I was determined to find something that would allow for my inner bass player to come out – and then I discovered the wonderful world of baritone guitars. You know, those extended scale things with strings as thick as a bass that are an octave lower than a regular guitar. Yes, Nirvana was at hand!
I don’t remember exactly when I’d heard about Messenger guitars. But many years later, having a nice collection of guitars with aluminum necks seemed like just what I needed! I needed a Messenger.
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.
I believe this story happened in about 1966, during my last year of high school at Paradise Valley High in Phoenix, Arizona. I was a wannabe rock ‘n roll guy and like most of my friends, always had a few guitars lying around. I had this one friend, Richard Guimont, who was not a musician, but his Mom just happened to own JD’s night club in Scottsdale.
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.
Possibly no other single event inspired the creation of more garage bands than the first Ed Sullivan show featuring the Beatles. And likewise, probably no single company furnished more of the guitars and amps for young musicians than the Sears & Roebuck Company. While most of us would rather have started out with the Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Hofner, Vox and Ludwig gear we saw the Fab Four using, due to price and availability, it was the Sears catalog that supplied our first six-string.
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.
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