Monday, 15 September 2014

Silvertone 14409 vintage Japanese Mosrite-inspired surftastic guitar
This 1960s Japanese "Silvertone model 14409" guitar (made by Kawai possibly?) has some very strong Mosrite stylistic influences, although that proto-Ibanez-style headstock does look a little at odds with the body design. Despite the obvious influences instruments like this are becoming increasingly sought after in their own right, with more and more collectors becoming interested in vintage Japanese-made guitars.

Currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $344.99.

G L Wilson

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Friday, 12 September 2014

Fender Jazz-A-Caster, MIJ signature model of Will Ray of the Hellacasters
This 1998 Japanese-made Will Ray (of the Hellacasters) signature model Fender Jazz-A-Caster is one of those weird Fender hybrids that takes one of their models and mixes it up with elements from another model. It's a bit like the Pawn Shop series but on a grander Custom Shop scale. This so-called Jazz-a-caster obviously has a lot of Telecaster in its DNA but also has a little Jazzmaster thrown into the mix. This particular model is signed by Will Ray and is numbered #242 out of 300 examples made.

Currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of US $1,390. It's kind of ironic that he has this expensive signature model made by Fender when he writes Bottom Feeder, a regular column for Premier Guitar where he celebrates all his latest cheap and cheerful guitar acquisitions (and which I utterly applaud).

G L Wilson

© 2014, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
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Tuesday, 9 September 2014

a message from one of our readers (warning, graphic picture)

I received this message from Micha:

"Dear Bertram,

while looking through the internet, I found your blog post from 2010, about the ARIA Pro II Integra IG-CST

I bought the ARIA Pro II Integra IG-CST 1993 when my daughter was born and played this special electric guitar for many years. Though listening and playing grows from my experience with my main instrument the bass clarinet, I was lucky that this electric guitar sounds great in any context… 

In September 2012 a fire burned 8 of my guitars and amps and tools. Since then I continued playing and upgraded my amps and guitars. BUT the ARIA Pro II Integra IG-CST is a rare instrument... I am looking for one that I can buy. Please tell me if you know somebody who wants to sell his ARIA Pro II Integra IG-CST. 

 Best regards, Micha"

Hope someone can help Micha with what seems indeed to be a great guitar!

Bertram D

© 2014, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
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Monday, 8 September 2014

Arbiter 12+6 Doubleneck leftie conversion
As I already mentioned recently, I'm on something of a doubleneck kick lately. I'll explain more in a forthcoming blog post, but in the meantime here's a doublenck Arbiter 12+6 based on the now legendary Gibson EDS-1275, which has been very comptently converted into a left-handed guitar. It's got to be a better leftie doubleneck than some of the Chinese-made cheapies being sold on eBay.

Currently listed on eBay with a starting bid of £299.

G L Wilson

© 2014, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
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Friday, 5 September 2014

Can anyone help identify this mystery semi-hollowbody guitar?
...Love your blog, I've been reading it daily for many years now!

A friend of mine came up with this great looking, but un-branded hollowbody guitar. He got it from the original owner who bought it in 1962. The tailpiece is not original because it was missing when my friend got the guitar. It has some weird active technology in it, powered by a 9 volt battery. When you push the square white button, it activates a little circuit wich gives you a more trebly sound, controlled by the knob next to it. There are no markings, logo's or serial numbers anywhere on this guitar. We've been to a few luthiers but no-one knows what brand it is... So maybe the Guitarz-crowd can help us out!


Koen van Soelen (Holland)
Any ideas, guys? I readily confess that I haven't got a clue.

G L Wilson

EDIT (8 Sept 2014): Arjen Matthys Ehlers tells us via Facebook that "It's a German GIMA, occasionally they pop up in the Netherlands, most of the times in Zebrano wood, but very recognisable by bodyform, pu, controls and push button."

© 2014, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Possibly unique left-handed Rickenbacker 4005/6 semi-hollow Bass VI
Andrew K writes:
What we have here is a Rickenbacker 4005. If that was not rare enough already, it is a lefty. Even rarer than that, it is also a Bass VI. Apparently the 4005 was introduced in 1965 and remained in production until 1984. This also applies to the 4005/6 model seen here, although perhaps the 4005 was never a production model as much as a custom model, so lord knows if any were made after the late 60s. It is a guitar very much of its time, appearing in the tiny gap of time between the rise of the humbucker and the fall of clean tones as well as the only time when bass VIs were 'relevant'. Unlike the Fender Bass VI which was a stand-alone design, or the short scale basses turned VIs made by Gibson, this appears to be the full 33 1/2 inch 4000 series bass scale, meaning chords are a distant memory here. The price here is steep, but seemingly justified. I can't say another of these will EVER see the light of day, especially not in Left handed spec.

Other weird 4005 basses to look out for are the 8 string version, the lightshow edition, and the 8 string lightshow edition.

Before I go I'd like to talk about the unfortunate tale of this bass for a second. Given the extortionate cost of the 360 model guitar in the late 60s, we can only imagine the cost of the 4005. This obviously hurt sales, and the lack of any real big names behind the model didn't help. The model is also unique in being an early example of an actual semi-hollow body bass, rather than the mis-named EB2 and violin body hollowbodies. But as 1970 approached, the disastrous pickup placement (on some bass models, the bridge pickup touches the bridge) and hollow body were seen as outdated and the thin sounding pickups were too weak for the in-crowd. By the early 80s they were so utterly worthless that the bassist for one of Steve Albini's groups, and the bassist for the Replacements, Tommy Stinson, were easily able to afford them. The closest shot at fame the bass had was with Mani from the Stone Roses (who later ditched it in favour of the underrated 3000 series bass), and only rare appearances since.

This sad history means what is a very unique design of bass basically languished in obscurity before becoming so valuable no-one can buy them. Ricks are called semi-hollow for want of a better description, but the body top is thicker and a solid piece of wood, routed out from the rear with the neck set under the pick-ups creating a union of centre block and neck rather than the slim tenon joint used on the laminate Gibsons. This basically means the body isn't going to thump like a violin bass or EB2 bass, and is likely to be far more piano like. The only basses with similar construction not custom made are the small-bodied G&L ASAT and the Gibson Midtown bass, both of which have their own tone as well. I honestly think Rick need to reissue this thing, it may have failed first time round, but times have changed, and this bass is primed to be a hit. The world has changed! We're mature enough to realise our stupidity now! We'll burn all the P-Basses if you just put this back in production!
Thanks Andrew, I've been meaning to feature a Rickenbacker 4005 bass for a long time and you managed to find a lefty Bass VI version. Very cool. I've also been meaning for a very long time to mention a really fantastic book, The Rickenbacker Electric Bass - 50 Years As Rock's Bottom by Paul D. Boyer and published by Hal Leonard. Although you might think that as the book covers a very specific niche subject that it would only appeal to the real fanatics, it is so well written and beautifully illustrated with colour photographs throughout that I think it would keep ANY guitar enthusiast enraptured for hours, and not just the bass players and/or Rickenbacker enthusiasts.

Here, by the way, is what Paul D. Boyer has to say about the Rickenbacker 4005/6 (page 42):
The 4005 served as a baseboard for some interesting variations. The first of these was the six-string 4005/6. Similar in purpose to Fender's "Fender VI," the instrument  was strung EADGBE, but an octave lower than a standard guitar. Both rounded-top and WB [i.e. non-rounded top "with binding"] versions of the 4005/6 exist, and at least one leftiy4005/6 was made. While the six-string bass was offered on price lists from 1967 to '78, very few were made.

The book also shows a photo of a 4005/6 (very possibly the very same example that we have been looking at here) being examined by David Jones of True Tone Music.

The lefty Rickenbacker 4005/6 shown above is currently being offered for sale by Chicago Music Exchange via and has a Buy It Now price of $18,950.

G L Wilson

© 2014, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Atlansia Solitaire single-string fretless bass guitar
I'm trying to figure out if I could get through an entire gig on bass using a single-stringed bass such as this Japanese-made Atlansia Solitaire currently listed on eBay UK. I suppose it depends on the gig and what songs were required. It could certainly work in some scenarios I can think of, although I think that if I had to keep it minimalistic I'd be a lot happier with one of Atlansia's two-string basses such as this or this.

Currently listed on eBay UK with a starting price of £499. (I believe the seller is a long-time Guitarz reader, by the way, so I'll try not to say anything rude about the bass!) You might think that's quite a lot of money for a single string but these pictures should illustrate that this bass is a quality product and quite rare outside of Japan.

G L Wilson

© 2014, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

One of a kind Gibson Master Museum Doubleneck Orville Guitar
The most iconic of all doubleneck guitars is surely the Gibson EDS-1275 as notoriously played by Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page. However, Gibson have produced many other doublenecked instruments over the years, some of which we have already looked at during the 12 year history of Guitarz (which is a round-about way of letting me slip into the text the fact that today is the 12th Anniversary of this blog, the world's first and longest running guitar blog!).

However the above picture doubleneck acoustic is a one-off creation, the Gibson Master Museum Doubleneck Orville and is from the estate of the Late Dr.Michael Brown. It was hand-built in 2003 by Ren Ferguson, who ran the Gibson Master shop for many years. Note how the 12-string neck is the lower of the two - I've often wondered why most other doubleneck 12+6 guitars have the 12-string at the top.

Currently listed on eBay with a quite staggering Buy It Now price of US $34,999. You'd think for that kind of money the guitar would be fitted with more elegant volume and tone controls.

Incidentally, I've got a bit of a thing for doubleneck guitars at the moment. If anyone would like to buy us a 12th Anniversary present, a doubleneck 6+4 (guitar and bass combo) would be received most gratefully!

G L Wilson

© 2014, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Stradi Symphony Five-string Fretless Bass
The design of this Stradi Symphony Five-string Fretless Bass incorporates visual elements from both the electric bass and stand-up acoustic double bass, but at the same time it is quite a minimalistic design with no visible pickups, control knobs or switches being allowed to sully the face of the instrument. In fact, the sole control on the bass is a volume slider and that is to be found located on the backplate on the reverse of the instrument (seems a weird place for it, I'd imagine it could get knocked there). Note how the fingerboard (wenge, apparently) continues all the way to the base of the body beyond the bridge, giving the whole bass a very sleek and elegant appearance.

The specs are as follows:

Body: Walnut and oak with curly maple top
Neck: Hornbeam sides with maple center and walnut lines, two 8mm carbon fibre pipes from headstock to bridge working as resonant chambers and stiffening rods
Fingerboard: One, thick piece of quartersawn wenge. Side dots made of brass with acrylic centre eye.
Tuners: Gotoh
Bridge: Black oak with Stradi cutom piezo pickup underneath
Electronics: Stradi Sweet Transistor Preamp for piezo, Volume slide pot on backplate, 9v battery operation
Strings: Rotosound Tru-Bass

I can't say I'd personally want to keep those horrible black plastic-coated flatwounds on there. One thing that polarises fretless bass players is the whole thorny question of flatwounds versus roundwounds. I am very definitely in the roundwound camp. So, OK, they are going to mark your lovely black minimalist fingerboard - but the lovely sustain they will produced will more than make up for it. But then if you really ARE looking for an upright bass sound which is often more percussive and has a lot less sustain than an electric bass, maybe the RotoSound Tru Bass strings are worth a try?

Item is located in Poland and the starting bid is set at US $2,470.

G L Wilson

© 2014, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Highly ingenious Telecaster guitar and mandolin doubleneck
For the Telecaster player who doubles on mandolin (why do I think this person might be a country player?) here's a very ingenious solution to the age-old problem of cumbersome and back-breakingly heavy doubleneck guitars. This particular Tele guitar and mandolin doubleneck custom-built by Stuart Palmer, cleverly utilises the existing Telecaster body and neatly accommodates the mandolin neck into the upper bout so that the actual guitar body is no bigger than that of a regular Telecaster.

Currently listed on eBay UK with a Buy It Now price of £850.

G L Wilson

© 2014, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.


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