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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teisco May Queen...A Glimpse Into the Future of Electric Bodies

Since it's coming into the month of May, I thought I'd write about the coveted and rare May Queen guitars by Teisco.  These guitars were made in the late 1960's at the height of psychedelic rock and it's clear Teisco was creating products for that market...unusual guitars that these early rockers would find cool and affordable.  Teisco was known for playing with body shapes and explored the ways in which guitars could be transformed in appearance without losing their sound quality.  The May Queen was no exception with its almost palette-like shape, which some claim was inspired from a Vox design.  I've often wondered if the "May Queen" badge was the inspiration for the lyric 'It's just a spring clean for the May Queen' from Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven", which came out in 1971.  Most May Queen guitars that I've seen are in tuxedo black and white, but there are a few out there...very few...that have a red finish that reminds one of a brick color. Another rare color for the May Queen is a beige finish that's kind of blah.  May Queen guitars have a distinctive pickguard with a 'signed' "May Queen" above the Teisco brand in old script.  Here's the red and black side by side:

How beautiful is that?  If you own one or have owned one in your lifetime, you are or were extremely blessed. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Marchis Guitars, Part II

Well I've got something to show you this week, rather than a long discussion.  Here's the Marchis that's from Flat Eric's Blogger page:

This looks almost exactly like East Bay Ray's Marchis from the Dead Kennedys.  Natural finish, natural neck. Did they really come from the factory this way?

Now here's a Marchis from Carl, another owner.

This Marchis is obviously a much earlier Les Paul example.  What's striking is the simple black neck.  Carl says that the original scratchplate was black, too.  Notice that the later version has an applied badge plate screwed on, while the earlier version appears to have been attached as simple label.  But the script is identical.

So here are two examples of this rare guitar.  Do you have one?  Is it similar or different than these examples?  Let me know!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Marchis guitars

A reader begins his message to me with "I understand you have a great knowledge of guitars..."

Oh gosh.  I wish.

Then he asks me about Marchis guitars.  This is a badge I've never even heard of.  Nor seen.  There doesn't seem to be many of them, from a quick glance at the internet.  I did find a fellow blogger with a page on it.  My reader said he has a Les Paul Gold version of the Marchis and Flat Eric's photos show a Telecaster thinline guitar that just about matches one in a 1974 Greco catalog.  Greco utilized Dyna, Fujigen and Matsumoku in manufacturing their guitars, so it's conceivable that Marchis was a badge made by one of these three manufacturers.  Both Matsumoku and Fujigen are the most productive of the timeframe in which Marchis would have been made, however, Dyna made quality guitars as well (they were used by Fender, which is pretty darn selective).  Is it possible that Marchis is a lost Dyna badge?

And much to my surprise guitarist East Bay Ray (Dead Kennedys) owns a Marchis....which is shown in a January 2006 Guitar World on page 33.  So it can't be that horrible of a guitar.

So does anyone else own one of these lost guitars?  Tell me!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Early Guyatone Madness

I've not posted recently because I caught the flu from hell.  Literally.  I went to a concert in Hell, Michigan, and was sick as a dog the day after!  Anyhow, I thought I'd take the time today to talk about some of the legendary Guyatone guitars from the early 1960's.  Guyatone made some pretty cool house brand guitars during their days of Japanese guitar madness.  Let's take a gander.

The LG50 was made a little before the period I've been researching in the late 1950's, but it was exceptional in popularity.  Guyatone badged some of these beauties with the Antoria badge. Most of the pickguards on these guitars are white, but I've seen a few with mother of pearl which just adds to the lustre.  They tended to have blonde finishes and were played by top guitarists of the time, including Jeff Beck and Ringo Starr.

The LG60B reminds me of a tux with its black and white appearance.  The pickguard is the traditional white but really sets off this cool bass electric.  An early guitar (some were made before 1960) and extremely rare, you've got a prize if you can find one of these vintage axes.

If you've never seen an LG130T, you need to.  These compact  tremolo electrics from the early 1960's are a favorite among players who prefer offset waist guitars.  It also helps that they had beautiful chrome pickguards, although my friend Noah disputes that (he says it's damn ugly). 

The Guyatone EB4 is an extremely early example of the basses they made in that 1960's period.  They were another offset waist guitar and super rare if you can find one.  I've never seen this guitar in person.  Check out this video: