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.

Friday, February 28, 2014

1980s-90s Arion SAD-3, SFL-1 & SOD-1 Effects Pedals

Vintage stomp boxes, one classic Japanese make and two reissues made in Sri Lanka 

These pedals are widely available and they don't really get much respect, but they definitely get the job done, especially for the price. The delay is the most expensive, as is normally the case, but the reissue OD pedal can be found for as little as $25 in some cases.

The positives of these cheap little guys by far outweigh the negatives, mainly the plastic casings and battery covers that can easily pop off and go missing. But on the positive side, these are all stereo pedals. I've found that the delay works better for vocals, but can also produce some freak out noise for guitars. The four-knob flanger (the vintage Japanese pedal) has a little more flexibility than many of it's competitors and while the Overdrive pedal isn't anything special, one thing it has going for it is that the noise level is very low.

Thanks for looking, more high-resolution photos here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

1992 Takamine G330 Acoustic Guitar

Vintage dreadnought, made in Taiwan, a precursor to today's G Series 

SCGM loves Takamine guitars, from the old Japanese Martin copies to today's G Series, the company has always put out quality, affordable products. This one was a craigslist find, it has it's flaws, but they're purely cosmetic. The finish has a milky haze, which I've read is moisture that somehow gets between the wood and the finish. The previous owner couldn't figure out exactly how it happened, but this Takamine 12-string from the same era also had the problem.

Like that 12-string, this guitar also plays and sounds great. I've had a G334 since December 1994 and this one feels nearly identical. The action is nice and low, with no buzz whatsoever. It also has the same die-cast Takamine tuners. We'll leave this one out of the case to see if that haze starts to dissipate after time and will set it up with a new bone saddle sooner than later, to get an even sweeter tone from this beauty.

Thanks for looking, more high-resolution photos here.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

1970s-80s Teac ME-15 Electret Condenser Microphone

Found this little gem while browsing through a thrift store, turns out it captures acoustic guitar recordings very well 

I didn't expect to find a piece of gear to add to my collection while walking through my local Goodwill store, but that's part of the reason why I stop in there every week or two, because you just never know what's sitting on the shelves in those places.

Teac, of course, is an electronics company that still exists to this day and they were known for putting out high-quality consoles in the 70s and 80s. This mic definitely seems like a budget model, as the build isn't all that impressive. Plastic casing and a mic that is powered by a AA battery. Looks really aren't very important when you're talking about putting sound onto disc (or tape, in the era this was produced).

 I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this little beauty performed admirably when I recorded a rough acoustic guitar demo to test it out and the adapter that came in the box allows me to use two tracks from the same take. I'll keep experimenting with it and see how it handles when laying down drum tracks.

Thanks for looking, more high-resolution photos here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

1981 Carlos Model No. 249 Acoustic Guitar

The third Model No. 249 we've featured, this one also needed repair 

SCGM returns after a long hiatus with another one of our favorite finds, the Carlos Model No. 249 acoustic guitar. Unfortunately, this one needed more work than the previous two that I'd found, as the bridge was coming up so bad, that it wasn't playable at all.

This one was a year older than the others that I'd come across and the finish was just a tad lighter than the 1982 versions. Aside from the problem with the bridge, there was also a hairline crack where the neck met the headstock, but it didn't as though it was a fatal flaw.

This one was passed along to another Carlos collector, who will more than likely make the necessary repairs and add a very nice and inexpensive piece to their acoustic guitar arsenal. Check back here later this week for another Carlos dreadnought that will be arriving at my door in a few days.

Thanks for looking, more high-resolution photos here.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

1980s Yamaha CH-10MII & FL-10MII Effects Pedals

Vintage Japanese stompboxes, lesser-known, but very high-quality units

This could be the last pedal post or any post, for a little while, SCGM goes on vacation starting this morning. With that disclaimer, let's get to the gear... These pedals are both real nice and the price tag is about half that of their Boss counterparts and slightly lower than the vintage DOD pedals.

The only catch is that the Yamaha MII line doesn't come along nearly as often as those or even some of the boutique pedals from the 70s and 80s. The delays still run for around $100, but these two were scored for a much lower price than that. The chorus pedal is real clean and the fact that it's stereo is also a bonus. When paired with a DOD DFX94 digital delay pedal, it replicated that Andy Summers "Walking on the Moon" sound to a tee.

The flanger is also very nice, I chose this over another good vintage, 4-button flanger made by Arion. This one was a little more quiet and didn't seem to change the volume or tone very much. When looking for vintage pedals, keep these in mind. You can save a ton of cash and still get killer vintage tone.

Thanks for looking, more high-resolution photos here.