 44 pages, with UK pricing in guineas.
A recollection of life inside JMI's two UK Vox factories in Dartford: Dartford Road, and West Street, Erith, circa 1965/66; building Vox solid body guitars; working on special instruments including a highly ornate Vox Soundcaster for the Royal family and a five-string Symphonic bass for the Hollies; plus sharing your sandwiches with Bill Wyman! By Tony Russell.
A closer look at a 1962 Hofner Verithin electric acoustic guitar, in translucent cherry red finish. The Verithin was Hofner's thinline model, produced in Germany for Selmer in the UK, and aimed at capturing the desire for the highly desireable, but largely unaffordable Gibson ES series thinline models. They were good quality, well-built, lightweight instruments, and very popular in early 1960s Britain.
The Gibson Sonex series pre-owners 'manual' was produced for circulation in early summer 1981, along with nine other manuals representing different segments available from Gibson at that time. Rather than a manual in the conventional sense, it is actually a mini folder with three loose-leaf inserts with catalogue-style image and description, one each for the 180 Deluxe, 180 Custom, and a new model, the Sonex Artist. The Sonex-180 Standard was not included, having been dropped from the Gibson line earlier in 1981.
Gibson Sonex series owners manual - 16 pages of information for the care and operation of the Gibson Sonex guitar: pickups, electronics, controls, coil tap, tune-o-matic bridge, tailpiece and stringing. Pertains to the Sonex-180 Deluxe, Standard and Custom models.
A closer look at a 1982 Gibson Sonex-180 Deluxe solid body electric, in Candy Apple Red finish. The Sonex series consisted of four models altogether, all made with the same 'multiphonic' bodies, but varying hardware. The bodies had a maple core, enclosed in a material called resonwood, for "extraordinary sustain and harmonic reproduction". The Deluxe was the most basic model with reasonable pickups and hardware, but they were good looking guitars, affordable, solid, and with the Gibson logo on the headstock.
Original vintage catalogue scan. Harmony produced regular full-colour catalogues throughout the 1960s, but because these catalogues were released pretty much annually, there were only incremental changes from year to year, sometimes the only differences were the prices listed within. 1965 was an absolute boom time for American guitar manufacture, and this catalogue includes most of the best-known Harmony models: Rocket, Meteor, Silhouette, H75/H76/H77/H78, but it is the last publicity for the Stratotone guitars which were phased out later that year.
The Symphonic bass was one of the models produced by JMI in the UK, primarily for the early sixties British market. It was comparatively high priced, still cheaper in the UK than the Fender Precision that it was emulating, but not by much, and actually more expensive in the USA. It only sold in small numbers in Britain and barely at all overseas. No equivalent model was produced in Italy, and although it remained in UK price lists as late as 1967, it is unlikely many instruments were shipped beyond 1965.
This early Vox brochure comes from summer 1963, still the early days of JMI production, and shortly before the beat boom of the mid 1960s. At this time, Vox guitars were built in the UK, primarily for the British market. The company had refined it's production methods, to some extent, and many of the guitars shown are quite different from those in the Choice of the Stars catalogue from late 1962. Includes primarily Vox solid body guitars, basses and amplifiers. See other Vox catalogue scans here.
The Hagstrom Hagstrom HIIN was first produced towards the end of 1969, as a direct descendant of the HII and HIII models of the mid to late 1960s. It shared the same body shape, construction and materials of the older models, but with improved pickups and electronics. This model, the HIIN-OT, had no tremolo, rather a stop tailpiece, but was otherwise identical to the HIIN. With the famous Hagstrom low action, this is a very playable guitar, rightly well-regarded by musicians to this day.
The 1960 Selmer guitar catalogue featured a whole range of acoustic, electric semi-acoustic, and solid body guitars manufactured by Hofner. There were also a small number of Hofner-made (but Selmer branded) acoustic guitars, Futurama branded solid bodies, and a Futurama electric upright bass. From the very fine (and even shorter lived) Golden Hofner, to the budget Selmer 222 flat top. Monochrome, 32 pages
Goya was well-known for it's acoustic guitars, produced by Levin in Sweden; but in the mid 1960s they added a number of Italian-built electric guitars and basses. Semi-acoustic models such as the 105, 107 and 109 Rangemaster guitars and Panther II bass were made by Polverini, whilst solid body models 116 and 118 were made by Galanti. These were well-built good quality instruments, but perhaps too expensive to sell in large numbers.
The Vox Ace was one of the early UK-designed Vox guitars produced by JMI in Dartford, Kent. It had been in production since at least 1962, but was redesigned for late 1963 with a more current look and a higher quality feel. The pickups were upgraded, as was the body; it was now thicker and made of solid wood. Despite this the guitar was now actually lighter in weight, due to a shorter overall length. Have a closer look at a sunburst-finished Vox Ace from 1965.
The Mustang bass debuted in 1966 as (along with the Coronado) Fender's first shortscale bass, however the Competition finishes were not seen until 1969. It was effectively the same instrument, with sports stripes, and initially a matching coloured headstock. The competition colours were Red, Orange and Blue (although blue was officially called Burgundy). Have a closer look at this 1969 Fender and check out the soundclips through various vintage amplifiers.
Contrasting two very different bass guitars from the late 1960s. For the first decade of bass production Gibson had always produced shorter scale bass guitars, whilst Fender only produced long scale models. This post looks at one Gibson far better known as a shorty, the EB-3 (or EB-3L as longscale models were known), and the Fender's first (along with the Coronado) shortscale, the Mustang bass. Each bass has it's own strengths (and shortcomings), and both are desired today by collectors and musicians alike. Plus a look at my new restoration project, a 1961 Gibson SG Special.
This is one of the earliest JMI catalogues to show guitars, and although undated it was most likely printed in late 1962 or early 1963. There are many well-known Vox guitar and amplifier models shown, amongst several that would be completely redesigned before appearing again; the most interesting examples are perhaps the Phantom I and Phantom II which are electronically quite distinct from the Phantom that would follow a little later. The Vox Escort and Vox Soloist only appear in this brochure, being deleted before the next was printed in mid-1963.
The Vox Ace was available from at least 1962 and at least as late as 1966, however it underwent a significant redesign in mid 1963; the result bearing little resemblance to the initial design. Two early Vox Ace guitars are shown on this site: they are hard to date accurately, but the first is perhaps a 1962 Vox Ace, the second slightly later, probably an early 1963 Vox Ace. Although still one of Vox's earliest guitar models, the Vox Ace was a noticeable step up from other well-known early Vox guitars such as the Vox Shadow and Vox Stroller. It sold relatively well in the UK in the early 1960s, but in the latter half of the decade was overshadowed by more iconic models, such as the Vox Phantom and Mark (teardrop) series
The Vox Shadow was produced in the very early 1960s as a result of JMIs endorsement by UK band the Shadows. Guitarist Hank Marvin was one of the most respected players in the country, playing one of the earliest Japanese guitars, the Guyatone (sometimes branded Antoria) LG50, and later a Fiesta red Fender Stratocaster. This early example of the Shadow is effectively a copy of the forementioned LG50; despite being pretty basic, this model must have caused a lot of interest in the days before US guitars were routinely imported into the UK. Shortly afterwards the Shadow was redesigned along the lines of Hanks new Stratocaster; compare this Vox to a later 1963 Strat-styled Vox Shadow.
In 1972 Gibson produced a series of 'Guitar of the Month' brochures, each dedicated to one of their high end models, the Les Paul Recording guitar, L5-CES, ES-175D, Super 400-CES, ES-355TD-SV and Byrdland. Each brochure was a single sheet folded into four panels, with details of the instruments themselves, their features, musical purpose, and a little history behind the development of each guitar. Only the Les Paul Recording was a new model; the others were all well established in the Gibson line. Follow the link to see scans and further information on these leaflets and other Gibson guitar catalogues from the CMI and Norlin periods.
The earliest versions of the Vox Stroller were actually copies of an early Japanese electric guitar, the Guyatone (also sold under the brand Antoria) LG50. These Strollers, although short-lived did undergo a few changes before taking on the more familiar Strat influenced style of many mid-sixties UK-built Vox guitars. The biggest difference between early and late LG50-style Strollers (and the two pickup version, the Shadow) was the larger pickup, a shade longer, but noticeably wider used in the very first Vox guitars. Compare this early Vox to a 1963 Stroller with the later V1 pickup. For more information about Vox guitar pickups in general, see the Vox guitar pickups page.
In the current financial climate, selling an old guitar; perhaps one that's been hanging around in a cupboard, unplayed and unloved, might seem like a good idea. But with some guitars seemingly worth nothing, and others worth tens of thousands, it can be very hard for the average person to know what to do. So how do you know whether that old guitar has any value? And what's the best way to sell it? We answer some of these questions in a three-part series How to sell a vintage guitar online. Part 1: Identifying the guitar is very important; you need to know what you are selling, and this article gives some tips especially if the instrument has few markings. Part 2, Finding out what your guitar is worth gives some ideas on approximate valuation, whilst part 3, Advertising your guitar for sale deals with good practise in creating a listing. The best time to sell your guitar is not when you are forced into it, but we hope this series will help you realise your guitars value, whilst making sure the guitar goes to a home where it is genuinely appreciated.
All fans of late 1970s Gibson guitars know about the RD Artist series of active electric guitars; a joint enterprise between two Norlin-owned companies: Gibson, and synthesizer-manufacturer Moog. But this collaboration went further than guitars; designers from the two companies also produced a superb range of solid state amplifiers, the LAB series, consisting of five guitar amplifiers, three bass amplifiers, and one keyboard amplifier. Well-respected, but today, largely ignored. This post looks at the RD Artist and the 100w LABseries L2 bass amp working together. What a combination.
But we also step back 5 years earlier, to a then-new British bass amplifier, the all-valve WEM Dominator bass MK1. Another 15 inch speaker, but this time just 15 watts. Full of dirty valve snarl, this could not be more different from the RD/LABseries L2 combination that would follow a few short years later.
But we also step back 5 years earlier, to a then-new British bass amplifier, the all-valve WEM Dominator bass MK1. Another 15 inch speaker, but this time just 15 watts. Full of dirty valve snarl, this could not be more different from the RD/LABseries L2 combination that would follow a few short years later.
The B302F is the fretless version of the Guild B302, which, along with the B301 were Guilds new bass offerings for the late 1970s. Guild hadn't really came up with a innovative bass design since the low-selling Jetstar of the mid-1960s. This is not to say they didn't make fantastic basses; far from it, but the Starfire, JS and Bluesbird (M-85) basses of the late 1960s - mid 1970s could all be said to be derivatives of designs by Gibson (the EB2, EB0/3 and Les Paul bass respectively). So the B301/302 series was something new, not just in looks; it had a new design bridge and pickups too, although the actual construction (mahogany body, set mahogany neck) was traditional Guild. This bass paved the way for many new bass designs into the 1980s, some very unusual indeed. Have a listen to this bass here.
Gibson assembled these 30 1/2" scale Kalamazoo KB-1 basses in their electronics plant in Kalamazoo, MI - separate from the main Gibson plant. They used the same components and hardware as on the Gibson EB bass series; but with a pre-painted masonite body and a bolt-on maple neck; a very different construction to Gibson's usual output. Initially the KB bass had a Mustang-shaped body (see the 1966 Kalamazoo KB-1, left), which was soon redesigned with the classic SG shape (see the 1967 Kalamazoo KB-1, right). Have a listen to sound clips of this bass here.
The Vox Stroller was the least expensive guitar produced by Vox in the early 1960s. It is a very lightweight guitar with very simple construction and controls; clearly aimed at the student players of the day. Like it's two-pickup sibling, the Vox Shadow, it was initially designed as a copy of the Guyatone / Antoria LG-50 played by Vox endorsee Hank Marvin of the Shadows, before he moved over to the Fender Stratocaster in the late 1950s.
By the middle of the 1960s, the classic Gibson SG shape, only introduced in 1961, was really starting to get noticed. George Harrison of the Beatles had been using an SG Standard, and it seemed like a good idea to offer a less expensive way to get an SG. Hence the Melody Maker was redesigned, keeping the simplified electronics and hardware of the Melody Maker, whilst taking the shape of the SG. Both had been made from South American mahogany and rosewood, so no changes were needed there. Initially these were offered in Sparkling Burgundy and Pelham Blue finishes, but as the decade drew to a close, these finishes gave way to a rather fetching translucent Walnut finish, that became very popular on Gibson guitars and basses well into the 1970s.
A closer look at a Gibson Melody maker from 1964. The Melody Maker is one of Gibson's best ever selling guitars - despite it's comparatively low price it didn't skimp on Gibson tradition: well-built instruments, constructed from the finest materials. The body and set neck are both of South American mahogany whilst the fingerboard is South American rosewood. With a sunburst nitrocellulose finish the Melody Maker certainly looked the part. In fact the Melody Maker had more in common with many higher end Gibson instruments than guitars of a similar price bracket made by other manufacturers. The circuitry was simple; just a volume and tone control for one single coil pickup. See also Gibson Melody Maker shipping figures
This was the last guitar and bass catalogue produced by Vox under the ownership of JMI. The cover features Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, playing his trademark Vox Mark VI teardrop, and features a line up of British and Italian built vox guitars and basses; Vox Phantom, Vox Mark, Vox Spitfire, Lynx, Super Lynx and the Jones' Stones colleague Bill Wymans signature Wyman Bass. Twelve pages.
Details and information on the Kalamazoo KG2a electric guitar. The beat boom of the mid 1960s heralded a huge demand for electric guitars; youngsters up and down America were looking for affordable, well-built solid-bodies, with modern looks and a great sound. Gibson, better known for it's high-end jazz guitars, responded by producing the KG guitar and KB bass lines, under the Kalamazoo brand. They were initially modelled on the Fender Mustang, though soon took the shape of the Gibson SG, which was rapidly rising in popularity. The resulting instruments used modern composite wood technology, Fender style construction and actual Gibson hardware. They looked good, played well, and sold in large quantities. See also Kalamazoo KG shipping figures, a 1966 Kalamazoo KG1 (single pickup) and listen to the Kalamazoo KG soundclips.
The Hagstrom Coronado is one of the most distinctive bass guitars ever manufactured; the quirky controls, 32" scale, and unique shape. The body and neck are mahogany, but with bolt on construction. This 1966 Coronado is one of the later guitars, so does not have the Hagstrom Bi-Sonic pickups, but it is still a great sounding, and highly playable bass. Check out the short Hagstrom Coronado bass sound clips on this site.
Vox catalogues were issued in different parts of the world representing the products available in that region. Guitars and amps were made across three continents throughout the 1960s, but this early JMI newsletter/catalogue was aimed at the British market, and showed guitars and amplifiers available in the United Kingdom. Most are British made, although there are electric acoustics imported from the Italian guitar builder Crucianelli, and some of the solid body guitars are fitted with Italian-made (Eko) necks. Also shows British-built Vox amps, and acessories. Eight pages
Pictures, description and soundclips from a 1973 Fender Musicmaster bass. The Musicmaster bass changed very little between it's introduction in 1970, and it's deletion in the early 1980s. Although often regarded as a student bass, the Musicmaster was of high enough quality, both in terms of components and build, to sell to student guitarists and more advanced players looking for an affordable shortscale bass.
The specifications and features of certain Vox guitars were somewhat fluid throughout the course of their production. The Vox Shadow had two pickups at this stage (see other Vox Shadow versions); and is made of a lightweight laminate wood rather than the solid mahogany used on the three pickup Vox Shadow from 1964.
Hagstrom made the hollow-body Concord bass (initially named the Hagstrom Viking bass) from 1965 until 1971. Hollow body basses were very popular during the mid 1960s, with models such as the Gibson EB2, Epiphone Rivoli, Fender Coronado and Guild Starfire basses all capturing the mood of the times. Hagstrom guitars and basses were, of course, built in Sweden, and this was their first hollow-body bass. Check out the short Hagstrom Concord bass sound clips on this site.
Vox made several different guitars with the name Shadow (other Vox Shadow versions); this one from 1964 has a Fender-style mahogany body and three single-coil pickups. Like previous versions of the Vox Shadow, this guitar was meant to resemble the guitar of Shadows guitarist Hank Marvin (who was playing a red Fender Stratocaster at the time). Many a British guitarist learnt on a guitar like this, but although functional, these all-British built Vox's were not up to the standard of the Phantom or Mark series. There are a few short Vox Shadow sound clips.
Early seventies British valve amplifier, fitted with one 12" speaker. This is a small 5 watt practice amp, but with some great tones. Page update includes pictures and short demonstration soundclips recorded with various vintage guitars: 1967 Fender Coronado, 1968 Hagstrom H12, 1969 Gibson SG Special, 1976 Gibson L-6S Custom.
Gibson / Monzino guitar catalogue, 1971. America saw numerous promotional publications from Gibson in the first years of the 1970s, but new models were coming and going at such a rate, that some never made it into print. Just one US catalogue was printed in 1971: the Low Impedance for High Performance mini-catalogue, which contained just the Gibson Les Paul Recording guitar, and the Gibson Les Paul Triumph bass. However other countries were producing their own literature, capturing a snapshot of the Gibson range not seen in print in the US. This brochure was printed by the new Italian distributors, Monzino, and shows several instruments yet to be seen in US catalogues (the SG range in particular) and one that would never make it: the Gibson SB400 bass.
The 1966 Supro guitar, bass and amplifier catalogue ran to just 8 pages, and featured featured the Supro Arlington, Supro Lexington and Supro Normandy solid body ranges, the Supro Stratford, Supro Carlisle, Supro Clermont, Supro Croydon thin lines, and two basses, the Supro Pocket bass and the Supro Taurus bass. There were also 14 different Supro amplifiers.
The Gibson Victory MV (multi-voice) guitars were launched towards the end of 1981, with a production period lasting just over two years. There were two models, the Gibson Victory MV2 and the Gibson Victory MVX. Both were very fine passive guitars with maple bodies and set maple necks. They had coil-tapped pickups for either humbucking or single coil sounds, but neither managed to give Gibson the Victory they required in terms of sales.
Entitled Fine Electric Instruments, the 1964 1965 Fender catalogue was circulated from mid 1964, and despite being just eight pages long, contained a large number of guitars, amplifiers and other instruments. This was the first catalogue to show the new Fender Mustang guitar, which was available in normal or 3/4 scale at that time. This catalogue was included in the 1964 annual guitar issue of Down Beat magazine (July), massively increasing the potential readership, both in America and worldwide.
With 'Beatlemania' and the 'British Invasion' firmly underway, Vox needed a US distributor for it's products. Enter the Thomas Organ Company. This 1965 Vox guitar and amp catalogue was the first issued by the Thomas Organ company for the US market. It features a few Italian-made guitars, as well as a lot of British made ones. In contrast, the next catalogue features almost exclusively Italian instruments.
The Vox Bassmaster was one of numerous early Vox guitars styled, at least vaguely, on Fender instruments. As an entry level bass it wasn't bad. It had a very thin neck, and along with it's short, 30" scale, made an ideal students bass. It was British made, but a forerunner to later Italian models. Have a look at a 1963 Vox Bassmaster, and a 1965 Vox Bassmaster, with sound clips.
The Gibson SG came in several varieties; and the Special is a typical 60s Gibson in many ways. Naturally, it has a mahogany body with a set mahogany neck, in true Gibson style. The pickups are typical Gibson single coil P90s, and the control layout, too, is classic Gibson. Have a closer look, or check out the SG Special soundclips of this guitar, through various vintage amps.
A closer look at a 1979 Gibson ES-175D. By the late 1970s, the ES-175D had followed the path of most Gibson guitars and changed it's mahogany neck, in favour of a maple neck with volute. It didn't last long, and the neck was again mahogany by 1983. Details of the changes in the ES-175D over time are detailed in the ES-175 timeline.
Details of this sixties hollowbody, with two new photosets: a 1962 ES-125TC and a 1966 ES-125TC. The ES-125TC was a thinline version of the ES-125, only available from 1960 until 1970, changing very little in that time. Gibson shipped over 5000 of them in that time (and another 5000 two-pickup versions, the ES-125TDC).
Details, images and sound clips of the Hagstrom III solid body electric. Also known as the H3, and in the United States, the F300. There are obvious similarities to a Fender Stratocaster, but this guitar does have it's own character: in feel, playability and tone. Hagstrom made some very nice guitars!
Details and images of the VOX Ultrasonic XII V275. The Ultrasonic XII was a late sixties Vox twelve string based on the six string Ultrasonic V268. Both had the same built-in electronic effects: distortion, wah-wah, repeater and treble/bass boost (listen to Ultrasonic sound clips). Differences between the two models are very subtle; really just a different headstock shape to accomodate the extra strings. This is one of the late sixties Vox guitars made at the E.M.E factory in Recanati, in Italy, primarily for export to the American market.
Vox guitar and bass pickups of the 1960s were all of relatively simple single-coil design. The first produced were British-made, and these appeared on all the early British models: The Clubman bass, the Bassmaster, and the Phantom bass. Later models were made in Italy, along with the guitars themselves, and these were largely for the American market, under the distribution of the Thomas Organ company.
This interesting guitar tuition book featuring the Shadows, is peppered with Vox guitar and amp images. The Shadows themselves used Fender guitars and Vox Amps, but the then-new Vox Phantom guitars and Phantom bass feature prominently. There are also advertisements for a selection of British-built Vox guitars, the Consort, Dominator, Super Ace and Clubman bass. This book is undated, though most likely from 1963.
A closer look at a 1976 Gibson L-6S Custom. Maple guitars were all the rage in the mid to late 1970s, and Gibson introduced several models in this vein. The Gibson L-6S range comprised three guitars, with the Custom being the top of the range. It was all Gibson: single cutaway (like a wide Les Paul), set neck, two humbuckers and a varitone switch with several distinct tones. Gibson shipped over 12000 L-6S Custom guitars between 1973 and 1979 and around a third of them were in the ebony finish shown here.
By 1970, Vox UK was owned by the Corinthian Bank, and the number of guitar models offered had been slashed drastically. gone were all the Italian Vox's; being replaced by a small number of Japanese 'lawsuit' models. This catalogue is aimed at the UK market, with prices in Sterling, and contains just three guitars: the Gibson Les Paul styled VG2, and the Gretsch Country Gentleman styled VG6 and VG4 bass. The catalogue concentrates on amplifiers: AC30, Defiant, Supreme and Foundation bass, and organs: Corinthian, Continental and Riviera.
Two new photosets of 1970s Gretsch guitars. A 1971 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman and a 1976 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman. Both guitars have that 17" maple hollowbody, maple neck and ebony fretboard. Gretsch altered models continuously, and despite having been produced just five years apart, these guitars have numerous differences in hardware. The essential Country Gent features are there in both guitars.
That Great Gretsch Sound. The 1979 Gretsch catalogue has the new Gretsch Committee on it's front cover, and features a selection of hollow, semi-hollow and solid-body guitars and basses. This was printed shortly after Chet Atkins ended his involvement with Gretsch, and although he is not mentioned explicitly, many of the models featured have some form of Chet Atkins connection, be it a name or signature-embossed scratchplate.
1965 Vox Clubman Bass. Vox is better known for it's teardrop and phantom shaped guitars, but in the mid sixties they were also producing a lot of other designs too. The clubman is simple and functional; small and light, with basic electronics and no adjustable truss rod. This was completely British-built, assembled at the Vox Dartford factory, and what many bassists cut their teeth on back in the 1960s.
Images and description of a 1966 Gibson ES-175D. Gibson's full-body jazz guitars are widely regarded, and the ES-175D is still the standard to which other manufacturers aspire. The ES-175 available today, has changed very little from the instruments of 40 years ago.
A closer look at a 1966 Epiphone Granada. The non-cutaway Granada was the Epiphone version of the Gibson E120T thinline hollowbody. Both were built side by side in Gibson's Kalamazoo plant, and were the least expensive hollowbodies in their respective ranges. Sales of the Epiphone version were never huge (see Epiphone Granada shipping figures, at least compared to the Gibson, even when an otherwise identical cutaway model, the E444TC, was added. No Gibson cutaway version was released.
A closer look at a 1967 Guild CE-100. The Capri was a full-depth archtop, and Guild's first guitar with a Florentine cutaway - and a very sucessful model too; staying in the Guild catalogue in one form or another from 1958 until 1984. Stylistic similarities between models such as the ES-125C and ES-175 can be made, but this guitar is every bit as good quality as the better known Gibsons.
A closer look at a 1976 Gibson L-6S Deluxe sporting a very nice (and quite unusual for the Deluxe) Tobacco sunburst finish. There were three versions of the Gibson L-6S: The L-6S Custom, L-6S Deluxe, and L-6S 'Midnight Special'. This was Gibson's new maple solid-body, available throughout the mid to late 1970s.
New picture set of a 1953 Guild X-175 electric acoustic guitar. 1953 was the very first year of Guild production, and in fact this was one of the first 500 instruments produced. It has a number of early features: Franz single coil pickups with black covers, very early inlays, just one volume and tone control and mahogany/maple/mahogany neck. More about the Guild X-175
New picture set of a 1967 Sunburst Gibson ES-345TD electric guitar. 1967 was the peak year for the ES-345 (see ES-345 shipping figures), and Sunburst was the most available finish, although Cherry 345s actually outsold Sunburst in '67.
Page updates for the Epiphone Constellation EA72 bass amplifier. Pictures, catalogue information, specifications and shipping figures.
Page updates for the Epiphone Sorrento 6-string thinline. New photographs of a 1966 Epiphone Sorrento thinline semi-acoustic guitar.
Page updates for the Epiphone Century 6-string thinline. Shipping totals and two new photosets. This guitar was launched in 1959 using numerous pre-merger Epiphone parts (see 1959 Epiphone Century) but by the 1960s was using the same components as the Gibson models made alongside it (see 1963 Epiphone Century).
7 inch 45 rpm promo disk for the Gibson Marauder. Unlike the earlier Les Paul Recording / Triumph Bass flexi disk, this record is vinyl with a picture sleeve. It demonstrates the Marauder's versatility, both unaccompanied, and within a band, being played by Gibson employee/jazz guitarist Bruce Bolen in a range of styles. See also the main Gibson Marauder page
This was one of the last VOX guitars of the 1960s; introduced in 1969, this Japanese-made twelve-string guitar was part of the VOX Giant range, and was an obvious copy of the Gretsch Country Gentleman, remaining true with regard controls, fingerboard inlays, gold-plated hardware and painted-on f-holes. It didn't last long, and is somewhat of a VOX rarity.
The first Gibson catalogue of the 80s was fairly substantial; 58 pages, with a different instrument on each page: 39 electrics, 10 acoustics, 4 basses, 4 banjos and a mandolin. From the prestigeous Kalamazoo Award Model to the lowly Sonex-180 Deluxe.
In 1980, Gibson launched the solid-body 335-S series; combining the familiar ES335 shape with "the playability and sustain of other legendary Gibson solid bodies". None of them sold well, and the range was dropped quickly, but today they are sparking considerable interest, from players and collectors alike. Look out for the top-of-the-range Deluxe, with it's mahogany body and neck, and bound ebony fingerboard.
Gibsons original budget brand was Kalamazoo. In the 1960s they produced several guitars and one bass; shaped like an EB0, with a mighty EB humbucker, yet half the price. No wonder over 6000 KB basses were shipped from 1966 to 1969.
This was Fenders first go at a thinline - a guitar style that had been growing in popularity throughout the 60s. The Coronado was Fenders ES335....
The Quad Reverb: 100 watt guitar amplifier with four twelve inch speakers. These amplifers were available with different speaker cones fitted. Fender, JBL D110F or Fender PS, with price rising accordingly.
1969 Fender bass catalogue, featuring 5 basses (Precision, Jazz, Telecaster bass, Coronado and Mustang), and 5 amplifiers (4 valve and one solid-state Bassmen amps.
Page update: includes parts lists, wiring diagram, catalogue apperances and more.
Page update: includes parts lists, wiring diagram, catalogue apperances and more.
The 1972 full line catalogue: guitars, basses, amplifiers, banjos, keyboards - Fenders full range from 1972. Full colour, 68 pages.
One of twelve mini-catalogues from 1970. Full colour, 12 pages. Features Gibsons range of artist instruments and electric arch-tops: Citation, Johnny Smith, Trini Lopez Deluxe, Trini Lopez Standard, Barney Kessel, Super 400-CES, L-5CES, ES-175D, ES-150DC, ES-125CD
Gibsons early eighties range, as demonstrated in this 28 page full-colour catalogue. Features selected instruments from the range of electric guitars and basses.
The 1968 full line catalogue: guitars, basses, amplifiers, banjos, keyboards - Fenders full range from 1968. Full colour, 48 pages.
The 1970 full line catalogue: guitars, basses, amplifiers, banjos, keyboards - Fenders full range from 1970. Full colour, 96 pages.
Fold-out ten sided Guild catalogue. Updates the 1970 Guild catalogue. featuring an expanded range of S series solid bodies, with the addition of the S-50 and S-90. Models are shown with new 70s styling and Guild humbuckers.
Fold-out ten sided Guild catalogue. Updates the 1969 catalogue with the new S and JS solid bodies, and the ST double florentine cutaway semi acoustics.
Fold-out eight sided Guild catalogue - solid body, acoustic and bass models from this American manufacturer. Featuring Starefires, BluesBirds, full body-depth jazz guitars and more.
'That Great Gretsch sound' - full scan of all 36 pages. Features all guitars, basses, acoustics and amplifiers produced by Gretsch at that time. Electric guitars: White Falcon, Viking, Country Gentleman, Nashville, Tennessean, Double Anniversary, Single Anniversary, Jet Fire Bird, Duo Jet, Corvette, Clipper, Rally Acoustics: Rancher, Folk, Sun Valley, Silver Classic, Eldorado, New Yorker Basses: 6071, 6073 Amplifiers: Fury, Chet Atkins, Dual Playboy, Tornado, Nashville, Rogue, Super Bass, Pro Bass, Dual Twin, Compact, Pre Amp Reverb, Deluxe Reverb.
Profile of the Hagstrom Concord semi-acoustic bass; the mid sixties bass version of the Hagstrom Viking guitar. Two models exist the C-1, and the deluxe version C-2.
Scan of the 1975 Hagstrom guitar and bass catalogue. Features the entire mid seventies Hagstrom range; HG800 (F200N), HG801, HG802 Scandia, HG803 (Swede) HG804 (Jimmy D'Aquisto) electrics, and the HB901 (F400N) and HB903 (Swede) basses.
Scan of the 1972 Hagstrom guitar and bass catalogue. Features the entire early seventies Hagstrom range; Swede, Viking, Jimmy D'Aquisto and F-200 electrics, and the Swede, F100B and F400N basses. It also includes a range of 8 acoustics.