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Mystery guitar


Trystan

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Hi - I was hoping someone could help. I've received a guitar as a gift - it needs a bit of work, but I've no idea who made it.

 

There are no markings anywhere - a sticker was on the headstock once, but all that's left is the goo.

 

There are some photos here: http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/1918482/1/guitar?h=dd4ac1

 

Would someone kindly shed some light for me?

 

Many thanks!

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Hey, welcome to the GPF, Trystan!

 

That was probably made in the 1960s, maybe the 1970s, and is likely either Japanese or Italian in origin. Fatdog at Subway Guitars can probably tell you a lot about it from a glance- he specializes in off-beat, under-appreciated, and inexpensive guitars like this.

 

(Note: their 'site specifies, "Please don't email, we can be reached by phone!"- call 'em first, and find out if they'll help you out with info and if so, if you can e-mail or fax a link or images to 'em.)

 

Bestaluck, and let us know what you find out- keep us posted!

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I would not expect much from that guitar. I recognize the switches and some of the hardware as similar or the same as the pieces/parts used on the no-name guitars sold to music stores in the mid-1960s to early 1970s from distributors like St Louis Music. They were 'specials', low-cost Japanese with wanky necks and limp pickups. Some (mine!) didn't even have a radius on the fretboard. The cost to the dealers then was well under $100, though the mom and pop music stores were free to charge whatever the market would bear. The necks are unpleasant, the frets need filed, the neck to body joinery is not good and usually relies on the screws rather than a good wood-to-wood fit. You -can- find a good one, but that would be an accident rather than a typical guitar from the production line. They came with any number of different names on the headstocks, depending.

 

It might be neat to restore it to original condition as a curiosity, but that would have to be a labor of love, not practicality. I know that you see guys hawking these kinds of instruments on ebay all the time as something rare and special, but they really aren't. Interesting and different maybe. And there are a surprising number of similar instruments floating around, so finding one complete might be less hard and costly than trying to restore one that is missing parts.

 

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Bill speaks the truth. Some of the hardware and, uh, 'craftsmanship' reminds me of a 3rd-hand (or maybe more like 5th or 6th hand) cheapo no-name that was my very first guitar very, very long ago. I paid twenty-seven dollars for it! :D My next guitar, a Peavey T-15, was lightyears ahead in quality, and it was an "entry-level" beginner's axe!

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Yes, it's a piece of Japcrap(love that word). But, there are guys who love those kind of guitars, and it must be admitted they have a unique tone. For most folks though, guitars like that are really only good for one thing; they make really good slide guitars. They have that cheap, greasy, cardboard tone that's amazing for slide.

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

 

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The switches, knobs & headstock/string tree are identical to my first guitar, a $40 piece of junk bearing the Melody brand name, purchased around 1966. There were a number of these cheap Japanese models around under various brand names, but all obviously made in the same factory.

 

Just because it's old doesn't mean it's vintage.

 

Scott Fraser

Scott Fraser
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Many thanks for all the replies. I feared as much, but am not disappointed - if I can get it playable cheaply then I'd love to see what sort of sound comes out (good/bad/unusual/unlistenable).

 

I was also given a vox ac10 twin so the guitar was a bit of a bonus.

 

Thanks again,

Trystan

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Many thanks for all the replies. I feared as much, but am not disappointed - if I can get it playable cheaply then I'd love to see what sort of sound comes out (good/bad/unusual/unlistenable).

 

I was also given a vox ac10 twin so the guitar was a bit of a bonus.

 

Thanks again,

Trystan

 

Judging by the times I've held similar guitars, I don't think that you'll be able to get very much real playability out of it as far as fretted playing goes; mediocre at best there. But you may be able to set it up for some cool "character" slide guitar sounds, where the frets don't really matter!

 

As for the Vox AC-10 Twin, now THAT'S a treasure! I wish someone would give me one! (But I really can't complain in that department. :cool: ) I understand that Vox used lighter-duty speakers in those, not Celestions? (That isn't necessarily a bad thing at all, maybe they'll sound particularly cool when pushed hard, with earlier/easier "touch-sensitive" breakup with that low watt output-section.) Tell us more about this amp!

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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The switches remind me of Italian guitars from the 60s. I had an Eko that had switches like that. Once you get it set up you may realize that the neck isn't playable. If that's the case, consider raising the action and making it a slide guitar. Might be the right tone for that! Every guitar has some soul in it and wants to be played! Enjoy and happy new year!
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The pick-up is identical to the pick-up in my Kent. I once owned a "Canora" that looked very similar, and I recall a few friends saying it looked like a Kent to them. It had the same switches for sure. If you read the "Ebay and Kent Guitars" thread here you will get more info about the sprawling reach of Kent guitars(they're everywhere...AAAAAHHHHHH!!!)

 

Jim

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Thanks for the new comments on the guitar: any money has to be weighed up against my duo-jet piggy bank, so I'll have to be considered about it.

 

Re the AC10, I had a squiz in the back, and the speakers look identical to these: http://voxshowroom.com/uk/amp/ac10speak.html

 

I've taken some iffy photos of it, including one of a missing pot it would seem: http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/1918482/1/amp?h=6413d2

 

I'm no technician so I'm going to take it to someone who knows his stuff before I wire up a plug and see what comes out: Want to be absolutely sure I don't damage it, given it's been sitting unused in a loft since at least 1970!

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I've taken some iffy photos of it, including one of a missing pot it would seem: http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/1918482/1/amp?h=6413d2

 

That's the voltage selector switch. There should be a rotary switch in there. Looks like it was removed to possibly change out the mains transformer? Get it checked before you apply mains.

 

Scott Fraser

Scott Fraser
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I've taken some iffy photos of it, including one of a missing pot it would seem: http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/1918482/1/amp?h=6413d2

 

That's the voltage selector switch. There should be a rotary switch in there. Looks like it was removed to possibly change out the mains transformer? Get it checked before you apply mains.

 

Scott Fraser

 

Yikes! Yeah, be VERY CAREFUL, and DON'T plug that in- let alone try to play through it- until AFTER it's been gone over and fixed, as needed, by a competent, qualified pro. At best, as-is, that's a fire and/or electrocution (as in death by electric shock) waiting to happen... !! Very half-@$$3d looking, and unsafe.

 

At the very least, even if it's functionally correctly wired to work without the selector, those wires shouldn't be waving around in there like that with a little tape on some of 'em, they should be much better insulated and secured away somewhere with zip-ties, Teflon insulation, and heat-shrink...

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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The pick-ups and shape of logo sticker makes me think of some kind of low-end Framus model from the mid-'60's.

Or it could be some knock-off department store thing from the same time period.

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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That is a 1960's Teisco. Made in Japan. My buddy, Kenny Mack, out of Detroit, had one and modified it heavily with dual humbucking pickups and revised the existing neck. He used a very small ampeg tube guitar amp (10" speaker, maybe 5-10 watts), placed the amp on its back, threw a pillow on the speaker and created some incredible recordings that I have to this day. No stomp boxes! Heavy sustain and he absolutely loved the neck?!. Hope this helps.
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I agree with Kotek. That is definitely a Teisco Del Rey, made in Japan in the mid to late 60's. They made more models than people can remember, including such things as necks made of thin laminates to eliminate truss rods, knock off toaster pickups, knock offs of Italian designs. There is a website I cannot remember, a fellow collects all things Teisco. The headstock and that little string keeper is kind of a Teisco standard. I own a couple myself - they make great wall-hangers, but their value is not so hot. I got mine bought, finished and restored for under $200 for both, and one is a triple pickup. I saw a rare triple pickup once in emerald green. A widow owned it, she had given it to her husband in the 60's and he had passed. It was absoulutely mint, with hardcase, and on e-bay I found a mate that only brought $500. So neat, but you didn't win the lottery. It should be full of wandering tiny wiring and little pots with crappy soldering.
Want a custom guitars for prices you can afford? Check out www.tsunamiguitars.com
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Sorry, but I looked at all the photos of Teiscos on a site that had a gallery of all those cheapos made in the mid '60's, and most of them had the logo at the tip of the headstock, and our man's photo had the logo "decal" missing from somewhere in the center. Also, many of the '60's del Reys had four tuning keys on one side of the headstock, and the remaining two on the "underside". Plus, the Teisco logo was a cheap metal badge, not a decal. And nowhere near the shape of the missing brand sticker on our "mystery guitar".

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Well, Whitefang, I would certainly agree with you on what you viewed. What you may have missed, though, is that although the Teisco nameplate is that sort of round, metal badge on the headstock, they also made dozens of other name brands for lots of people we never heard of. Most of these guitars have subtle design changes, but when you look at it, you just know you are looking at something that was made in their factory. Kind of one of the original knock-off factories - but with strange brand names. One of my Teisco's is actually called a "Barth", and has it's original metal badge on the headstock. And I have seen pictures of Teisco's with all six tuners on one side, four and two. Can't remember seeing too many with three and three, but I would not be surprised if someone has. One often found item with these, but not always, were those pickups with a chrome body, a plastic insert in the top with the posts sticking out of the plastic. Sometimes it was white plastic, kind of transluscent, sometimes black. Another was the "grille" pickup, where it kind of looked like a pickup shaped microphone, and actually kind of acted like one also. One of my local dealers has one of those.

 

Want a custom guitars for prices you can afford? Check out www.tsunamiguitars.com
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Right you are, man. Being a retired autoworker, I should have recalled the old Dodge Omni, Plymouth Horizons, which were built on the same line. I worked for G.M., but a friend who worked at the Chrysler plant that put those two models out can recall when one car came down the line with Omni script on one side, and Horizon script on the other! No doubt, there's the possibility that some factory punched out cheapie guitars for a variety of clients, Teisco and Barth included. Just like the 5-disc CD players me and my brother-in-law had...His was a Sony, mine a Nakamichi...identical in every way except for the nameplate! We figured they were both built at a Daewoo plant in Korea.

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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:idea::cool: I've determined that it's a "guitar", and that it's made primarily of wood (from "trees"), although I suspect that it works by being amplified via "electricity"...

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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:idea::cool: I've determined that it's a "guitar", and that it's made primarily of wood (from "trees"), although I suspect that it works by being amplified via "electricity"...

 

Hey, now... :o THAT'S mysterious!

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

 

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