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Back Catalog Memories – El Degas Ricky Bass

Vintage El Degas Ricky Bass Guitar

Back Catalog Memories – El Degas Ricky Bass

Growing up outside Toronto in the early 1970’s, El Degas was a very popular brand in most guitar shops. Made in Japan, the quality was great, the price was right, but that is about all we know about them. The internet is surprisingly thin on threads to the origins of El Degas. I’ll take some educated guesses from owning a few. I’d guess they were made at the same factory that was putting our UNIVOX guitars from Japan at the same time. I’d guess there was an importer in USA somewhere that sold to a smaller distributor in Canada. Most El Degas models were tight replicas of Les Paul’s and Strats, and all the ones I have owned over the years were exceptionally good quality. I’ve even seen a Les Paul Recording model with the El Degas brand! So it was not a one trick, one year pony.

Vintage El Degas Ricky Bass Guitar

Vintage El Degas Ricky Bass Guitar

This Rickenbacker Bass replica is very good, and likely sold for 1/4 the price of the original at the time. I took this in on trade some time back, and remembered my younger brother in the mid 1970’s playing one of these in his band “Drama”. How dramatic. Good player – at the time he could peel off Chris Squire riffs blindfolded – later Barry Adamson riffs from each Magazine LP, but then switched to guitar to form Surf Cinema. Last year he was up here in Toronto from California for a visit. I showed him this El Degas bass. As you might guess, it went home with him where it belonged.

But as for the history of the brand, who knows? When it comes to El Degas, we’re all pretty much guessing. Would the real original importer please stand up? Or maybe his nephew? Somebody out there must know something about this brand…

Mike Robinson

18 thoughts on “Back Catalog Memories – El Degas Ricky Bass

GaryzPosted on  9:48 pm - Oct 10, 2013

I had the exact same guitar. Bought it used at Seagully Sound in the eighties and let a friend borrow it. Never saw it again. Had big plans to make it fret less. Brings back memories. Very cool.

GerkPosted on  10:33 pm - Oct 10, 2013

Started as MIJ made in Matsumoku, Fuji Jen, etc then moved to korea later. SOme store in NY city was the original importer apparently, but you’re right that there’s not a lot of info about them out there. If you want to have some fun try looking up Pheonix Guitars, now that one was tough.

DalePosted on  10:16 am - Oct 11, 2013

Hi Mike!

El Degas was originally made by the Hoshino Company in Japan who I’m sure that you’re familiar with. I have this on authority of one Steve Brand who used to work for Hoshino in the 60′-80’s.


JohnPosted on  2:52 pm - Oct 11, 2013

I had a Vibra strat copy in 1981 and my friend had an el degas les paul custom with dimarzios. he still has it today. My brother still has his vibra strat copy as well.
great memories.

LeighPosted on  5:40 pm - Oct 12, 2013

I bought an El Degas Strat back in ’76. I’ve used it as a mod platform and still own it today. Best $160 I ever spent on a guitar !!

NathanPosted on  6:32 pm - Oct 12, 2013

First rick copy I’ve seen with a backplate since my own… but I only had one because the neck fell off! haha
Looks like an ace copy, I wish there were copies this accurate about, coz saving up £1,600 for a rick just doesn’t seem feasible for me!

craigPosted on  2:16 pm - Oct 13, 2013

I found in a pawnshop a black El Degas Les Paul custom style copy with three pickups and it plays very well, almost as good as the white Les Paul custom I had. I still have the El Degas, also in a Gibson protector flight case that i believe came out in the late seventies. The tone of the El degas is exceptional, and it has a bolt on neck! Thats amazing that there is El Degas Rickenbacker copys out there still, always wanted a “Rick”,even a copy,but never found one when I could afford it.

Rick DlugokeckiPosted on  10:58 pm - Jan 12, 2014

El Degas were imported into Canada through B & J Toronto They made copies of most popular brands including acoustics.

joeyPosted on  8:28 pm - Feb 23, 2014

i found this on another site i also have a eldegas guitar sonuds awesome n i havent seen another like it yet.

Hello friends

I’m french master luthier. I was surfing on the net when I discovered people talking about El Degas. I can give you the exact history of this brand, because I lived it.

– The brand was created in Paris by my boss Gérard Charnoz (Musicologist), who was owning a guitar shop and his brother Jean-Luc Charnoz was luthier and harpsichord maker and I learned lutherie with him. That was in 1972. Because the shop was specialized in acoustic instruments and at the same looking to new products at a time Japan was starting the guitar industry. The brothers created 3 brands : EL DEGAS, D’ANGELICA, MOUNTAIN. all amde in Japan, intially for the needs of the shop. years after, the shop closed, but the brand survived. As I worked in the shop and the workshop during years, I can confirm you all this. We have sold bulks of El Degas…etc. Hope this information is usefull for you. All the best to all the members.
Last edited by Kamel Chenaouy; 01-17-2014 at 12:10 PM.

NeilPosted on  7:15 am - Jul 24, 2014

I have an El degas Classical guitar style cl242. I was just wondering everyone says that these guitars were made in either Japan or France. The one that I have is clearly labelled Made in Romania. The guy that I bought it from told me that he purchased it originally in 1982 . I was just wondering is this info sound right for a El degas?

jkPosted on  3:49 pm - Oct 9, 2014

My first guitar was a El Degas acoustic — it was great!

Jon AnthonyPosted on  8:44 am - Nov 27, 2014

Just put the strings on an old El Degas acoustic I picked up for a song here in Spain in a fleamarket. Have to admit that it sounds better than I’d expected it to..Got another a few weeks ago Brand name queen. Korean made too black copy of hummingbird but not impressed. Can find out little or nothing about Queen guitars..Anyone help?

FRANCOIS MARCHANDPosted on  2:00 pm - Mar 6, 2015

Hi ! Thanks in advance for your time ! Listen , I could really use a picture of an El Degas copy of a Fender Jazz Bass to REFIT my El Degas copy of Gibson’s Grabber bass , with Jazz Bass pick-ups . The one I borrowed a long time ago had single coils , but I can’t remember if the pick-ups were positioned Jazz Bass styled ( coupled together close to the bridge , or ‘evenly spaced ‘ between the neck & the bridge … this would really help me out ! Many thanks ! I can be reached also on Facebook at “Francois Marchand” .

DanPosted on  2:11 pm - Dec 19, 2015

Hi! I have a LesPaul ElDegas with a set neck all original that as 2 epiphones humbuckers pickup this guitar sounds incredible it’s 24 3/4″ and heavy weight . I would Like To know more about the brand and history thank’s!!!

DanPosted on  7:07 pm - Sep 16, 2016

In 1978, I bought a natural wood ElDegas Strat from Italmelody in Montreal.

I have long since left my home town and my 1st electric was stolen.

I have been looking for that guitar since then, I still play, have many axes in my collection, yet want to find a vintage ElDegas natural wood strat copy…..if you know of one for sale, please let me know. ONLY vintage Japan need apply, no Korean or Chinese copies – Matsumoko only need apply! Play on,,,,

EugenePosted on  5:51 pm - Dec 10, 2016

I have a ElDegas vintage Japan, purchased it in early 70’s between 71 and 74, not sure exact year, this Japan made ElDegas was just recently introduced into Canada, I am original owner of this well taken care of solid wood, two pickup guitar and it still sounds excellent

MikePosted on  4:09 pm - Mar 8, 2017

I have an El Degas CL 40 1/2 size acoustic classical guitar with nylon strings / Made in Romania 🇷🇴. I can’t find any information on this model.
This guitar is in pristine shape no nicks or scratches. Was wondering the value ?

Wain PhillipsPosted on  8:08 am - Apr 21, 2017

I have just purchased my 4th El Degas Acoustic Guitar.
Model F-190, I sold an F-218 in 2012 that I had purchased in 1990. In 2008, I purchased an El Degas D-28 copy on eBay from a seller in Vancouver. The back had been repaired with surfboard resin. I took the guitar to a luthier from Brazil. He rebraced the top. I replaced the large plastic saddle that adjusts with 2 screws with a large Tusq saddle I bought and shaped myself. That one was stolen from me in Long Beach, California in 2013.
The first one I bought new in 1973 at Santa Cruz Music in Santa Cruz, California. It was stolen in 1976.
I am looking to purchase other El Degas acoustic and electric guitars.
The price is more important than the condition.
I live in West Los Angeles.
See the Wikipedia link below.
This tells you who created the name “El Degas Guitars”
And here’s the link for the importers: Buegeleisen & Jacobsen, New York, New York

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