There are a lot of guitar stories in the BigCity. A lot of them come with names like Gibson and Fender and a lot of people follow them around like mindless lemmings, genuflecting at the sound of the names. And pay out lots of money. But luckily for you and me, there are a lot of other stories down obscure alleys and behind underpasses. Providing encounters where you come face to face and you say, “I gotta have that guitar.” And even luckier for you and me, there’s a guy on the other side saying to himself, “Oh boy, have I got a sucker on the line now!” Then for a couple hundred instead of a couple thousand clams you walk away with another cool – and usually very good – axe like no one else’s. The BigCity is full of these stories. This 1985 Ibanez XV500 is one of them.
Yeah, man, that’s why we get into guitars, isn’t it? All of which is evident in this cool Summer o’ Love 1967 Fender Coronado XII Wildwood!
Early Alamos were somewhat inspired by Rickenbacker guitars, but by 1965 their designs had clearly gone over the top. In fact, it’s safe to say that, even in a whacky pack like that of the mid-’60s, Alamo guitars were among the boldest in America! Like this 1965 Alamo Fiesta Model 2586R!
This subject has been discussed many times in many places, so what do I do for my first column? I tackle a worn out subject with what I hope is a unique perspective. First, I will tell you that I have owned many vintage Fenders and Gibson’s over the years. I still own the vintage Gibson’s and do not own any more vintage Fenders (I guess that gives a preview of my take on Vintage Fender vs. Vintage Gibson). So let’s get started!!!
The minute I laid eyes on this c. 1965 Wandré Modele Karak – that is, once I was able to get beyond the knockout shape – I thought “motorcycle.” Take a gander at that vibrato. Look like a motorcycle chevron? And what’s up with that neck? It’s tooled from aluminum, which makes it weird enough. But just like motorcycles have all the works exposed on the outside, this aluminum neck stretches its whole length- head to vibrato – on the outside of the guitar! Even the head frame shouts motorbike. So, is there a two-wheel connection?
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.
Now, these are known as Shaggs models because they’re what the Shaggs played, not because of some big corporate endorsement deal! No one knows who sold the Avalon brand. Mailorder? An area music store? An auto supply store? All possible. Nor who made them. Nothing like them shows up in the reference books. I’m not even sure when they were made, but 1967 or ’68 is a good guess. Japanese guitarmakers were competing with the Europeans early on in the 1960s and some of the earliest ‘copying’ was of European models.
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.
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