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Vintage Guitar and Bass pick of the web June / July 2018

A periodic round up of some of the rare and interesting vintage guitars for sale on the web just now: guitars, hard to find parts, catalogs and guitar memorabilia . Anything interesting that catches our eye - maybe a typically expensive guitar going for a great price - something that very rarely comes up, or even just an item with a great story. Got a suggestion for this page? let us know - you can promote your own stuff; if you tell us why it's interesting, it's more likely to be included.


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Guild Starfire bass with Alembic mods

Guild Starfire bass with Alembic mods

Wow! Before Alembic were known for their beautiful solid bodies, they were modifying basses for the likes of Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane, and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead. Both of these played a Guild Starfire bass with electronics heavily modified. But these were not the only Starfires to get Alembicized, numerous other examples are out there, with different bridge / tailpiece, pickups and naturally circuitry. This one was apparently modded in the early seventies - it's quite intriguing to have a look inside this one too!

This is a super rare bass, and a very interesting one, but one in poor condition. A full restoration will take a good deal of work: worth doing, but not a job for the faint hearted. See more pictures on ebay.com

1950s Epiphone 'New York' pickups

1950s Epiphone 'New York' pickups

When Epiphone sold out to Gibson in 1957, the new owners received not only the brand and rights to produce Epiphone guitars, but also tooling, partially finished instruments and a lot of component parts for Epiphone guitars. These New York pickups were fitted to early and mid-1950s Epiphones, but also onto Kalamazoo-built Epiphones through the end of the decade and even into the very early 1960s. Read more about Epiphones 50s and 60s history in Walter Carters Epiphone Guitar Book. Early examples of the Coronet, Century and Sheraton were fitted with these pickups, gradually being replaced with mini-humbuckers as the New York pickups were used up.

Finding a set of these pickups for sale is pretty unusual. They are not cheap but then how often do they come up for sale? See these pickups on ebay.com

1955 Gibson LG-1

1955 Gibson LG-1

The woods used on 1950s and early 1960s guitars were somewhat superior to those used in the decades that followed. The typically ancient trees harvested at this time had very close grains, giving visual and tonal characteristics simply not available in younger trees, or those of different species. With the mass environmental damage caused by deforestation of the rainforests, it is only right that cutting down such trees today has discontinued. We need our rainforests. But it does underline the very special nature of some of these early instruments, especially those produced by the best manufacturers. And a 1950s Gibson, even an originally lower priced model, like this LG-1 is a very well built instrument, produced by hand using great woods. The tonal effect of really nice tone woods is often lost with an electric, especially once played through a gainy amplifier. But not the case with an acoustic. This will surely be a very nice sounding guitar!

These guitars typically sell for four figure sums. This one is all there; it needs a little TLC, fretboard clean etc. It's got plenty of patina (soul), but there are stories to tell and songs to be sung. Currently very fairly priced. See it on ebay.com

1981 Guild B302, black

1981 Guild B302, black

The Guild B302 is a wonderful bass. A nice, lightweight, mahogany body and set neck, longscale, with rosewood fretboard. The B302 has it's own unique shape and a pair of great sounding pickups, with easy, intuitive controls. Vintage guitars are priced based on their rarity, playability, collectability.. and other factors... there are a LOT of guitars with huge price tags that anyone would struggle to play... you simply wouldn't bother. Conversely there are some SUPERB guitars with comparatively low pricing. And the Guild B302 is one of those. In short, it's a high quality, well-built instrument, made from some very fine woods. Not as well-known as a Starfire, (or even the SG-influenced JS) but more effective as a musical instrument, yet typically much lower priced.

This example is in really nice condition, with cool black finish, and original, royal blue lined case. See it on ebay.com

1966 Gibson Melody Maker, Pelham blue

1966 Gibson Melody Maker, Pelham blue

In 1966, Gibson redesigned the Melody Maker, giving it the same double cutaway style as the SG range. These new Melody Makers were available in two metallic finishes - Sparkling Burgundy, and, as seen here, Pelham Blue. These were only short lived, and as such are pretty desirable to collectors. Necks were not colored, rather clear coated, i.e. natural mahogany. The result is a very attractive guitar, with much of the same construction as any other SG, (though a slightly narrower peghead) and the same old Melody Maker pickup. This one is in nice clean condition - no sign of any headstock issues, though missing it's tremolo.

This guitar is for sale on ebay, with no reserve and a low start price. Summer's here, and auction sites are typically a little quieter this time of year - certainly potential for a bargain. This guitar is in Ferndale, Michigan. See it on ebay.com

1980 Gibson 335S Standard

1980 Gibson 335S Standard

The Gibson 335S or 335 solid body was available briefly between 1980 and 81/82 (depending on which model) and was available in three flavors: Deluxe and Custom - which were all mahogany; and the Standard (seen here) which was all maple. Tonally it is brighter than your typical SG: more like an L6S, RD Standard, or Victory - each an all-maple guitar built around the same time. The 335S guitars are sufficiently rare that they tend to sell for good money - if you can find one! The 2011 reissues are certainly more available than the originals.

Now this example is not a collector... but would make a GREAT player. It has been badly listed (seller suggests it is a '79, fails to mention the replaced pickup, and misidentifies the wood as walnut. Furthermore, the original case is mentioned but not pictured) - all of which may reduce confidence in some bidders. There is some wear to the finish and truss rod cover, but nothing too serious. The non-stock pickup is a Dimarzio - probably a good choice, but could be replaced in order to get this back to stock. It's a great guitar, poorly listed, but with no reserve an a low start price. It has already attracted a lot of attention, but the price is still great. If this goes for around $700, someone got a great deal.

Check it out on ebay.com

1962 Gibson Les Paul (SG) Junior

1962 Gibson Les Paul (SG) Junior

This is the kind of guitar we all want to discover. Something tasty and old that's been tucked away (in this case in the attic) for 40 years. We don't care if the case smells a bit, it will air... This beautiful late '62 SG Junior (actually still officially called a Les Paul Junior at this point - have a look at how it was described in the 1962 Gibson catalog) is in really nice clean condition. Note the 5 digit serial number. The translucent Cherry on these early examples tends to fade to orange with use - especially on the back of the neck. The fact that it hasn't suggests that this hasn't seen much use. There doesn't seem to be any issues, though the seller claims the tuning keys are not great - he is also offering to throw out the original smelly case! (don't!). There is not a close up shot of the back of the headstock - looks ok from a distance but obviously worth ensuring there is no break.

So a wonderful condition, early SG, with no reserve and a low start price. I suspect this will make someone very happy indeed!

This guitar is available in Napa, California - see more pictures on ebay.com

1965 Vox Clubman bass

1965 Vox Clubman bass

Vox made a lot of different guitar and bass styles in the early 60s UK - from crazy new Phantom and Mark (teardrop) shapes, to straight Fender copies. Some were great playing instruments, almost on par with the far more desirable American instruments (almost..), others were terrible. Frankly, enough to make you give up playing. Stylistically, the Clubman bass was neither 'out there' nor a copy. And as a player... well it's pretty nice. The Clubman bass has a 30" scale neck - like an EB3 or a Fender Mustang - great if you want to actually 'play' rather than sit on the root. And the neck is not dangerously narrow, like some Vox basses - my own example has a width at nut of 1 5/8". The Clubman bass has a lot of character. They made a lot and they sold well, so there are always examples available for sale online. Frankly, these are one of the most playable of all the Vox basses, yet one of the least valued.

This one is in nice clean condition. It has the original bridge cover. The old coaxial output has been upgraded to a regular jack, but it's otherwise all-original. There are no headstock decals, but this seems to have been the situation fairly often. They did wear away with use (or were even deliberately removed) but on a bass this clean, it is highly unlikely that this would be the case. Most likely they were never applied. This is a great condition bass, with a hardcase at a very fair starting price. Not worth getting into a bidding war over, but very much worth the price it is listed for. You can't get a playable vintage bass for much less than this! Check out the pics on ebay.co.uk

1980 Ibanez Musician MC3000

This is a rare guitar. An example of a limited edition run of just a handful of guitars produced in 1980/81. These really were the top-of-the-line instruments - "Built by the proud craftsmen of Ibanez Japan" as it states on the control cavity cover. Nine piece laminate neck, Zebra wood wings, ebony fretboard with 'Limited edition' inlay, pearl headstock inlay, gold hardware throughout. This is a very well made and very well equipped guitar! Super 88 humbuckers, onboard effects loop and a lot of switches!

This guitar is available on ebay.com - check out the other pictures. Currently pretty low priced but this will rise!

1959 Hofner President, blond

1959 Hofner President, blond

A truly beautiful looking guitar. German company Hofner were supplying great guitars to the UK (via distributor Selmer) at a time when US guitars were too expensive for most players, and UK guitars were too rudimentary. The Hofner President was a great guitar: full-body, with a wonderful woody tone, perfect for jazz and blues - and loud enough to practice unplugged. As the 1960s progressed, this style of guitar came less desirable with the 'rock' generation, but the President sold well enough in the early sixties to be relatively easy to find today. Hollowbody Hofner guitars are tonally quite distinct from many contemporaneous instruments; if you've not tried one, they are well worth exploring! (and a lot of fun to play)

This is a nice example, with blond (they also came in sunburst) finish. Note the early single coil 'toaster' pickups. Seems to be clean and all original - though missing a pickguard - with a nice low action. The buy-it-now price is good, and better still, offers are invited.

This guitar is in North Yorkshire, and is sold with free postage in the UK. Deal! See more pics on ebay.co.uk

Early 60s Gibson Melody Maker

Early 60s Gibson Melody Maker

Anyone who follows this list knows what we think about Melody Makers. Gibson's early 60s entry level solid bodies were really nicely made, from exceptionally fine woods (we're talking now-unavailable rainforest species: South American rosewood and mahogany), and topped with a really nice nitro finish. And then they put a slightly lackluster pickup in there. This means they look and feel like a far more expensive guitar than they ever were. A pickup upgrade is ALL that separates these guitars from a tasty vintage Gibson SG. Now Melody makers are somewhat collectable, so immaculate examples sell for big bucks. But there are a lot of Melody Makers out there that are not quite in the collectable bracket.

This guitar has a few changed parts, so it's not going to sell with the 'all-original' premium - but it's largely complete, unbroken and in nice condition. If you wanted to restore this to original stock condition, you could do quite easily. But likewise, if you wanted an incredible vintage player for a good price, this is very much the way to go. The PU380 Melody Maker pickup in there is stock (though should really have a black cover), but can easily be swapped out, with no modifications, for a Curtis Novak, or Seymour Duncan P90 or PAF style pickup in the same size cover. Maybe i'm being harsh - the original pickups are not bad... just not as hot as many aspiring rock legends are used to. In our minds, there is no better way to get the feel and vibe of a high quality vintage guitar, for non-vintage guitar money, than upgrading an already slightly modified Melody Maker!

This is a really beautiful guitar, just waiting to be played. Guitars like this tend to go for mid-high mid three figure sums - probably $750 or so? Current price is less than half of that. And it will only go up in value - check it out on ebay.com

1975 Fender Musicmaster

1975 Fender Musicmaster

Fender's Musicmaster had been available since 1956, but this guitar represents the second 'post-64' version, which was typically a longer scale instrument (though the smaller 3/4 size was still available. This example hails from 1975, and is in white finish (beautifully yellowed) with a white guard. Early white examples typically had a red tortoiseshell guard, later examples a black guard; but white on white (cream) looks great. These single pickup guitars are perhaps not as desire able as the dual pickup Mustang, but are still great players in their own right. This one has some minor damage to the body reverse, but nothing too serious, and perhaps fixable with a bit of polish?

This guitar is complete with a nice original hardcase, but could well end at a bargain price. The photos are clear, but the lack of description and specifics should keep the price low. No reserve and a low start price. A potential bargain? Check it out on ebay.com

1963 Selmer Gibson and Fender catalog, UK

1963 Selmer Gibson and Fender catalog, UK

This is a very rare item. At this point in the early 1960s, Selmer were distributing Gibson, and (newly) Fender guitars in the UK. This catalog is certainly rare: examples do come up occasionally, but those dated 1964 are more common. This one is dated August 1963, and what makes it more special is it has a stamp for Jim Marshall's very famous shop in Hanwell. This is of course where Pete Townsend sourced his Rickenbackers etc... A rare catalog, with a great pedigree and in great condition. The seller is accepting offers too. This won't hang around!

See more pics on ebay.co.uk

1975 Fender Musicmaster

1975 Fender Musicmaster

Fender's Musicmaster had been available since 1956, but this guitar represents the second 'post-64' version, which was typically a longer scale instrument (though the smaller 3/4 size was still available. This example hails from 1975, and is in white finish (beautifully yellowed) with a white guard. Early white examples typically had a red tortoiseshell guard, later examples a black guard; but white on white (cream) looks great. These single pickup guitars are perhaps not as desire able as the dual pickup Mustang, but are still great players in their own right. This one has some minor damage to the body reverse, but nothing too serious, and perhaps fixable with a bit of polish?

This guitar is complete with a nice original hardcase, but could well end at a bargain price. The photos are clear, but the lack of description and specifics should keep the price low. No reserve and a low start price. A potential bargain? Check it out on ebay.com

1976 'Bicentennial' Gibson Firebird

1976 Bicentennial Gibson Firebird

This is a beautiful guitar in natural mahogany finish with gold hardware. The Gibson Firebird was reissued in 1976 to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of the United States as a nation. These 'bicentennial' guitars were produced in similar numbers to the original 1960s guitars (actually 542 guitars were shipped in 1976, which is slightly more than the number shipped in 1963, but significantly less than 1964 and 1965 - see Firebird shipping figures.)

This example is in nice condition: no evidence of a headstock repair, largely undamaged gold hardware plating and unfaded red and blue scratchplate logo. The eight digit decal serial number is complete and undamaged. All in all in nice condition, however with non-original case.

This guitar is in Bristol, UK; has no reserve with a 99p start price. It has attracted a lot of bids so far, but is still at a bargain cheap price. Certainly worth keeping an eye on. See the listing on ebay.co.uk

1964 Fender Mustang

1964 Fender Mustang

This is a beautiful guitar. The Fender Mustang launched in 1964 and has been a regular feature in the line ever since. This pre-CBS guitar, in red, has an August '64 neck date, and was produced at the Fullerton facility in the first year of Mustang production. It is in lovely condition - and is complete, save for the tremolo arm, and has it's original case. There is significant finish checking, but nothing to make this guitar undesirable. Patina!

This is a cool guitar, and rarely listed with no reserve and a $1 start. It's currently pretty cheap - certainly one to watch. Check out the pictures on ebay.com

1978 Guild B302 left handed

1978 Guild B302 left handed

Guild made some fantastic instruments, and frankly, the brand deserves to be better known than it perhaps is. Vintage Guild guitars are every bit as well-made as an equivalent period Gibson, and every bit as playable as a vintage Fender. They used fine old woods, and some of the best components available worldwide. But, pleasingly, they tend to remain in a 'players' rather than 'collectors' price bracket - although this is slowly changing. A vintage Guild guitar can offer exceptional value and incredible playability.

The B302 bass was a mahogany bodied, dual pickup, passive, longscale instrument with great playability, typically lightweight, and with a wide tonal palette. Whilst not exactly rare, they don't come up too often in any dexterity. Finding a lefty example is pretty exceptional though. The price on this one is fair, as opposed to great, but this will sell if the right(!) buyer sees it. The seller is open to offers. Once people try these, they tend not to let them go.

This example is complete and in pretty good shape - a few dings but nothing serious that we can see. Non-original hard case.

This guitar is in France, but ships throughout Europe. See the listing on ebay.co.uk

1968 ES-355TD-SV Walnut finish

1968 ES-355TD-SV Walnut finish

Walnut was the new finish for many late 60s and early seventies Gibson guitars, and paired with the gold hardware of some of the higher end models gave a highly appealing look. The ES-355TD-SV is, of course, the guitar most associated with BB King, who appeared on the cover of the 1975 Gibson thinlines catalogue. This 1968 355 has clearly been used, and has a good deal of play wear and patina. The scratchplate has decayed (or been damaged somehow) and a lot of the gold plating has worn away. But the wood seems to be in good condition, with no obvious breaks or repairs. The serial numbers match and there is no glaring evidence of this being a fake. Late 50s 355s had a Bigsby vibrato as stock, but 60s guitars usually had the Maestro lyre-type - the Bigsby may well be stock though, and could be the reason for the 'custom made' tag beneath it. The Bigsby units were offered on solid and thinline models in 1960s Gibson price lists at a premium (an extra $75 in 1968). There is no evidence from the pictures of another tailpiece, and the Bigsby has worn fairly similarly to the rest of the hardware.

So this guitar is selling cheap - and it will no doubt end at far below the price it would it could reach. It's a very expensive and highly desire able instrument that has not been listed especially well. The pickups look original, but really should have been removed and the undersides photographed. Although the seller claims there are no cracks, it would be good to see a shot of the headstock reverse. Furthermore it is located in Seoul, Korea, South - which will certainly deter some bidders located the other side of the world. Bidding on this guitar is a gamble, but one that could pay off massively.

This is a nice guitar, that with a little TLC could be an amazing one. It might be worth chasing the seller for more detailed pictures. The reserve is not yet met; if not too high this guitar could be a steal for the bravest bidder! See more pics on ebay.com

1966 Vox Hurricane

1966 Vox Hurricane

Vox are pretty famous for their teardrop and Phantom shaped guitars, but they produced a lot of more generic instruments too - solid bodies in typical Fender styles, and hollow bodies more akin to Gibsons. This is a mid 1960s Vox Hurricane - an early example, maybe 1966, built by Eko in Recanati, Italy, primarily for export to the USA. It is roughly based on the UK-equivalent model, the Vox Consort, though with just two pickups: the Vox Spitfire being the three-pickup version. And it's going cheap. Frankly these rarely get listed so low, so this won't hang about. I suspect the seller thinks the damaged pickguard is a bigger deal than perhaps I do. Frankly, these early Eko Vox guitars almost always suffer from pickguard shrinkage, and if the tips have not broken off yet, they probably will do at some point. [Note: if you have a similar guitar with unbroken guard, it might be worth removing a couple screws to prevent the damage shown here.] Otherwise it seems in pretty good condition. It is missing it's pickup selector switch, and bridge cover, but is generally clean and complete. Although not mentioned, the serial number may be on the last fret of the neck, as was the case with the very earliest examples. Note there is no neck plate - where the serial number is usually situated. The original tremolo arm would no doubt fetch a good proportion of this guitars selling price on it's own. Just to put this price into context... these guitars retailed at $169 back in 1966. At less than double that, this is a bargain!

See the listing on ebay.com

1960s Fender Coronado body

1960s Fender Coronado body

This is a seriously beautiful guitar. The Fender Coronado never made the splash in the mid-sixties guitar market that is was supposed to. It wasn't quite the player that the Stratocaster, Telecaster or ES-335TD were, despite being an exceptionally nice looking instrument. So why didn't it attain the iconic status of those fore mentioned guitars? Perhaps due to the slightly uninspiring pickups? (with no center block, hotter pickups would no doubt have fed back excessively) or maybe it was just launched a little too late in the decade, past peak-semi? In any case, they don't command the ridiculously high prices of equivalent period Gibson and Fender guitars, offering an affordable, and exceptionally cool vintage instrument.

And this body IS exceptionally cool. The sunburst is seriously vibrant, and is matched by the rare, and totally cool checkered binding. What a great looking guitar! Remember, these guitars were designed by ex-Rickenbacker designer Roger Rossmeisl - and those Ric-style features are there for all to see.

There are no obvious issues - the buy it now price is reasonable assuming there are no hidden problems. Better still the seller is accepting offers. This could make a great replacement for a Coronado with a worn body, or even also be the start of a very, very, cool vintage project guitar.

See more pics on ebay.com

Ibanez Studio bass ST-824, 1980

Ibanez Studio bass ST-824, 1980

Ibanez made some really nice guitars in the seventies, but most were copies (lawsuit guitars, as they are often described) of other guitars by Gibson, Fender, Rickenbacker etc. By the end of the decade, they had mastered the art, and were concentrating on their own designs. And this is one really nicely built, and totally original example. As the name (studio) implies, this bass has a wide tonal palette, ready for any recording situation. It is fitted with Ibanez tri-sound pickups which offer single coil, humbucking and parallel modes - alongside the standard volume and tone controls. The ST-824 studio bass is a large, very solid instrument with a walnut top on and ash and mahogany body, and a three-piece maple neck. They are a little on the heavier side though - this one weighs a shade under 5kg. But substantial basses are heavy!

These are not quite old enough to have become really collectable yet, but are certainly attracting a bit of attention amongst players. Prices are generally low for what they are: eighties Japanese build quality and looks combined with some serious functionality. This is certainly a collectable bass of the future.

This great condition example is in Burbank, California and available now on ebay.com


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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.