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Guitar Guru

Another session in front of Maharishi Day and his all seeing wang bar.


Once again the shapely form of Guitar Guru Paul Day springs from his well of contemplation, dripping jewelled bogies of wisdom, and ready to answer your questions on guitars rare and whacky. Take it away, Guz...

John Kirby (no address): "I've been told my Gretsch is a Broadkaster: double cutaway, sunburst, model no. 7604, serial 65130, bolted trem, and two 'bar' pickups. My acoustic is a Kasuga 12-string, model T300. Any info?"

David Foley (Hove, Sussex): "I have a Framus Jan Akkerman electric and would like to know more about it. Are Framus still in business, as I've been trying to find knobs to fit it?"

Gary Bloom (Gayton, Norfolk): "I want to sell my Fender Made-in-USA 'Black & Gold' Deluxe Telecaster, but have no idea of its value. I paid £375 new in 1983. Fender UK told me it's 'extremely rare and one of a special edition' but gave no value. There's no-one round here in the know apart from the local music shop owner and I don't trust him to give me a fair estimate. Can you help?"

S Smith (Lpool 4): "Any info on my Kramer aluminium neck guitar — I don't know what model as Mr Kramer had the great idea of putting no identifier on it. I can tell you it's similar to the Kramer DMZ4001 bass pictured in the Soundcraft ad in issue 6 (somebody should tell that guy his bass isn't plugged in)."

John Duffy (St Agnes, Cornwall): "Can you identify my Epiphone Cortez FT45 flat top acoustic, serial number 183980? I've been told that Epis with serials beginning with 1 were made in the USA, is this true? It's a great sounding guitar — Ian Matthews has one with two Barcus Berry pickups fitted under the bridge."



"Gretsch Broadkasters appeared in 1975: there were two semis plus a solid and matching bass. Body styling was similar to that of the classic Gretsch models which are so much in demand these days, although Mr Kirkby's Broadkaster 7604 is very much a budget model in comparison. Nonetheless, fashion means that it probably has an inflated value right now, around the £350 mark. Unrealistic, in my view, but true. The Kasuga 12-string jumbo was one of thousands of Japanese-made acoustics imported in large quantities during the 1970s. So many makes and brands poured out of a comparative handful of Japanese factories that the eventual brandnames fixed to them were those of the various importers/wholesalers/distributors. Kasuga was a very common brand, both on acoustics and electrics, and current values of such middle-market instruments are low — perhaps £50.

"The Framus Jan Akkerman model that Mr Foley asks about appeared in 1974 (evidently this month's popular period), the result of a design collaboration with the then renowned guitarist of Focus, roughly based on his ideas for an 'improved' Les Paul and including a Bill Lawrence six-way pickup selection circuit also used on their Nashville range. Two models were available, in cherry sunburst or black, both with gold-plated hardware. It was the most expensive Framus, retailing at £549 in 1975.

"Current value of the Jan Akkerman is very low as it never really caught on in the UK and nice examples can be found for £200 or less. At this price it's a bargain; it's a fine instrument in keeping with Framus tradition, a much forgotten and underrated brand. It's a pity that the current interest in Gretsch and Hofner can't be focused on Framus too, as their instruments often represent better constructional and sonic quality.

"The Framus company had a see-saw financial existence in the 1970s and finally went down after a few false alarms in the early 1980s, only to re-emerge as the 'brand new' Warwick company in 1983 — their basses seem to be meeting with some success. As for Mr Foley's lack of knobs for the JA, they appear to be the Gibson-style 'speed' knobs, so these or their Japanese copies should do the trick, depending on spindle size.

"Mr Bloom's 1983 'Black & Gold' Tele was certainly a limited edition version, produced around the same time as other custom Fender models like the all-walnut Strat. It was available with either a rosewood fingerboard, or in all-maple. As with so many of these late USA-made Fenders it's hard to suggest a value — they were the last designs to emerge before Fender's major ownership upheaval and factory relocation. The company was floundering to a certain extent at this time, trying to recoup some of the lost reputation of the preceding years, and the models introduced reflected a patchy attitude both in design and subsequent marketing. No doubt some will become collector's items in years to come, but it'll take a while. Meantime, prices fluctuate. I would estimate a private-sale value for Mr Bloom's Tele around £350, providing you can attract a suitably enthusiastic Tele fan with the money to match. But the longer you keep it, the more its 'limited edition' status has a bearing on its value.

"If Mr Smith's Kramer is like the DMZ4001 bass, fitted with two cream open-top DiMarzio humbuckers and conventional two-volume, two-tone, three-way-selector circuitry, then it's a DMZ1000 model. The Kramer range was quite extensive around the late 1970s, but prices were high and they never caught on here. The aluminium-based neck wasn't to everyone's taste, in profile or feel, and despite numerous advertising claims to the contrary the neck did have stability problems when subjected to temperature changes. The original price of the DMZ1000 was about £500, but current value is way down on that, as little as £90. Quite a bargain, despite the problems. A common dealer reaction: 'We can't give 'em away!'

"Up until 1969 all Epiphones were USA-made, but in that year the parent Gibson company decided to cease producing instruments bearing the Epiphone brandname. Since Gibson acquired the Epiphone brand in 1957 all instruments had been made at the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo and the range approximated many of the contemporary Gibsons. After 1969 Gibson kept the name on through a range of Japanese-made copies of the original Epiphone designs, retaining many of the original model names but (to add to the confusion) many don't match up. Today the name turns up as Epiphone by Gibson, still Japanese-made. The traditionalist in me does find it sad that so many illustrious American names have succumbed to the east in this way, including Harmony, Kay, Guild, Kramer, Charvel, S D Curlee, and of course Fender. But I digress. Mr Duffy's USA-made Cortez approximated the Gibson B25 in quality and dimensions. I can't date it accurately without more information but it must be early to mid 1960s. In 1962 it retailed at about £64, around half the price of the most expensive Epi acoustic then on offer. Today the Epis are probably more sought after than their Gibson equivalents and I'd estimate the Cortez' value at roughly £150 — the acoustic market is even more unpredictable in its pricing than the electric.



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Fernandes six string

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Chord of the Month


Making Music - Copyright: Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.

 

Making Music - Jan 1987

Feedback by Paul Day

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> Fernandes six string

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