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GIBSON | ELECTRIC ACOUSTIC | JOHNNY SMITH

Gibson Johnny Smith

Archtop electric acoustic guitar

Gibson Johnny Smith Artist D
Gibson Johnny Smith Artist D - from the 1970 Gibson electric acoustics catalogue
Gibson JSD double pickup
Gibson JSD double pickup - from the 1980 Gibson catalogue
Johnny Smith
Model: Gibson Johnny Smith JS, JS-D
Pickups: PU-122 floating humbucker, gold cover
Scale: 25"
Body: Carved spruce top, carved maple back, maple sides
Neck: Laminate maple, ebony fretboard. Pearl split block inlays, 20 frets (early examples may have 21 or 22 frets)
Hardware: Gold plated throughout. MH527V Sealfast individual tuning keys

Johnny Smith was one of the legendary jazz guitarists to emerge from the late 1940s New York jazz scene, being made famous by tracks such as Moonlight in Vermont, which he recorded with Stan Getz.

His Gibson signature guitar became commercially available from 1961, with a single pickup initially, and an optional bridge pickup from 1963. The initial (June 1961) US price was $795 for a Sunburst example, or $810 for a Natural; the most expensive guitar in the 1961 Gibson price list. The model was initially called the 'Johnny Smith model' - this was until the two pickup version was launched in '63, when, to differentiate them, the guitars were given model codes JS and JSD. But the name Johnny Smith was always present in Gibson literature. This was until the June 1976 Gibson price list - from this point onwards, and in all Gibson catalogues, the model was simply referred to as JS / JSD.

Gibson Johnny Smith shipping numbers

Between 1961 and 1979, 963 single pickup (JS), and 625 double pickup (JS-D) Johnny Smith models were produced, with approximately 20% sporting a natural finish (JS-N, JS-DN), as opposed to the standard sunburst. Peak years were 1969, then 1968, with 177 and 165 instruments shipped respectively.

The neck pickup was not mounted into the guitars top, but was attached to the neck. Likewise controls and input jack are all mounted to the scratchplate.

The J-S guitar's powerful Humbucking pickup is mounted to the neck of the instrument. This allows the acoustical body to resonate freely for a rich, full-bodied sound.

Over the period of production, there were some small changes. Early examples (see the 1962 Gibson catalogue) had 22, or possibly 21 (see the 1964 catalogue), before settling on 20 for the rest of the course of production.

One other change made in 1978 was to the 'instant adjustment' jazz tailpiece - see images above.

This guitar was still being shipped as recently as 1989.

Gibson Johnny Smith Artist D
Gibson Johnny Smith Single

from the 1988 Gibson catalog

The following description is taken from the 1970 Gibson electric acoustics catalogue

JOHNNY SMITH-D - Artist Model. This Gibson artist model offers the finest in acoustical response and electronic amplification. Humbucking pickups and electronic controls are specially mounted to produce pure tones without restricting acoustic response.

FEATURES; Carved spruce top with bound "f" holes and matched figured maple rims, neck, and carved back. Slim, fast, low action neck joins body at 14th fret. Five piece curly maple neck with adjustable truss rod. Ebony fingerboard with pearl block inlays and nickel silver frets. Special ebony bridge with slanted ebony saddle. Volume control and instrument jack mounted on pickguard. Gold-plated metal parts and machine heads. 17" wide, 20 1/2" long, 3 1/8" deep; 25" scale, 20 frets.

JS-D double pickups - Sunburst finish
JS-DN double pickups - Natural finish
JS-single pickup - Sunburst finish
JS-N single pickup - Natural finish
Complete with plush-lined case and case cover

Original Gibson Johnny Smith advertising

Electric guitar advertisements originally published from 1965 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Gibson advertisements

Gibson Johnny Smith - Three of a Kind

Gibson Johnny Smith - Three of a Kind (1965)
Advert for three Gibson Artist Acoustics; each being played by the jazz musician that gave it its name. Johnny Smith, Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel

Each of these famous guitarists served as...
[more]

Gibson Johnny Smith - Johnny Smith

Gibson Johnny Smith - Johnny Smith (1966)
1966 illustration of Gibson artist Johnny Smith, with his similarly named electric acoustic guitar. Although unsigned, this picture is perhaps the work of Canadian illustrator (later fine artist) N...
[more]

Gibson catalog appearances

After the models debut in 1961, the Gibson Johnny Smith guitar appeared in numerous Gibson catalogs. The dual pickup model was first included in the 1964 'Gibson Electrics' catalogue. In chronological order...

1962 Gibson Guitars & Amplifiers catalogue

The 1962 Gibson electric guitar catalogue was the first to include the Johnny Smith guitar; part of the Electric Spanish artist series of high-end archtop jazz guitars. Only the single pickup model is listed

1964 Gibson electric guitar and bass catalogue

The 1964 Gibson electrics Catalog lists both the single and double pickup versions of the Johnny Smith guitar.

This new artist's guitar offers the most perfect combination of acoustic response and electric amplification ever produced. An entirely new humbucking pickup and new method of mounting were designed to produce the purest tone amplification without restricting the acoustic response of the carved top

1966 Gibson full line catalog

From the 1966 Gibson electric guitar and bass catalogue

A unique instrument to satisfy the most discriminating guitarist

1970 Gibson Electric Acoustics catalogue

From the 1970 electric acoustics catalogue

This Gibson Artist model offers the finest in acoustical response and electronic amplification. Humbucking pickups and electronic controls are specially mounted to produce pure tones without restricting acoustic response

1975 Gibson Custom Order and Electric Acoustics catalogue

From the 1975 Gibson custom order and electric acoustics catalogue

The J-S guitars powerful Humbucking pickup is mounted to the neck of the instrument. This allows the acoustical body to resonate freely for a rich, full-bodied sound

1978 Gibson catalogue

The minimalist 1978 electrics catalogue entitled Quality / Prestige / Innovation

This new artist's guitar offers the most perfect combination of acoustic response and electronic amplification ever produced. An entirely new humbucking pickup and new method of mounting were designed to produce tho purest tone amplification without restricting the acoustic response of the curved top

1980 Gibson catalogue

The 1980 Gibson catalogue. In the 1978 and '79 catalogues the Johnny Smith is named JS for single pickup, and JSD for dual pickup guitars

1981 Gibson catalog (UK Rosetti)

This 1981 UK catalogue was produced by UK distributors Rosetti, and included the entire Gibson guitar line of the time

1983 Gibson catalogue

From the 1983 Gibson catalogue

The Gibson Johnny Smith model is the namesake of one of the most extraordinary musicians of the 20th century. Slightly smaller than the L-5CES, the Johnny Smith (JS-D) utilizes a different system of bracing. The upper register of the neck is flush with the top and attaches to the soundboards interior bracing for optimum response and additional sustain. The top resonates freely. And the results are light action and sure response in a pure sounding guitar

 
Gibson JSN single pickup as featured in the 1975 Gibson catalog

Gibson Johnny Smith as featured in the 1975 Gibson catalogue. This image shows how the neck humbucker is mounted onto the side of the guitar's neck, rather than into the carved top.

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1969 Gibson Johnny Smith D

1969 Gibson Johnny Smith D

Loveland, Ohio, 451**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$12900

SKU: (#GAT0339)
1969 Gibson Johnny Smith D, Cherry Sunburst, Deluxe Artistmodel, Carved Spruce top, Attractively Flamed Maple back and sides, Ebonyfingerboard with split block inlays, Two Floating Johnny Smith pickups, Goldhardware, Marvelous instrument with fantastic playability, Stunning example! EC+, Clean original hard case with case cover, $12, 900

... more
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1969 Gibson Johnny Smith D

1969 Gibson Johnny Smith D

Loveland, Ohio, 451**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$12900

SKU: (#GAT0338)
1969 Gibson Johnny Smith, Attractive Cherry Sunburst finish, Ridiculously flamed Maple back, All solid wood construction, 1 & ¾ inches wide at the nut, Two Johnny Smith floating pickups, Gold hardware, Great low action, Superb archtop! VG++, Original hard case
??At Gary??s Classic Guitars we professionally clean, setup & pro pack for safe transit of your new guitar to your door! We would love to earn your business ??
??
... more
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1953 Gibson L-5 CN with 1960s Johnny Smith Pickup - 1 of 4 shipped in 1953

1953 Gibson L-5 CN with 1960s Johnny Smith Pickup - 1 of 4 shipped in 1953

Piedmont, South Carolina, 296**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$17499

This 1953 Gibson L-5CN is one of just four shipped by Gibson that year. At the time this was the top of the line, most expensive 17-inch archtop made by Gibson, due to the cutaway and the necessity for the absolute best woods because of the natural finish. Speaking of the woods, notice the intensely flamed maple used for the back of this guitar. The top is fine grained spruce, the fretboard is ebony with block mother of pearl inlays, as is traditional for an L-5, and the neck is 3-ply flamed ... more
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1968 Gibson Johnny Smith Sunburst Vintage Archtop w / OHSC

1968 Gibson Johnny Smith Sunburst Vintage Archtop w / OHSC

San Diego, California, 921**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$9995

Located At Our Brick'n'Mortar Store In San Diego, CA
1968 Gibson Johnny Smith In Sunburst
In Very Good Overall Condition (Please See All Photos) - Finish Shows Playwear, Finish Checking, Small Nicks And Scratches
Original Pickups And Electronics On A Repro Guard (The Original Self Imploded As They Do)
Original Frets In Very Good Condition
Original Hardware Shows Tarnish - The "Johnny Smith" On The Tailpiece Fell Off At A Gig In New Orleans In 1996 And Was Never Seen Again ... more
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GIBSON Johnny Smith 1970 Ice Tea Burt Archtop Electric Guitar

GIBSON Johnny Smith 1970 Ice Tea Burt Archtop Electric Guitar

Summit, New Jersey, 079**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$15000

GIBSON Johnny Smith 1970 Ice Tea Burt Archtop Electric Guitar

Gibson 1970??s
Johnny Smith Ice Tea Burst archtop Electric Guitar.
Early 1970??s Gibson Johnny Smith archtop Guitar. Amazing condition ?? Excellent ++ condition with flamed back and flamed sides, and exceptionally good playing / working condition. The feel and tone are PURE gibson golden era. Crystal clear notes with amazing sustain. It is very light to hold and has a beautiful tone. When I imagine what a great ... more
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Tanglewood JSC 2 Archtop Semi Acoustic Jazz Guitar Version Of Gibson L5 Rare

Tanglewood JSC 2 Archtop Semi Acoustic Jazz Guitar Version Of Gibson L5 Rare

Penarth, CF64***, UNITED KINGDOM

£670

Tanglewood JSC 2 Archtop Semi Acoustic Jazz Guitar . Rare
Tanglewoods Version Of a Gibson L5 for a 10th of the price
In amazing condition and hard to find. Only one I??ve ever seen in red cherry burst. With amazing flame and fiddleback . Sounds and plays great. I believe it??s from 1992 or 1993
It has no case but will be packed very well
Although I??d prefer collection if possible .
You can try it then as well
... more
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1971 Selmer guitar catalogue

1971 Selmer guitar catalogueScan of 1971 Selmer guitar catalogue showing the range of electric and acoustic guitars distributed by the company: guitars by Gibson, Yamaha, Selmer, Hofner and Suzuki. 1960s Selmer had always placed Hofner at the front end of their catalogues, no doubt these were the better sellers - but into the 1970s Hofner were slipping somewhat and only appear at the tail end of this publication, pride of place going to Gibson, and to a lesser extent Yamaha. In fact this is the last Selmer catalogue to include the many Hofner hollow bodies (Committee, President, Senator etc) that had defined the companies output for so many years - to be replaced in the 1972 catalogue by generic solid body 'copies' of Gibson and Fender models. A number of new Gibson models are included for the first time: the SG-100 and SG-200 six string guitars and the SB-300 and SB-400 basses.

1968 Selmer guitar catalogue

1968 Selmer guitar catalogueScan of 1968/1969 Selmer guitar catalogue (printed July 1968), showing the entire range of electric and acoustic guitars distributed by the company: guitars by Hofner, Gibson, Selmer and Giannini. Selmer were the exclusive United Kingdom distributors of Hofner and Gibson at the time, and this catalogue contains a total of 18 electric guitars, 7 bass guitars, 37 acoustics, and 2 Hawaiian guitars - all produced outside the UK and imported by Selmer, with UK prices included in guineas. This catalogue saw the (re-)introduction of the late sixties Gibson Les Paul Custom and Les Paul Standard (see page 69) and the short-lived Hofner Club 70. Other electric models include: HOFNER ELECTRICS: Committee, Verithin 66, Ambassador, President, Senator, Galaxie, HOFNER BASSES: Violin bass, Verithin bass, Senator bass, Professional bass GIBSON ELECTRICS: Barney Kessel, ES-330TD, ES-335TD, ES-345TD, ES-175D, ES-125CD, SG Standard, SG Junior, SG Special GIBSON BASSES: EB-0, EB-2, EB-3 - plus a LOT of acoustics branded Gibson, Hofner, Selmer and Giannini

1961 Hofner Colorama I

1961 Hofner Colorama IHofner Colorama was the name UK distributor Selmer gave to a series of solid and semi-solid guitars built by Hofner for distribution in the UK. The construction and specifications of the guitars varied over the period of production, but by 1961 it was a totally solid, double cutaway instrument, with a set neck, translucent cherry finish, six-in-a-row headstock, and Hofner Diamond logo pickups. Available as a single or dual pickup guitar, this sngle pickup version would have been sold in mainland Europe as the Hofner 161.

1971 Commodore N25 (Matsumoku)

1971 Commodore N25 (Matsumoku)Commodore was a brand applied to a series of guitars produced in Japan at the well-respected Matsumoku plant from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s - and sold primarily (perhaps exclusively?) in the United Kingdom. The models bearing the Commodore name were all guitars available from different distributors with different branding. Although there may have been some minor changes in appointments (specifically headstock branding) most had the same basic bodies, hardware and construction. Equivalent models to the Commodore N25 (and this is by no means an exhaustive list) include the Aria 5102T, Conrad 5102T(?), Electra 2221, Lyle 5102T, Ventura V-1001, Univox Coily - and most famously the Epiphone 5102T / Epiphone EA-250.

1960 Hofner Colorama II

1960 Hofner Colorama IIThe Hofner Colorama was the name given by Selmer to a series of solid (and semi-solid) body Hofner guitars distributed in the United Kingdom between 1958 and 1965. The Colorama name actually applied to some quite different guitars over the period, but in 1960 it was a very light, semi-solid, set necked guitar with one (Colorama I) or two (Colorama II, as seen here) Toaster pickups. Although an entry-level guitar, it was very well-built, and a fine playing guitar; certainly a step up (at least in terms of craftsmanship) from many of the Colorama guitars that would follow, and a good deal of the guitars available in Britain circa 1960.

1971 Epiphone 1820 bass (ET-280)

1971 Epiphone 1820 (ET-280) bassBy the end of the 1960s, a decision had been made to move Epiphone guitar production from the USA (at the Kalamazoo plant where Gibson guitars were made), to Matsumoto in Japan, creating a line of guitars and basses significantly less expensive than the USA-built models (actually less than half the price). The Matsumoku factory had been producing guitars for export for some time, but the 1820 bass (alongside a number of guitar models and the 5120 electric acoustic bass) were the first Epiphone models to be made there. These new Epiphones were based on existing Matsumoku guitars, sharing body shapes, and hardware, but the Epiphone line was somewhat upgraded, with inlaid logos and a 2x2 peghead configuration. Over the course of the 70s, the Japanese output improved dramatically, and in many ways these early 70s models are a low point for the brand. Having said this, there are a lot worse guitars out there, and as well as being historically important, the 1820 bass can certainly provide the goods when required.

1981 Gibson Marauder

1981 Gibson MarauderProduction of Bill Lawrence's Gibson Marauder began in 1974, with production peaking in 1978. But by 1980 the model was officially discontinued, though very small numbers slipped out as late as spring 1981. Over 7000 examples shipped between 1974 and 1979, and although no totals are available for 1980 and 1981, it is unlikely production reached three figures in either of these years. These final Marauders were all assembled at the Gibson Nashville plant, and had some nice features not available through the later years of production, such as a rosewood fretboard, and in this case, an opaque 'Devil Red' finish. It's a great looking and fine playing guitar!

1971 'Pick Epiphone' Catalog

1971 Pick Epiphone catalogWhen Epiphone production moved from Kalamazoo to the Matsumoku plant in Japan, a whole new range of electric, flattop and classic acoustic guitars was launched. Between late 1970 and 1972 the new models were launched and refined. This 'folder' catalog contains various inserts released over these years detailing four electric six-strings (ET-270, ET-275, ET-278, and thinline EA-250), three bass guitars (ET-280, ET-285, and thinline EA-260), three folk/steel acoustics, four jumbo flattop acoustics, two 12-string jumbos, four classic acoustics, and a banjo.

1981 'Gibson Specials' Pre-Owners Manual

1981 Gibson Specials Pre-Owners Manual'Gibson Specials' was part of the June 1981 pre-owners manual series, but unlike the other folders contained a mish-mash of different guitars: limited editions, test marketing and close outs. "You will find the unusual, the brand-new, and the bargain within this folder". End of line 70s guitars like the Marauder, S-1, and L-6S Custom mixed in with brand new models the The V, The Explorer and the Flying V Bass.
It was the largest folder in the series, with 24 inserts, (19 guitars and 5 basses): Guitars: 335-S Standard, Melody Maker Double, Marauder, L-6S Custom, S-1, RD Artist, Firebird, Firebird II, Flying V, Flying V-II, The V, Explorer, Explorer II, The Explorer, The "SG" Standard, Les Paul Artist, Les Paul Artisan, ES-335 Heritage, ES-175/CC Basses: Grabber, G-3, L-9S, RD Artist Bass, Flying V Bass

1970s Shaftesbury 3263 bass

1970s Shaftesbury 3263 bassRose-Morris were selling Shaftesbury-branded Rickenbacker copy instruments from the late 1960s right through the 1970s. The 3263 bass was one of the first models, (alongside the 3261 six string and 3262 twelve string) available from late 1968 until about 1974. The earliest incarnation was a set neck bass, produced very briefly in Japan. But production quickly moved to Italy. This bolt-on neck example was built by Eko, in Recanati, using the same hardware and pickups as fitted to Eko, and Vox basses built around the same time. It's certainly a fine looking bass, and not a bad player either.

1961 Hohner Zambesi

1961 Hohner ZambesiThis very early, and pretty rare British-built guitar is branded Hohner London. Hohner were, of course, a German company, better known for their harmonicas and accordions, but they were keenly expanding into guitars at the birth of the 1960s. This model, along with the Hohner Amazon and (particularly) the Hohner Holborn, bear some similarity with Vox guitars of the same period; furniture manufacturer Stuart Darkins constructed bodies and necks for both brands, with Fenton Weill assembling them using their hardware and pickups. These guitars do have some hardware peculiarities, and they are not the most adjustable of instruments, but they actually play very nicely, being solidly built out of some very nice woods. Check out the video on this page.

1963 Vox Super Ace

1963 Vox Super AceThe Vox Super Ace was a mid-priced British solid body electric guitar, produced by JMI at their factory in Dartford, Kent. It was broadly modelled on the Fender Stratocaster, and a sibling model to the dual-pickup Vox Ace. Both the Ace, and Super Ace (along with several other models), were redesigned in 1963 with a new body shape, headstock style, and pickup layout - only increasing the resemblance to the aforementioned Fender. The Super Ace had a 1963 price tag of 47 5S. It's a pretty nice playing guitar with some lovely sounds - check out the videos on this page, and in the Vintage Guitar and Bass supporting members area

1966 Vox New Escort

1966 Vox New EscortThe Vox New Escort was Vox's version of the Fender Telecaster, at a time when American guitars were out of reach for most British musicians. It was made by JMI in England, for the British market, and unlike the majority of other models, didn't have an Italian-made equivalent. But the New Escort wasn't a slavish Fender copy, adding Vox's stylish teardrop headstock to the tele-style body, with a stop tailpiece and two Vox V2 single coil pickups. And it's a pretty substantial, and nice playing guitar, with a very comfortable neck. Check out the images, specifications, and watch a video of it in action. There is also extra content in the vintageguitarandbass supporting members area.

1969 Fender catalog, Fender Lovin' Care

1969 Fender catalog, Fender Lovin CareCatalog scan. The 1969 Fender Lovin' Care catalog consisted of 48 pages of electric guitars, basses, amplifiers, steel guitars, acoustic guitars, banjos and keyboards. Like the previous catalog, this featured the company's guitars in a variety of interesting settings around California, from the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, to the Hollywood Bowl. Several instruments were making their first appearance amongst it's pages: the Telecaster bass, Montego and LTD jazz guitars, and the Redondo acoustic. It was the final catalog appearance, however, of the Electric XII, Bass V, Duo-Sonic, Coronado I and Coronado Bass I.

1973 Eko Ranger Folk

1973 Eko Ranger FolkThe Eko Ranger series of guitars was incredibly popular in the second half of the 1960s and through the 1970s, selling in very large numbers. The Ranger Folk was 1 1/4" smaller, and 1" shallower than the Ranger VI and XII - and with a narrower waist. Not a bad guitar; a little quiet, but pretty playable. These were great value in 1973, and because they sold so many, they are easy to find and excellent value today.

1966 Vox Symphonic bass guitar

1966 Vox Symphonic bass guitarThe Symphonic bass was built in the UK, by Vox parent company JMI. It was the Vox equivalent to the Fender Precision bass, and was one of the most expensive Vox guitars produced. It was actually a great playing bass, rather similar to the Precision in feel and sound, but was probably just too expensive compared to an actual Fender and consequently sold poorly. When Vox hit financial problems in 1968, unsold guitars and basses were passed on to Dallas Arbiter, who briefly sold the excess Symphonic bass stock as model 4537. This bass, although with a neck date of February 1966, was most likely one of the unsold Vox guitars sold on by Dallas Arbiter. Check out the bass, and the two video demos through 1960s Ampeg and WEM amplifiers.

1968 Shaftesbury 'Electric Guitars' catalog

1968 Shaftesbury catalogThe 1968 Shaftesbury 'Electric Guitars' catalog was just four pages long, and contained four guitar models: the six string Barney Kessel-style 3264; and three Rickenbacker-styled semi-acoustic models: the six-string 3261, the twelve string 3262 and the 3263 bass. Shaftesbury was the house-brand of major UK distributor Rose-Morris, and seems to have been launched as a response to the company's loss of it's distribution deal with Rickenbacker. The guitars were mid-priced, and built in (initially) Japan, and later Italy, by Eko

1970 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns Celebrated Classics' catalog

1970 Rose_Morris catalog1970 Rose-Morris catalog, dated April 1970. It featured 6 electric guitars, 32 acoustic guitars, 3 basses and 1 steel guitar. It contains the following instruments, over 20 pages: Electric guitars: Shaftesbury 3261, 3262, 3264, 3265, 3400; Top Twenty 1970; Bass: Shaftesbury 3263, 3266; Top Twenty 1971; Acoustic guitars: Eko Rio Bravo, Rio Bravo 12, Ranchero, Ranchero 12, Colorado, Ranger, Ranger Folk, Ranger 12; Aria 1674, 1675, 1676, 1679, 1680, 1695, 'John Pearse' Jumbo, 'John Pearse' Folk; Rose-Morris 15-11, Kansas, Georgian, Florida; Suzuki 1663, 1664, 1665, 3054, 3055, 3060; Tatay 1713, 1714, 1715; Peerless 3052; Steel guitar: Aria 3425

1971 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns' catalog

1971 Rose_Morris catalogThe sixteen-page 1971 Rose-Morris catalog featured electric guitars by Rose-Morris' own brand, Shaftesbury, and budget brand Top Twenty; aswell as acoustics by Eko, Aria, and for the first time Ovation. The catalog contains the following instruments: Electric guitars: Shaftesbury 3261, 3264, 3265, 3400, 3402; Top Twenty 1970; Bass: Shaftesbury 3263, 3266; Top Twenty 1971; Acoustic guitars: Ovation: Balladeer, 12 String, Glen Campbell, Glen Campbell 12 string; Eko Rio Bravo, Rio Bravo 12, Ranger, Ranger Folk, Ranger 12, Colorado, Ranchero, Ranchero 12, Studio 'L'; Rose-Morris Florida; Aria 'John Pearse' Jumbo, 'John Pearse' Folk

1972 Fender Precision bass

1972 Fender PrecisionA detailed look at an early 1970s Fender Precision bass guitar in custom black finish, with rosewood fretboard. 1972 list price, $307.50. The Fender Precision had been shipping since at least very early 1952 - with just one re-design circa 1957. This example, then, shows a model already two decades old, but barely changed since the '57 revamp. Fender got it right first time around, and although there are numerous minor cosmetic differences, the essence of this bass is effectively the same as it was in '52: a simple, single pickup instrument with a GREAT sound. Check out the demo video through an old Ampeg B15. It's no wonder this is the bass that everybody wants!

1967 Vox Stroller

1967 Vox StrollerThe Vox Stroller was the brand's entry level electric solid body guitar, fitted with just one pickup and a fixed tailpiece. Although aimed at student guitarists, it wasn't a terrible instrument, but did lack somewhat in adjustability, having no accessible truss rod and only a floating rosewood bridge. But this example is actually quite an improvement on earlier versions, with a standard 1/4" jack and a solid mahogany body. 1967 price £18 2s. JMI ceased UK guitar production in late '67, and combined with decreasing demand for the Stroller, this surely must be one of the last examples shipped.

1963 Vox Clubman Bass (left handed)

1963 Vox Clubman Bass left handedA nice example of the Vox Clubman II bass, built by JMI in Dartford, Kent in 1963. This is a lightweight bass, short (30") scale and very easy to play. It is an early example, and as such has a thin black scratchplate and side mounted, coaxial output jack. JMI offered left handed examples of their solid body Vox guitars and basses at 10% premium. Production numbers are unclear, but left-handed examples rarely come up for sale

1977 Gibson ES Artist 'prototype'

1977 Gibson ES Artist prototypeNot 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

1959 Hofner Committee

1959 Hofner CommitteeThe 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.

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins TennesseanThe 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.

1965 Gretsch 'For the Spectacular Sound of the Times' guitar and amp catalog

1965 Gretsch catalogThe 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.

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret ends

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret endsLoose 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!

1966 Hagstrom 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog (Merson USA)

1966 Hagstrom guitar catalogHagstrom 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.

1965 Hofner President

1965 Hofner PresidentThe 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.

1963 1964 Fender catalog

Fender 1963 catalogue"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.