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United Kingdom musical instrument distributor

Rose-Morris were an important British musical instrument distributor of the 1960s, most notably for their early association with Rickenbacker from 1964. Correctly, the company name was Rose, Morris & Co, Ltd, but their logo simply used the hyphenated Rose-Morris. They also handled (at various times) guitars by Eko, Levin, Fenton Weill, Martin, Burns, Shaftesbury, Avon, Tatay, Aria, Ovation, Ariana, Suzuki and Sigma; amps by Marshall; keyboards by Thomas Organ, Gem and Korg; and drums by Rose Morris, Shaftesbury, Slingerland, Autocrat and Broadway.

Rose-Morris were London-based, with a head quarters at Gordon House Road, North London, but on September 8th, 1967, they opened central retail showrooms at 81-83 Shaftesbury Avenue. Guitars and amplifiers on the ground floor, with wind instruments and keyboards upstairs. This was, of course, an area of London with dozens of instrument shops within a few minutes walk.

Inside the Rose-Morris store shortly after opening in late 1967
Inside the Rose-Morris store shortly after opening in late 1967. Note Hagstrom, Hofner, Fender Gibson and Rickenbacker electrics
The Rose-Morris store in (probably) mid 1971, with mostly acoustic guitars on display
The store in (probably) mid 1971, with mostly acoustic guitars on display

Rose-Morris and Marshall

Rose Morris were Marshall distributors between 1966 and 1981, having signed a 15 year distribution deal. Marshall were clearly one of the companies best performing lines, and Rose Morris pushed Marshall heavily, placing far more adverts for amps and effects than for the other companies that they distributed. Check out further Marshall advertisements here

Rose Morris Marshall advertisement 1967
Rose Morris Marshall advertisement 1967
Rose Morris Marshall advertisement 1969
Rose Morris Marshall advertisement 1971
Rose Morris Marshall advertisement 1973
Rose Morris Marshall advertisement 1973

Rose Morris guitar distribution

Rose Morris were the UK distributors for numerous guitar brands throughout the 1960s and 70s. These included high profile, high end American brands such as Rickenbacker, Ovation and Martin; mid-level brands such as Eko, Aria, Westbury, and their own brand Shaftesbury; and entry level rebranded Japanese imports Avon, and Top Twenty.

1967 advert for Rose-Morris guitars. This ad highlights some of the brands distributed at the time: Eko, Levin and Rickenbacker

1967 advert for Rose-Morris guitars. This ad highlights some of the brands distributed at the time: Eko, Levin and Rickenbacker

Rose Morris and Rickenbacker

Rose Morris initially applied to be the UK distributor of Rickenbacker in Summer 1962, with the first guitars shipping to the UK in January 1964. The arrangement lasted just a few years in the mid 1960s, with just a few hundred guitars and basses shipped to the UK. Rose-Morris requested a few special features, most notably f-hole sound holes, as opposed to the standard "cat's eye" slashes. These guitars were given new model codes by Rose Morris, initially: 1995 (Rickenbacker 615), 1996 (325), 1997 (330), 1998 (340) and 1999 (4001 bass). The 1993 (360/12) was added in July 1964, with two further models added in 1967, the 3261 (4005 bass) and 3262 (336/12).

Most authors suggest Rickenbacker ended the agreement in 1969, and whilst this may be officially correct, in practice, the arrangement seems to have been floundering in late 1967, around the time they opened their Shaftesbury Avenue store. A look at Rose Morris advertising through early-mid 1967 shows consistent promotion of Rickenbacker guitars and basses, even in advertisements for other products (Marshall amps) - see some of these above. From late 1967 Rickenbacker are barely mentioned by Rose Morris. Nor are they described as being present at trade fairs of the time. It is well known that Rickenbacker were failing to fill orders to Rose Morris in a timely manner; Rose Morris had even dropped the requirement for f-holes in an attempt to reduce lead times. Now, it could be that Rickenbacker simply couldn't provide sufficient stock to Rose Morris, and from their point of view, it was pointless to advertise stock that they could not provide. Rose Morris advertising in late 1967 and 1968 not only doesn't show Rickenbacker, it almost promotes their rivals. Did Rose Morris and Rickenbacker have some falling out over an order, specifically for the opening of the new Shaftesbury Avenue showroom? If so, it would make the naming of the Shaftesbury Rickenbacker copies all the more poignant!

Take a look at these two Rose Morris-placed Marshall adverts from 1967. The first shows the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Roy Orbison, the Who and the Small Faces. The second is identical, except it replaces the Who with Gary Brooker of Procul Harum and removes the Who from the text. Bear in mind that submission dates for adverts will be a month or more before the cover date, and it seems this change occurred around the time of the Shaftesbury Avenue store opening. For sure, beyond this time, Rose Morris barely mention Rickenbacker again, and certainly don't include their guitars in any advertising images.

Rose Morris Marshall advert from September / October 1967
Rose Morris Marshall advert from the September / October 1967 issues of Beat instrumental
Rose Morris Marshall advert November 1967
Rose Morris Marshall advert from the November '67 - Jan '68 issues of Beat instrumental
Rose Morris Marshall advert March 1968
Rose Morris Marshall advert from March '68. No mention of the Who, and Gibson / Fender guitars taking prominance.

But one other crucial piece of evidence is the launch of the new Shaftesbury guitars of Summer 1968. Many commentators suggest that Rose Morris, somewhat cheekily, launched this range whilst still distributing Rickenbacker. Reviews of the 1968 trade fair in which they were launched don't mention Rickenbacker at all. But more significantly, these guitars were allocated the same model codes as the last two Rickenbacker models, 3261 and 3262. Surely Rose Morris would not allocate these codes to Shaftesbury guitars if it expected to get more Rickenbackers with the same codes in stock.

Towards the end of 1970 "Guitar Village" (just across the road at 80 Shaftesbury Avenue) announced themselves as the new Rickenbacker main dealer.

Ovation guitars

Rose Morris were the UK distributors for Ovation instruments throughout the 1970s.

Rose Morris Shaftesbury guitars

As mentioned above, Rose-Morris opened their Shaftesbury Avenue shop in September 1967, and this location provided the name for the companies house brand of guitars, drums, effects units and amplifiers. The Shaftesbury line consisted of mid-priced electrics, well-built but not too expensive. The first Shaftesbury guitars were Japanese-built, and seeing as Rose Morris already had a relationship with Aria, these may well have been made at the Matsumoku plant. These were the Rickenbacker styled 3261, 3262, 3263 bass and the Gibson Barney Kessel-styled 3264. By Summer 1969, guitar production had moved to Eko's plant in Italy - another company that Rose Morris distributed - with the line expanded to include a number of other copy guitars: a Thinline Telecaster copy (model 3265), a Telecaster Bass (3266), a Les Paul (3400), a Dan Armstrong-style perspex guitar (2402), and two British built 'Ned Callan' guitars, the Cody (3420) and Cody Bass (3421). Read about Shaftesbury guitars in more detail here.

Rose Morris Avon guitars

Rose-Morris introduced the Avon line of guitars in the Summer of 1973. Whilst Shaftesbury guitars were mid-range instruments, Avon guitars were certainly entry level, typically around half the price of the Shaftesbury models. These were Japanese copies of American classics: a Les Paul, and SG, and EB0 and Jazz basses - all with basic appointments and a bolt-on neck. It is likely that these guitars were produced by the Chushin factory in Japan, and marketed through Japanese distributor Rokkomann. Very similar models were also imported by different UK distributors under the brand names Columbus, Sumbro and Saxon.

Rose-Morris guitar catalogs

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Vintage! 1967 Rickenbacker 325 Rose Morris Model  Fireglo + OHSC

Vintage! 1967 Rickenbacker 325 Rose Morris Model Fireglo + OHSC

Thousand Oaks, California, 913**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Vintage! 1967 Rickenbacker 325 Rose Morris Model Fireglo + OHSC

Google us! Lovies Guitar Shop
Up for sale is a cool and rare 1967 Rickenbacker 325 Rose Morris model 1996 in Fireglo. This is one of the same Rickenbacker models the late and great John Lennon was known for using and this one is beautiful. 3 toaster pickups, Rose Morris F hole, tremolo, 21 5 inch scale length. The top of the body has been expertly over-sprayed and re-finished and there is some light overspray on... more
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1970??s Morris Acoustic Guitar Rosewood Back And Sides Mod. 200 MIJ V. Good Cond.

1970??s Morris Acoustic Guitar Rosewood Back And Sides Mod. 200 MIJ V. Good Cond.

Collingswood, New Jersey, 081**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Just recently bought from a local estate, this nice nylon string Morris model number 200 is 40?? in length and 14 1 / 2?? at widest point. Made of choice woods including rosewood on back and sides. Action is nice and low. Bridge needs attention ( it holds tension of the strings but is screwed down and should be cleaned up. Sounds great.
... more
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Rickenbacker Rose Morris 1997 1965 Mapleglo

Rickenbacker Rose Morris 1997 1965 Mapleglo

Brooklyn, New York, 112**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


This is a very cool Rickenbacker Rose Morris model 1997, which is similar to the model 330. It was made in the USA in 1965. The guitar is original except for the upper pickguard and the bar on the vibrato. This guitar shows some play wear but is in nice shape for its age and there are no structural issues. A former owner stenciled their band name on the headstock. "Blue Riddle" . It comes with the original case in the pictures
If you have any questions, please message us
We ship ... more
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1975 Rickenbacker 320 Rose Morris Fireglo w / OHSC

1975 Rickenbacker 320 Rose Morris Fireglo w / OHSC

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


1975 Rickenbacker 320 Rose Morris In Fireglo Finish
This Guitar Is Located At Imperial Vintage Guitars Sherman Oaks
In Very Good Overall Condition (Please See Photos)
Finish Shows Cosmetic Playwear Throughout As Shown
All Original Example
Maple Body And Neck With Bubinga Fingerboard
Chrome 'R' Tailpiece
Three Hi-Gain Single Coil Pickups
Original Bridge Cover
1 5 / 8" Nut Width
20 3 / 4" Scale Length
Neck Depth At 1st Fret: 0 90 "
Neck Depth 12th ... more
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Chitarra elettrica Rickembacker mod. ROSE MORRIS del 1966 rarità

Chitarra elettrica Rickembacker mod. ROSE MORRIS del 1966 rarità

San Polo dei Cavalieri, 00***, ITALY


Chitarra elettrica Rickembacker mod. ROSE MORRIS del 1966 rarità. Questa chitarra è stata prodotta in America nel 1966, ed è stata esportata in Europa solo in 70 esemplari, è in ottimo stato, tutti i componenti sono originali Potete verificare l'autenticità attraverso il sito Rickembacker inserendo il codice FK 3970 che è impresso sulla piastra di inserimento jack.... more
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Shaftesbury 3180e Elektro Akustische Mini Jumbo Gitarre mit Fishman Pickup

Shaftesbury 3180e Elektro Akustische Mini Jumbo Gitarre mit Fishman Pickup

Niederkrüchten, 41***, GERMANY


Musik WolffService & Support
Einfach über das ebay-KontaktformularQualität
eine echt gute Wahl!Schneller Versand
innerhalb DeutschlandB-Waren-Fachhandel für Musikinstrumente
Ihr kompetenter AnsprechpartnerIhre Zufriedenheit ist unser Ziel!
Unser Bewertungsprofil soll ein Spiegelbild unseres Unternehmens sein, denn zufriedene Kunden zeigen dies mit 5 Sternen
Sollten Sie einmal der Meinung sein, diese hätten wir nicht verdient, schreiben Sie uns bitte vor einer Bewertung... more
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Shaftesbury Rodeo 12-string acoustic guitar vintage 70??s Italy. Eko

Shaftesbury Rodeo 12-string acoustic guitar vintage 70??s Italy. Eko

London, Camden , NW0***, UNITED KINGDOM


Shaftesbury 12-strings guitar.
It plays nicely with a good medium action.
The guitar was just serviced for the sale. New strings, polished frets, oiled fretboard, calibration??
It is in pretty good condition, but there are a couple of things to mention: it has a bump, an ink stain, and some cracks on the paint (last two pictures, check red circles on last picture), and the top has a bit of that curvature that some old acoustic guitars develop, but apart from that, it is fine, it ... more
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1979 Vox AC30 TBR Rose Morris (RM)

1979 Vox AC30 TBR Rose Morris (RM)

Stockport, SK2***, UNITED KINGDOM


Own a piece of rock history

Presented for sale here is a 1979 Valve Rose Morris era Vox AC30 Top Boost Reverb

The Vox AC30 is a vintage staple amplifier that has powered the sounds of the greatest rock guitarists since the 1960??s. Famously played by Brian May of Queen, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, among many others

This rare example is a Top Boost Reverb. The Top Boost models feature a more versatile tone and gain capability, compounding the already powerful ... more
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Vintage 1970s Dulcet Classic Rose Morris Acoustic Guitar With Carry Case

Vintage 1970s Dulcet Classic Rose Morris Acoustic Guitar With Carry Case



Vintage 1970s Dulcet Classic Rose Morris Acoustic Guitar With Carry Case
Vintage pre-loved 1970s Dulcet Classic Rose Morris Acoustic Guitar
Comes with Stagg carry case
Stock No. 3057
Serial No. 2088
The guitar does seem to play well but due to its age would benefit from a service / retuning. The strings may need replacing
The guitar came with a note from the previous owner stating some of its history which we have left with the instrument
Would be a good guitar for a ... more
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Guildford, GU2***, UNITED KINGDOM


These Shaftesbury Dan Armstrong copies turn up so infrequently that they are heavily outnumbered by the real thing!
Shaftesbury has been the house brand name for Rose Morris from the '60s to the present day. Guitars were sourced from both Japan and Italy. This is the Model 3402 which was first listed around 1970-71 but soon discontinued. Online information suggests that it was made in Japan by Matsumoku who were probably... more
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Gordon Hawtin Comment left 4th September 2020 16:04:38 reply
Your comments, I worked for Guitar Village in 1973 the year it opened and not 1970. It was part of Top Gear 5 Denmark St. I also worked for Sound City 124 Shaftesbury Ave, from Jan-June 1967 and I'm pretty sure Rose Morris was in business then not later.


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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.