1964 Gibson Melody Maker
Very many guitar players of the 1960s started out on a Gibson Melody Maker; they were indeed fine guitars for the price: high quality wood, a desirable nitrocellulose finish, but with simple electronics, resulting in a lightweight, easy playing, great sounding instrument, but with less tonal range than higher end instruments. Simple, lightweight and pretty effective. The body design did change over the years, and there are three main Melody Maker phases: initially a single-cutaway Les Paul style, then the double cutaway as shown here, and finally the same body shape as the SG series of guitars.
The Gibson workmanship, materials, construction and finish are every bit as good as many higher end guitars - these were made in the Gibson Kalamazoo plant alongside the SG, Les Paul and ES335 guitars - but without expensive inlays and binding, and using simple controls and cheaper, plastic covered single coil pickups. Just like the majority of 1960s Gibson solid bodies, the Melody Maker was all-mahogany (South American), with a set (glued in) neck. The typical Gibson look is completed with a nitrocellulose sunburst finish. Production costs were kept down by giving these guitars a slightly narrower headstock (most Gibson guitars have two extra glued-on wings to give extra width to the headstock), body routing on the front only, and simplified controls which could be assembled away from the guitar itself. Combined with simple single ply plastic parts and a lower-cost hardware, such as the PU380 Melody Maker pickup, the 1964 Melody maker had a zone 1 price of $127.50, or $146.50 with Gibson GV19 vibrola. By comparison, a single pickup SG Junior was $165 (or $184 with vibrola) at this time.
From the 1964 Gibson catalogue
Greatest value ever in a solid body electric with full-sized neck and scale length. Acclaimed by players. teachers and students for its fine sound. Big tone, sensitive pick-up, feather-light touch and beautiful sunburst finish.
The Gibson Melody Maker was produced in large numbers between 1959 and 1970, with almost 25000 single-pickup Melody Makers produced in this time. In 1964 alone 3685 of them were shipped - the second highest shipping figure after 1965 (see the full Gibson Melody Maker shipping figures).
Melody Maker controls, as described above, are scratchplate mounted. The circuitry is very simple; just a volume and tone control respectively parts BA811 3701 and BA811 3707. In the guitar shown the pots are made by Centralab (they start with the code 134) and are dated to August / September 1964.
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