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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 1:36 pm 
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You've done a ton of homework and make an excellent case. I like your reference to the "old Mike Electra site", seeing as I am "old Mike it made me smile :-)

The Hagstrom page info is amazing, it's almost identical to what was on the old page but different enough that neither of us copied from each other. If memory serves, I took most of the Pacific Music info right from Michael Wright as it looks like the Hag page might have too.

As far as SLM still being around, you betchya, I've bought two awesome Crate amps from them in the last 5 years. Wow Bernard Kornblum still running the show, that's amazing!

You are correct, the PCM logo was usually the "Scooby Doo" style logo with a white background while SLM used the same logo with no white background. Right again, many of the PCM guitars had an X on the peghead and some on the pickguard.

I've had Electra at 1971-1984 since 2000. Everything points to this, the 1984 we're 100% sure of, and while all things point to 1971 as the introduction (I have a 1972 catalog) this is not cast in stone, some people feel it may be earlier than '71.

My guess on your guitars is 1974-75, earlier would surprise me because of the set necks and later would floor me because of the open book headstock.

I would never rule out an Ibanez connection, it's just that no solid proof has ever been offered either way.

Looks like you've opened a reall can of worms here T-Max...ain't it great :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 4:48 pm 
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Ahhhhh, so YOU are Mike!

You Da' Man !!

Do you still have all those headstocks and stuff archived (that didn't make it onto the new site)?

And I had to go back and check, but I said old "Mike's Electra Page"

Not "old Mike's Electra Page"

(phew!)

Now, I told this one already (on the FORMER forum) but if it wasn't for your FORMER site, I likely wouldn't have my supposed-Burgundy Pro. I got that on ebay last year and I think the seller was one of those "ebay store" outfits where you bring 'em your stuff and they sell it for you. He did a lousy job with the pics because they weren't very clear, they weren't sufficiently close up, and there weren't enough of 'em. He had no pic of the back. And no real description of the guitar. One of the too-few pics he had was of the case (!!). It's nice to see the case, but .....

So it was hard to tell exactly what this thing was (unless you're a pretty savvy Electra person). I emailed him about whether it was a set neck or bolt (no pic of the back) and he never answered me. So I assume he wasn't answering anyone else either.

But I looked at all of your pics of 335 models and counted frets and checked the details and concluded that it was a set neck Burgundy Pro, or something very much like it. All of the bolt 335's have 21 frets and this has 22 (like the real thing). Plus the toggle is where it is on the real thing instead of on the lower horn, as on the earlier Electra 335's.

As a result, I ended up with the thing at a nice price. It didn't get the action it warranted for what it is and I think his lousy presentation was largely responsible. The information I got from your site gave me the confidence to really go after it and it paid off.

By the way, I happened to check a Vintage Guitar magazine article (online) earlier today regarding the first Gibson red ES-335 (in December 1958). The early Gibson 335's had unbound F-holes, as does mine. I think the Ibanez 2454 also has unbound F-holes. If mine's not a cast-off Ibanez 2454, it's as close an exact copy of the original red ES-335's as the Ibanez 2454, and that one is meant to be pretty exact.

Except for the markers. The original thing had dot markers, and these have the rectangles. I'm guessing they wanted to fancy it up a bit, but otherwise keep it as much of a true copy as they could.

As to post-'75 Electra headstocks, I think there are quite a few examples of '76 open books around. Probably not many (if any) after '76, but I think it took Electra a bit longer than Ibanez to give it up. Remember that it was Ibanez that was getting the pressure from Norlin -- probably because they had the most extensive line and were the biggest threat -- and thus it was Ibanez that was first to roll over on the headstock thing (which was Norlin's real beef). That's why I think there must have been some left-over Ibanez guitars with the forbidden headstock lying around the factories when the word came down from Ibanez that they would no longer accept those starting with the '76 model year. Ibanez wasn't about to fool around with this headstock thing because it just wasn't worth it to them. Once they made the decision to change the shape for '76, that was that. So they weren't going to accept ANY more of those open book headstock jobs from the factory(s). I'm sure they were on solid ground contractually or they wouldn't have done it. And the factories had most likely been working ahead due to the booming copy business at the time, so they probably had quite a few already made.

And what to do with them when Ibanez would no longer take them and wasn't obligated to do so?

I'm not surprised they made it into the marketplace with a different name on them.

If they did. And I think it likely they did.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:13 pm 
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That's as plausable a scenario as any. There never was a lawsuit though, just the threat of one from Norlin to Ibanez' parent, I think it's Hoshino or something like that. I laugh when you see the "lawsuit" term tossed around on fleabay because there wasn't one nor was there even a threat of one to anyone but Ibanez...the headstock change occured as what is termed "a gentelman's agreement" and the offending companies all changed willingly.

My dates are a little off, my 1976 Electra catalog was chock full of Gibson open book headstocks, the wave headstock debut was in 1977. By the 1978 catalog the headstocks were wave or modified open book (which I beleive was introduced in late 1976). Oddly enough, the 1977 catalog has no shortage of ripped off Fender headstocks :-)

As for ES-335's they have had different fret markers over the years (including blocks) as well as there are other very similar models like the ES-345, 335T, 335TD, 340, 347, 355...the Electra's could have been a copy of any of them or a compilation of all of them. I'd be surpised if a maker like Electra set out to copy a vintage guitar in the 70's as they mostly seemed to copy Gibson and Fender's current guitars. If you look at some MPC's, it seems some of the early ones copied Gibsons very unpopular sandwich bodies while all copied the maple neck that Gibson only employed regularly on Pauls in the 70's. As far as exact copies, a lot of times the measurements were not exact and almost always the metric bridges and hardware were nowhere near exact copies. Combine this with the fact that vintage guitars were pretty much a fringe interest in the 70's as most people were buying new or lightly used (curses, I wish I had picked up 100 '59 Les Pauls back in 1975 :-) )


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:15 pm 
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I'm just going to post these links because I came across them today and they have something in them about the Japanese copy wave of the 70's. This one has a pretty comprehensive overview discussion -

http://www.vintageguitar.com/brands/details.asp?ID=94

And this one -

http://www.vintageguitar.com/brands/details.asp?ID=20

prompted me to post these links because of the blurb in there -

Fresher guitars were built by the Matsumoto Musical Instrument Manufacturers� Association, a consortium of suppliers in the Matsumoto region. This organization, by the way, did not include either Fujigen Gakki or Matsumoku, the area�s more famous manufacturers.

which relates to this blurb -

The clue that may solve this quandary was provided during research on the Ibanez history book. In 1966, Hoshino decided it was more cost effective to buy its electric guitars from suppliers than to make its own, and began sourcing them primarily from Fuji-Gen Gakki of Matsumoto City, with some also coming from Teisco Toyoshina, which was owned by Kawai. Yep, Teiscos! Right around 1970, when this Model 2020 was made, Teisco went out of business and many of its top people got jobs at Fuji-Gen.

which came from this link -

http://www.vintageguitar.com/brands/details.asp?ID=211

I'm not sure what all that means and I'm too tired to try to think it thru now, but I was thinking maybe it meant something like Ibanez was sourcing some of its guitars from the Matsumoto Musical Instrument Manufacturers� Association. But now that I see it all in one place, I think it doesn't mean that at all.

I think it just means that Fuji-Gen Gakki (or Fujigen Gakki, if you prefer) was located in Matsumoto City, as, apparently, was Matsumoku AND the Matsumoto Musical Instrument Manufacturers' Association.

That is, they were all located in Matsumoto City (or that area). And that's all it means.

Anyway, the articles are kind of interesting in regard to what makers were supplying Ibanez, SLM, etc.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:23 pm 
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By the way, the links to the Vintage Guitar articles on the "Electra History" tab at the main page of the site don't take me to those articles. They just take me to the main Vintage Guitar page.

Do you happen to have the link to the particular articles? Or does anybody?

I tried to search for them using VG's search box, but I couldn't find them. They seem to have quite a few archived articles, so I would assume they are available (but maybe not).


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:32 pm 
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Yes good stuff, but most of the Michael Wright stuff is older info. That is to say it was the best going at the time but more info, some of it that suppliments his info as well as fills in some blanks has surfaced and been incorporated into the page I beleive.

As far as being made by Matsumoku, not all Electras are, in fact I beleive the Mats connection probably started late '75-76. If you look at the guitars in Electra/Apollo's 1972 catalog, I've always thought some, particularly the Apollo's, have a very Teisco feel to them. So Teisco being an early builder wouldn't surprise me at all.

Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, those Electra articles were never available online, just in the two mentioned print versions of VG.

Don't burn yourself out on this T-Max, a littlle bit at a time is the best you can hope for...and be prepared that the whole picture may never be known. Check out the thread where I've posted the original Electra page (when it was just over a year old...probably less than 6 months old!). You'll appreciate how far our knowledge of Electras has come :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 6:56 am 
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Not really burning myself out, tho' I do tend to be a bit obsessive about some things.

But I've been working on this historical angle for about a year now. So it's nothing new. I got started on the whole Matsumoku thing with the purchase of my first (ebay) Vantage VP-795 over a year ago. I still like the Vantages a lot, but I've become much more of an Electra fan now.

I have three X-270's and no good explanation why I have to have three of them. Other than they were there and I got them for what I considered a good price. But when I take one out and play it a bit, I'm still very glad that I have three of 'em. These Electras are just beautiful guitars and I find them to be very special.

And I've played my fair share of Gibsons and such.

I don't know that I'd ever take anything over some of the old Gibson acoustic guitars (if I could afford 'em), but as far as electrics go, I think it's pretty hard to beat some of these Electras that I've been lucky enough to acquire.

So the whole historical thing about who made what is very interesting to me. I love wood and wood craftsmanship, and I see so much of that in these guitars. They are beautiful things and then when you play them they make beautiful music. How can ya beat that!?!?!

I fully agree with you that not ALL Electras are Matt guitars. It looks like the '76-'84 (inclusive) guitars are (or pretty much all are), but the ones prior thereto were probably coming from wherever.

As far as my two go, and particularly this last one, I have to wonder about who made it. As far as I know now, only Ibanez was offering this sort of copy. One good thing about "fleabay" is that you get to see a LOT of guitars and what's out there in the world. I wish there were an ebay "easy button" to guarantee that I could find every possible ES-175 for sale at any given time, but there isn't. I found this one because I always search for Electras. But this seller didn't advertise this as an ES-175, so a search for that wouldn't have turned it up. So I guess the only way for me to find any possible ES-175 copies would be to search for every possible brand that might have put one of these out back in the day. Or look at every one of the bazillion guitars up for sale on fleabay at any given time.

I suspect that there might well be some Greco's out there, or some other branded ones. But unless I see some significant numbers of them, I'll have to continue to assume that it was just Ibanez that was ordering these things and that any other branded ones (like my Electra or any possible Greco, etc) were the products of my Ibanez cast-off theory.

I don't think it makes much logical sense that any of the Japanese copy factories would have been getting sufficient orders for copies of somewhat-obscure Gibson guitars. For example, Gibson kept pretty good records over the years. Thus we could pretty easily find out how many ES-175's they were selling in the 50's and 60's. I doubt the numbers would have warranted much Japanese production of that kind of copy. Since we know that Ibanez chose to have them made, whatever you think of the logic of it, then we know that factory (or factories) was set up to produce them for others.

And so when I get my guitar and find that its quality is consistent with Ibanez quality of the era -- which I HOPE and expect to be the case -- then I have to assume that it was made by the factory (or one of the factories) that was making them for Ibanez.

My "cast-off Ibanez" theory makes the most sense to me, but it's always possible that Electra just chose to order a few of these from that same factory(s) on its own. It's possible that in say '73-75, SLM was considering going more in the Ibanez direction of offering a more diverse lineup of quality copy guitars. So they ordered a few of these and maybe a few like my so-called BP. Then they went in a different direction (as did Ibanez at about the same time) and decided to market their own style of quality guitars that were based on the famous American models but not intended to be somewhat exact copies.

If that's indeed what happened, I'm okay with that. Because it STILL means that my guitars were made by one of the factories that supplied Ibanez with them. There just weren't any other factories set up to make these particular models with this kind of quality. It doesn't make sense to me that any of the other Japanese factories would be willing to get all geared up to put out a few of these guitars (with any degree of quality) unless they expected to be getting significant numbers of orders for them down the line. They might be willing to throw together some real cheapo jobs, but not something of substantial fit and finish (like I see with my BP).

Anyway, that's my thinking at the moment.

And speaking of my BP, it occurred to me last night as I was playing it, that it reminds me a lot of one of my other guitars. I knew there was something about it but I didn't place it until last night.

It reminds me a lot of my Ibanez Artist. That one is an '83, but they seem very similar to me indeed. I would NOT say that the Artist is more well-made than the BP. I would say that the BP is just as well-made, and probably even a bit better.

So there's a direct comparison.

I wish I had a circa 1975 Artist to compare it to. Or better yet, how about an Ibanez ES-175 copy (the 2355)? Wouldn't that be wild?

They have to be out there somewhere!!

Now, if I really wanted to stir up some trouble perhaps I could raise the question of who do you think made the Electra Howard Roberts model? That's a guitar that's similar to the ES-175 in terms of manufacture because it's an acoustic/electric box and thus requires some more skill to make (beyond a solid body guitar).

And who was already making a quality model of that guitar?

Keep in mind that all of the players (SLM, Ibanez and the Japanese factories actually making the guitars) were certainly fully aware that a guitar like the Howard Roberts copy wasn't going to be a high-production guitar. They must have known that at best they would sell relatively low numbers of these quality copies. So it doesn't seem to make sense that very many factories would gear up to make the thing -- especially with any degree of quality. It's just not cost-effective to do so.

They might be willing to crank out a few low-quality guitars, but nothing like the Ibanez and Electra guitars.

I did see a beautiful example of one of those on ebay not that long ago, and it had no brand name on it at all. It was basically an exact copy of the real thing, to include the headstock inlay. It went for a bit under a thousand, if I remember correctly. Too high for me but I think a darn good price and a darn good buy for the right guy. If you aren't willing to spend an outrageous sum for the real thing, this looked like about as good as you can do to get something just as good and maybe (probably?) even better.

Which, in my opinon, can be said about a LOT of the Electra and Ibanez guitars as compared to what Gibson was putting out for a good while there.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:17 am 
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I don't think it makes much logical sense that any of the Japanese copy factories would have been getting sufficient orders for copies of somewhat-obscure Gibson guitars. For example, Gibson kept pretty good records over the years. Thus we could pretty easily find out how many ES-175's they were selling in the 50's and 60's. I doubt the numbers would have warranted much Japanese production of that kind of copy.

Never fails. As soon as I open my big mouth .....

Check out this current ebay item -

http://cgi.ebay.com/1967-Epiphone-Sorre ... 0001603407

and note where he says -

This was an extremely popular guitar in its time. Many blues, jazz, and soul artists used this model in the late 60s and early 70s on stage and in the recording studio. It is extremely versatile. It will handle "slinky strings" which will facilitate rock and blues; or you can equip it with a set of flat wounds for mello jazz.

So maybe it WAS a lot more popular back then than I wuz thinking?

BTW, that's a pretty sweet little number and I put it on my watch list for fun. Care to guess how much it will end up going for (or how high it will get but not make reserve)?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 6:16 pm 
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Lol, I feel your pain. In 5 years of running the Electra page I can't begin to count the times I thought I had it all figured out and then was thrown a loop...that's the fun of it all :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 6:58 pm 
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Stratty -

I should have mentioned that I checked out your old original page, as you suggested. Very interesting stuff indeed.

One thing that stuck me was the headstock shot of the Dan Armstrong plexiglass copy. I think that logo is the one Electra should have stuck with. It's nice and simple and also kinda looks like the Gibson logo from a distance. I wish I had that logo on the new ES-175.

And the pearloid tuners that came on the real ones from Gibson. See my post just now in the "Restoration" topic.

I think those tuners will really make the new guitar look sweet. If I can just figure out a way to put them on without drilling new holes.

I just can't abide drilling new holes.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 6:48 am 
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Location: Amarillo, Texas USA
To Stratty O'Caster:

How have you been?

Good to have you back among us in these pages ..........

RCSBLues 8)

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RCSBlues
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:57 pm 
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Stratty (Guys) -

I think my case is getting stronger. There's another one up on ebay right now, but this one is branded "Nashville" -

http://cgi.ebay.com/1975-Jazz-Guitar-by ... dZViewItem

You would think the guy could put up a few decent pics, but it would seem that this is just another orphaned Ibanez that got branded Nashville this time. Note his blurb (if he knows what he's talking about) -

This 1975 Nashville Guitar is modeled after the Gibson ES 175, and was built in the same factory, using the same parts as Ibanez guitars in the same time period. It was one of the "law suit" guitars, which are named because several Japanese manufacturers were being sued by Gibson in the 1970's for creating exact replicas of the Gibson guitars.

If what he says is true then '75 would indeed seem to fit with my theory as does the fact that it was built by the Ibanez factory. His lawsuit information is wrong, as per usual, but that's usually the case with that.

I think I'll send him a PM and see if I can get a chat goin' and pick his brain to see if he really has any legitimate information.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 6:28 pm 
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RCSBlues wrote:
To Stratty O'Caster:

How have you been?

Good to have you back among us in these pages ..........

RCSBLues 8)


Thanks RCS! You can only stay away from the things and people you really like for so long :-)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 6:33 pm 
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T-Max, I wouldn't rule it out, but I would never accept what any eBay seller "claims" as gospel without solid evidence to back the claims up. Some people innocently pass on bad info they've gotten while other just lie to attempt to raise the price.

If I had a dollar for every "lawsuit", "made by Ibanez", "better than Gibson" I've seen in eBay ads...well I'd have a lot of dollars ;-)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:05 am 
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My new ES-175 is scheduled to arrive either today or tomorrow (I hope).

In the meantime, I found further evidence in regard to making my case stronger (that my so-called Burgundy Pro is actually an orphaned '75 Ibanez 2454). This argument, I believe, applies as well to the new ES-175

And I don't know why I never noticed this before, but it might be because I have a documented history of failure to observe the obvious. Thus the two ex-wives -- especially the last one. Man, that's one mean-ass woman who's clearly got issues.

What wuz I thinkin'?

Anyway, here it is. Check out the pics of my "BP."

Image

http://img164.imageshack.us/my.php?image=22532ax.jpg

(the second one is one I previously loaded and I can't figure out how to get it to "image" here, so I've just stuck the link in -- which seems to work)

Notice how there's no block inlay at the first fret? All the BPs I've seen so far, including the one at the Electra site, have a block inlay at the first fret. Not to mention that the Electra BP block inlays are the scalloped blocks whereas mine aren't. Compare that with the pic of the Ibanez 2454 in the '75 catalog -

http://www.break-even.org/ibzscans/1975FB/75-4.jpg

which clearly shows the 2454 has a block inlay (non-scalloped) at the first fret. And although its hard for me to see, the headstock inlay looks like a crown just like on my guitar. I suspect it is because I suspect it's nothing more than exactly like the one shown on the precursor model 2370 from the '71 catalog -

http://www.break-even.org/ibzscans/1971/71-14.jpg

Now, why would Electra put out a production '76 Burgundy Pro with non-scalloped blocks and no block inlay at the first fret?

That's just another reason why I think my "BP" is just an orphaned Ibanez 2454 that got branded Electra.

Not trying to beat a dead horse here, just something that I find interesting and, I think, consistent with this subject and Stratty's post which started this thread.


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