Accordions. If you play guitar, you probably don’t think much about them. But from several perspectives they played an important role in giving the guitar a boost to prominence that it now enjoys. A role that is nicely evidenced by this very swell c. 1967 Galanti Grand Prix electric guitar.
In 1967 Lipsky introduced a line proto-copies carrying the Domino brand name. Most were inspired by European models such as the EKO Violin guitar. Among the offerings were two models sporting a California cache, the #502 Californian, an asymmetrical copy of a Vox Phantom, and the #CE82 Californian Rebel (wouldn’t California Rebel have made more sense?) shown here.
While Mac and Joe ogled the frankly boring mid-’70s LP, I was ogling one of the most gorgeous guitars I’d ever seen. Later I found out it was a 1983 Electra Endorser X934CS. A set-in neck with no heel. Mahogany with a carved maple cap that had flame so deep you got high staring at it. Finished in cherry sunburst, my favorite.
Not much is known about Sekova guitars. They were imported from Japan by U.S. Musical Merchandise of New York City, one of many music distributors that once thrived in that fair city. Who actually made Sekovas in Japan also remains a mystery, but it’s similar to a Greco 921. Greco. Grecian. Geddit? Many, if not all, Grecos were built by the great Fuji Gen Gakki factory, the company that made most classic Ibanez guitars, so perhaps that’s where this originated.
Morris is the brand name used by a large Japanese manufacturer called Moridira. Little is known about their history, but by the mid-’70s they were a minor part of the Copy Era, though their forté seems to have been in acoustics. Many guitar fans think of the Copy Era as a time when Japanese companies made cheap knock-offs of American guitars and sold them to kids who couldn’t afford the real thing.
Back in 1984 Ovation put out a high-end guitar to compete with Gibson’s Les Paul. The Ultra GP Series. At the time, it was priced at about $400, the same price as a Les Paul. Guess what, they didn’t sell. Not because of the design – it was an incredible guitar – but tough to complete with Gibson head to head with a guitar from a company that is famous for acoustics. Consequently, only 400-500 were made. Recently the GP has become a sought-after vintage and prices have soared over $2,000 each. Last year I got tired of trying to find an original and decided it was time for Eastwood to get the re-issue machine cranked up again.
When I first learned of this guitar, it was known among cognoscenti as the State of Ohio guitar. I once wrote and essay in which I dubbed it The Ugliest Guitar In The World. All of us had a point. The real name, however, is the Kay Solo King K4102, and it dates to that heady period just before guitars really took off in 1960. Clearly somebody was hung over at Kay that day! When I got a chance to actually have one, how could I pass it up?
Who among us doesn’t relate to Nigel Tufnel in This Is Spinal Tap when he tried to explain to “Meathead” that having an 11 on his amp made it louder than – and hence superior to – one having a mere 10? That’s just how I felt back in the day when, after nearly two decades of owning one – that’s only one – guitar, a classical, I decided I ought to get an electric guitar again. Who could have known how slippery that slope would turn out to be?!
For the past few years I had been looking for a really nice Mosrite Ventures Model Vintage guitar. Prices ranged from $1,500 to $4,000 depending on the year and the condition. Last year an angel descended on eBay with 35 NOS Mosrite guitars that were built in 1987. These guitars were all brand new and were never sold. They were stored in a warehouse for 14 years. Unbelievable! They were auctioned off one by one, week after week, until they were all gone. I bought the 13th one that sold. I was not disappointed.
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