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 Post subject: Red Spectrum FX
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 10:47 pm 
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been hankering after an FX for a while, just got this one:

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Last edited by X189player on Sun May 22, 2005 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 1:32 am 
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w00t!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 10:37 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA
That's pretty sweet looking. How does it play?

Matthew


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 2:12 pm 
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I haven't played it yet, still waiting for it to arrive. I'll let you know!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 7:34 pm 
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add a gold ("SilverStone") FX to the mix. they'll look nice together :)

I'm really looking forward to playing them. I'll keep you posted.


Last edited by X189player on Mon May 23, 2005 9:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 11:31 pm 
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I dunno, a pair of relatively unmolested FX's, I'm kinda inclined to leave them that way. I'd consider making those changes to one of my other seven, though... :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2004 6:25 am 
I'd have to agree at least in part. The FX don't come along too often and changing out parts would definitely have an impact on it's origial value and character. I will have to admit the trems (and pickups) on the Spectrum series left a bit to be desired.

If it were possible to find one, the ACT3 was a little better thought out than the Floyd. Pity they are so hard to find now.

EMGs are fantastic pickups but do tend to lean towards hard/heavy rock and metal and not best suited to classic rock or blues. With several guitars though pushing one towards metaldom isn't going to eliminate the option of rolling back the gain and cranking out some Townshend, Page, Young, or the like.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2004 11:43 am 
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Funny, I spent a couple hours online last nite looking for clear pics of the various kinds of tremolo bridges, didn't realize you had such good pics in the Aria catalog section. Great details, I'd love to see similar stuff on the various bridges, wiring, and features of the Electra/Westones... (i know, more is in the works)


Last edited by X189player on Sun May 22, 2005 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 5:41 pm 
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The gold FX arrived today. It really does feel different from the other spectrums, and the Phoenixs too. It feels buttery somehow- I'm going to have to take a close look to see if the edges of the body are radiused differently- and I almost think it's a tiny bit lighter. More sustain with the set neck, for sure. And the pickups are different- quite a bit hotter, and a lot more midrange.

I still have to go through it carefully, restring and check the setup and action, but it's very close already. Nice guitar!

Image


Last edited by X189player on Sun May 22, 2005 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2004 12:23 am 
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After going through the 'gold' FX (the catalog calls it SilverStone) I have to say it's getting to be my favorite. great feel, even greater sound, and the intonation is utterly spotless. The set neck is a big part of it, but it feels to me like the FX line just got a lot more hands-on care in the shop. There is a fair bit more radiusing done to the body than is evident from pictures. Otherwise the hardware is much the same as an SX, though the pickups are definitely different.

Now I think I'm ready to keep looking for two more FX's- a black one and a white one. I just heard today that the red one (above) was shipped and should be here next week. lucky me!

How many years were the FX made? Mine's an 85- were there other colors besides the four listed in the catalog scan Tele provided?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 10:36 pm 
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I'm one happy camper- tonight I won (yes, on edismay) the black FX I've been searching for high and low. It's a project, body and neck only, but I have the bridge and correct pickups to restore it.

Call be an obsessive collector, but I love the FX, it's right up there with the best guitars I've played, and now I have one of each color! When it arrives I'll take a nice group portrait. It also means I'm just about set with every guitar I want- that's just about the last one on my list (except for a black rail guitar)!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 3:59 am 
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Location: California
You Lucky Devil
I've seen some of your work so I know this project will come out great.

I'd like to see it but can't find the auction on a spectrum fx project.
What is the number?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 7:11 am 
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Yes, it takes unflagging obsession, er, dedication.

7324168968


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 1:34 pm 
Looks sweet, one of my old band members back in the 80's used to have a Spectrum SX or DX (black) I can't remember which.

Does the FX have a heel-less neck?
I always liked the look of those necks, looks comfortable to play.

Are the Electra Westones Spectrum's identical to the Westone Spectrum's?

We never seem to get any Electra Westone's in Old Blighty, but then again we are blessed with plenty of Thunder's. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 7:41 pm 
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Electra Phoenix, Electra Westone, and Westone Spectrum are all the same guitar really, with variations in configuration and hardware. They're all that same unique and original double cutaway shape designed by SLM guru Tom Presley in the late 70's when the handwriting was on the wall that no matter how cool the MPC guitars were, Electra was going to have to stop making copies. This plus the cool reception of the MPC called for something new.


So the Electra Phoenix was the new all-original body style released first in 1980, featuring Tom's innovative wiring plans and a variety of configurations from econo to deluxe.

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Electra was a Saint Louis Music brand manufactured by Matsumoku, so that's why there aren't any Electra Phoenixes overseas- they were made for the US market.

But by 83 it was clear that the Electra name had too much baggage from the past as 'cheap copies'. In 84 SLM transitioned to the Electra Westone name on the same guitars, and in 85 dropped the Electra name entirely in favor of Westone, and these particular guitars were called Spectrum. Westone was a brand name sold by Matsumoku in the UK (and, I've heard it said, originally started as a US brand- anyone know details on that?) Apparently some sort of deal was struck at that point, because the old Westone line continued in the UK, and the SLM-designed Spectrums, as well as other Tom Presley designs such as the Dynasty and Dimension IV were added to the Westone lineup in the UK, and appeared as supplements to the Westone catalog.

It's worth mentioning that the Original Westones are rather a different breed of guitar than the SLM Westones, many were very high end with exotic flamed tops and such- certainly similar like all Matsumoku guitars, but about as different as, say, an Electra is from a Vantage.

The Electra Phoenixes came in a variety of configurations denoted by their model number, such as X189, X150, etc, according to the pattern set by previous Electras. These model numbers continued in the Westone Spectrums, but to make it easier for the public to understand the models, letter designations were added- DX, FX, etc. I'm going to have to check my notes to give an exhaustive listing of these (some of which I've never seen, such as the MX which seems to have been a UK-only model). But here's the most common Spectrum letter series found in the US:

ST- standard, i.e. economy model, with two H-H pickups, two knobs for volume and tone, and an inexpensive bridge.

SX- three H-S-S pickups, a 5-way switch, and three knobs for volume, tone, and tone.

DX- two H-H pickups, just like the ST only with a better bridge and locking nut. It appears the electronics were the basis for much of the price differences, and this model offered low-end electronics with a top-end bridge and nut system like the LX and FX, making this a great 'bang for the buck' model.

LX- this is the classic H-S-H model that originally appeared as the X185 and X189 Electra Phoenix, with an upgraded bridge and locking nut. This model in its variations over the years is the quintessential workhorse so many of us came to know and love. Three knobs for Volume, Tone & tone.

Image


And finally that brings us to the high end, the best of the Electra Phoenix/Westone Spectrums:

FX- H-S-H like the LX, only with a set neck and seemingly a lot more custom handwork in finishing. It's the same body shape plus hours more smoothing, radiusing- they're slinky, they're the same great guitar plus custom attention. I know this custom shop treatment appears on premium models of other Uncle Matt brands, the FX's are among the best.

Image


Ironically, these models were (except for the white ones) painted to look like neck-through, whcih they aren't. It's a shame, because the FX is truly one of the finest Uncle Matt guitars, yet this detail needlessly makes them seem fake. In addition to these other features, the FX had really over-the-top versions of the MMK pickups, the Magnaflux VII's, which offer not only superlative tone but amazing dynamic range (the Dimensions IV's also had these pickups). The early FX's had a set neck with a heel, but the later ones had the heelless neck mentioned above. Curiously, this heellesss neck appears in the Spectrum FX catalog in red and gold models, but I've never actually seen a red or gold one this way- in my experience only the black and white ones had this feature. It would appear that the difference is between 85 and 86, and that despite catalog listings the red and gold were only available in 85 and the black and white were only in 86. I could be wrong about this, it's just a theory but so far it's proven true.



Most of the above info is in the Westone catalogs on this site:

Spectrum FX, LX, SX catalog
Spectrum DX, ST catalog


There are more models I haven't mentioned, such as the MX, which I'lltry to follow up on. There also appear to be Spectrum versions of the single-humbucker X125, but I haven't found a letter designation for them yet. There are also a number of Electra Phoenix configurations that later dropped out of sight, such as the H-H with four knobs.


Last edited by X189player on Tue May 24, 2005 12:19 am, edited 3 times in total.

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