Sunday, August 2, 2015

1970s Ibanez AD-230 Analog Delay & Multi-Flanger

Vintage Japanese effects unit, super high-quality pro-audio equipment

After suspecting that the GX60 Ibanez guitar amp that I've recently come across was built by Maxon, the discovery of this beauty may have confirmed it. The circuit boards inside the casing all have Maxon stamped on them and it all looks super clean as well.

This will need repair, however. It powers up fine and switches between effects, but the effects don't actually kick in unless you crank the volume to the max. Something must be shorted out somewhere. Hopefully it will be an easy fix. When I'm able to find the sweet spot and this thing works like it should, the sounds are top-notch.

This has a very large following in the collector's market, like most 70s and early-80s Ibanez gear. Famous players who used this model, which was manufactured between 1977 and 1979 are Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and Steve Miller. On top of being highly-collectable, these are also incredibly rare. I've seen it listed from anywhere between $550 and $1200 recently.

Thanks for looking, more high-resolution photos here.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

1977 Kay Model No. K590 Acoustic Guitar

Vintage Korean Gibson Hummingbird copy with hardly a scratch on her, a true closet gem

I have to admit, I picked up this guitar just based on looks alone and the fact that the seller lived about 2 miles away from me definitely helped. This previous owner said that it was their grandpa's guitar and I would guess that it has sat in it's case, in a closet or under the bed, for the better part of its existence.

It's a lightweight acoustic, but definitely a better build than the Kay and Checkmate guitars that I've had in the past, which were produced in Japan in the 1960s. It does play and sound nice, just not quite as pretty as she looks. The sunburst finish, hummingbird pickguard and fretboard inlays all give it that classic look.

Unlike may of the modern guitars out there today, this one not only has a vintage vibe, but is a legit 35-year old guitar that looks relatively brand new. I'll slap some new strings on it and give it a shot. Worst-case scenario, it's a useable guitar that will look great on the wall...

Thanks for looking, more high-resolution photos here.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

1978 Takamine F-385 12-String Acoustic Guitar

Vintage Japanese Martin copy from the lawsuit era. Some cosmetic defects, but still rock solid

Sticking with the made in Japan theme, this beauty was yet another thrift store find. Its amazing what people will give away. After parting with the 1995 G335 a couple of summers ago, I'd been looking for another Takamine 12-string and was very fortunate to have this one fall in to my lap.

It plays nice and easy, but it definitely needs a setup and some intonation work. I always set up my 12-strings with extra light strings and usually add this in on recordings to accentuate certain sections with arpeggios, just slightly in the mix.

Something occurred to me as I was taking the photos of this guitar; the date is stamped onto one of the braces around the soundhole, just like the old Carlos acoustic guitars featured here. The Carlos models that I've owned had a date stamped there from 1980-85 and the font on the stamp looks identical. The big hole in that theory is the fact that Takamines were made in Japan until at least the mid-80s and Carlos guitars were made in Korea. Of course, some of the early Jasmine models were made in Korea, so maybe it's not a completely crackpot theory.

Thanks for looking, more high-resolution photos here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

1985 Aria Pro II RS Knight Warrior

Vintage Japanese super-strat, made by Matsumoku and equipped with a Kahler Flyer tremolo


The younger cousin of the strat copy that I scored a couple of years back, this one is its mirror image and 30 years has seen the white finish age into a killer vintage cream color. The pickups seem to be original, although most photos that I've found show the guitar with blade style pickups. That Kahler Flyer is definitely stock though. I took this to Clay at Beach City Pawn and Guitar for the setup and even though its a bit of a pain to do with that bridge, it does play and sound super sweet.

Getting back to those pickups, I found a set of vintage blade pickups, including an MMK 45 humbucker, but the PUPs inside looked to be the same build, so we decided to leave it be. This guitar doesn't have the output of some of my other electrics, but it gets really nice clean sounds and the Flyer alone is probably worth what I paid for it.

These are high-quality mid-grade guitars, worst-case scenario, and you can find them for $200 or less most times. I'm currently in the market for a bass with a rosewood fretboard and it's either going to be an Aria or another Ibanez Roadstar, which I also brought in for Clay to look at. If you live in Orange County and you need repairs to your guitars, check out the Yelp page above.

Thanks for looking, more high-resolution photos here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

1980s Ibanez GX60 Guitar Amp

Vintage early-80s Japanese combo amp, great cleans and distortions, takes pedals very well 


This was an incredible thrift store find and a rarity at that. Ibanez is among my favorite guitar brands, namely because of their electric guitars and the "fast necks" that they've been equipped with since at least 1980. This amp was also built around that time and just about everything they pumped out seems to be high quality merchandise.

Ibanez guitars and pedals from the era have a great reputation and are highly-sought after in the collectors' market, but I had no idea that they made amps as well. Much like the Boss SE processors from the late-80s simulate the sound of the pedals produced by Roland in the same period, this amp is capable of reproducing "tubescreamer" tones with the distortion on and the reverb is also very smooth.

Like many of the other items that have been featured here over the years, I haven't been able to dig up much information on this beauty. Its possible that the amp was built by Maxon, which also made the Ibanez pedals referred to above. If anyone has any info on this amp, including whether or not it came with a footswitch, please feel free to drop a line.

Thanks for looking, more high-resolution photos here.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

1980s Carlos Model No. 240S Acoustic Guitar

Vintage solid-top dreadnought, date unknown, but sweeter than words can describe 

If you've been following this blog, by now you know that I'm a full-blown Carlos enthusiast. I had never even heard of them before I came across a Model No. 249 in August 2012, but the way that one played and sounded was enough to get me hooked. This is the 12th Carlos guitar that I've picked up since then and four of them are still in my possession.

This is the first Carlos solid-top model that I've had my hands on and it sounds absolutely incredible, with both the low end and brights ringing out loud and clear. Cosmetically, there are just a couple of small dings on the face of the guitar, but not really any other flaws. The wood on both the front and back of the guitar are very attractive and the cream binding also classes it up.

I'm having trouble dating this one, as there is no serial number listed anywhere, but my educated guess would be somewhere between 1981 and 1985. I did have a Model No. 240 at one point, but that one was an older one, based on the style of the tuning pegs and the adjustable saddle. The Carlos logo on the headstock of this guitar is also unlike any other that I've seen thus far. If you have any information on this model, please pass it along...

Thanks for looking, more high-resolution photos available here.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

1974 Yamaha FG-200 Acoustic Guitar

Vintage dreadnought, made in Taiwan, a little beat up, but still a great player 

Though not as nice as the first FG-200 that I picked up last year, this one sounds and plays beautifully, even if it has more than a couple of cosmetic flaws. One tuning key is a little off-center and another has been replaced completely, but at least a Grover was used as the replacement.

This are too many dings and scratches to count along the body and face, but nothing too deep and none of them effect the structure at all. Someone also installed a strap holder at some point, but they did a fairly good job of it.

One thing that caught my eye was that the tuners say "Made in Japan", but the guitar was clearly built in Taiwan. This must have been one of the first batches made over there, with some of the parts being imported from Nippon Gakki. It has a sweet low-end tone, like the other four vintage FG series guitars that I've been lucky enough to find. I installed a set of Martin SP Light strings and will definitely show this one some love in the coming weeks.

Thanks for looking, more high-resolution photos here.