Guitars that were "big" when they came out, but have since disappeared

cwlivingston

Member
Messages
414
I started playing in 1983, so I was at ground zero for the 80's EVH/Superstrat thing with Kramer, Jackson, Ibanez, ESP, Steinberger, etc. They were indeed huge brands with massive exposure in the guitar mags. We had three big-ish music stores in town (well, big-ish by pre GC standards) and they were crammed with those instruments. I lusted after all of them.

Oddly, though, very few guys in town actually played those guitars. Most of the accomplished and admired players used Fenders and Gibsons. We had a (maybe) unique thing happening in our music scene where there was a big rejection of the hair bands happening - a lot of bands were getting into 60's and 70's rock and really trying to pretend MTV hadn't happened. We had hair bands, but it was hard for them to get gigs at the usual venues.

So I always felt kind of cheated, as I rarely got to see the guitars I wanted to see being played live.

Now I am a 60's and 70's rock guy, and I play Fenders and Gibsons. Sold my Kramer and Steinberger long, long ago.
 

GibsonSGgirl

Member
Messages
1,269
I had an SG Classic. Great guitar - it had alot of character, but had a baseball bat for a neck. Never really bonded with it.
I had a 2000 Gibson SG Classic as my first "real" guitar when I started playing when they first came out. I was heavily influenced at the time by Robby Krieger of the Doors and wanted an SG Special (the original '60s version) but the Classic worked well.

I sold it several years later after I got my 1980 SG Standard because I preferred the weight and neck shape on the Standard and felt the Classic was too heavy (it weighed close to 9 pounds) and had too big of a neck for me.
 

Dan R.

Supporting Member
Messages
316
I had a 2000 Gibson SG Classic as my first "real" guitar when I started playing when they first came out. I was heavily influenced at the time by Robby Krieger of the Doors and wanted an SG Special (the original '60s version) but the Classic worked well.

I sold it several years later after I got my 1980 SG Standard because I preferred the weight and neck shape on the Standard and felt the Classic was too heavy (it weighed close to 9 pounds) and had too big of a neck for me.
Pete Townsend was my inspiration for the SG! Especially with p90s .
 

Vibroluxman

Member
Messages
2,069
Pete Townsend was my inspiration for the SG! Especially with p90s .
The reissue pete townsend sg gibson did a few years ago... I kick myself over that guitar. Local shop had one new for $1000. I should have grabbed it. Cool guitar.
 

pepedede

Member
Messages
1,741
Unlikely. While they’re at a peak in popularity now they first became popular with alt and indie bands in the 80’s and 90’s, and have pretty much stayed that way on some level. Most of the trends identified here lasted a couple years or so.

I thought they were referring to the reverse offset fender have made recently. I am not a fan but each to their own at the end of the day. Time will always tell after all.
 

62Tele

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,663
There was a time in the 80s when you couldn't turn on MTV without seeing a Gretsch of some description. These days not so much.
I’ve seen a lot of Gretschs in the last couple if years - biggest surprise was how many I saw in New Orleans at Jazz Fest two years ago and at clubs in town. Rich Robinson had a couple with Magpie Salute last year in Telluride, etc.

They’re a very versatile guitar and as stated above, current models are really great quality. Given their history, I can’t really lump these in with some of the other brands listed, nor can I see them going away soon.
 

Axeaholic

Member
Messages
2,606
Aside from the Jagstang, First time my parents bought me a guitar magazine I saw this on one of the pages.

I remember thinking wow ... that is the nicest axe I've ever seen, GAS permeated me so bad that I spent hours looking at the ad fascinated by the finish.

 
Messages
947
I’ve seen a lot of Gretschs in the last couple if years - biggest surprise was how many I saw in New Orleans at Jazz Fest two years ago and at clubs in town. Rich Robinson had a couple with Magpie Salute last year in Telluride, etc.

They’re a very versatile guitar and as stated above, current models are really great quality. Given their history, I can’t really lump these in with some of the other brands listed, nor can I see them going away soon.
Gretsch has had a huge resurgence in popularity because guys like Michael Guy Chislett from Hillsong United and Jeffrey Kunde from Jesus Culture started playing White Falcons and Duo Jets about ten years ago. It doesn't hurt that the guitars Gretsch makes nowadays are quite nice, but the main reason is P&W copycatting. It's interesting looking at Gretsch's social media and stuff, seeing their artists and the brand trying to pretend that P&W isn't driving like 80% of their sales.

A few indie rock artists are using them too. Adam from The War On Drugs plays a White Falcon a bunch, and his other guitarist plays a smoke green Anniversary.
 

DonaldDemon

Member
Messages
8,565
Yeah, it’d be cool if they’d done that in the 80’s.

This is what they were doing then. I got mine at Toys R Us in ‘88.
This is what I actually asked for as my first electric and I was disappointed when my Dad bought me a regular guitar and amp. :facepalm Now that guitar and amp were unbelievably crappy (Palmer and Starforce anyone? yeah didn't think so) but it probably did sound better than the Toys R Us guitar with built in speaker, which isn't saying much.
 

Yamaha 350

Member
Messages
6,806
Yeah, it’d be cool if they’d done that in the 80’s.

This is what they were doing then. I got mine at Toys R Us in ‘88.
I had my free electric and a acoustic. Me and my next door neighbor could not play a lick. So him and him mom took me to Toys R Us. They showed me that guitar or one just like it with a built in amplifier. He got it for Christmas. Played it that night. And they put him out of the house. He learned to play and played at church. Funny how that guitar brought back that memory. ;)
 

Stinky Kitty

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,172
Ok, chunky necked shredder? My interest is piqued.

I see one for sale with a double locking tremolo. Did that come standard on some of those models? Also, how thick is the neck compared to a Baja Tele?
Floyds were an option for the TV Twenty model and the neck can be nearly as big as the Baja but in most cases, just a smidgen under an inch at the 12th. The problem with Saracenos is their neck depths are all over the place and there wasn't exactly consistency from model to model. I've had Radio Tens with thick necks and TV Twentys with soft C's while others were Louisville Sluggers. To be honest however, they all felt great. These funky beasts punch way above their weight.
 

Stinky Kitty

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,172
I actually know 4 guys here in NYC that are still playing Parkers.
If they could ever tool the originals overseas and offer them for $1500, I think they would fly off the walls. Rumors abound. I'm patient but losing hope.
 

Stinky Kitty

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,172
I think this guitar fits the OP's thread title nicely. Sales wise, certainly no Kramer Pacer due to it's cost but it was as much a desired guitar in its heyday as any guitar I've ever seen and now, one of this made-in-the-USA origin is dust in the wind. Sadly, I owned six or seven boomer Calis (Californian) over the years and they all went out the front door for something else.....don't ask me what, who the hell knows after all these years? :p Fully-flamed one-pieces as well (just like this). Loved those ebony necks and no, playing with the boomerangs was hassle-free though I've heard others claim they likely wouldn't like the incursions into other frets.
 
Messages
5,949
How about the Kramer Ripley.
Heavily advertised in Mags with EVH, but was a real momentary blip

The Jackson built SCHON guitars, a real clusters

the LADOS brand from the early eighties. Used by Adrian Smith.

Floyd Roses original brand that looked like a strat with a triangle punched out of the head stock.
I put money down on a green Kramer Ripley that I wanted so bad at a Guitar Center in Roseville Minnesota back when they were out - it was the only one I've ever seen still to this day. It came with the breakout box that let you split strings between amps or channels on a mixing console. I was going to be the first hexaphonic guitarist and was going to try and modify it to have six amps, one per string with different effects on every string! What a mess that would have been.

Literally a day or two later I was laid off and my Kramer dreams were shut down for many years. I have a Stagemaster Archtop which is basically an ESP Horizon (since they were the subcontractor who made them) with a Kramer headstock. I still wish I had a Ripley - that was a cool idea.
 

Mikhael

Member
Messages
2,895
I think this guitar fits the OP's thread title nicely. Sales wise, certainly no Kramer Pacer due to it's cost but it was as much a desired guitar in its heyday as any guitar I've ever seen and now, one of this made-in-the-USA origin is dust in the wind. Sadly, I owned six or seven boomer Calis (Californian) over the years and they all went out the front door for something else.....don't ask me what, who the hell knows after all these years? :p Fully-flamed one-pieces as well (just like this). Loved those ebony necks and no, playing with the boomerangs was hassle-free though I've heard others claim they likely wouldn't like the incursions into other frets.
I was one. I have a Hamer Chaparral, and those stupid boomerangs drive me nuts.
 
Messages
5,949
Did anyone mention the Peavey Vandenburg models? I've never seen one in real life but in magazine ads they were everywhere for a while.
 




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