Tell me what you know about Memphis guitars

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jvaughn1686, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. jvaughn1686

    jvaughn1686 Member

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    This is my dad's old guitar that he never played, I learned on an old Peavey T-15 guitar laying around and this particular one was never in playing condition. I've recently had my dad dig it out and I'm thinking about fixing it up. It's a little beat up, but I still have all the original parts.

    pictures to follow....
     
  2. jvaughn1686

    jvaughn1686 Member

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  3. Bonedance

    Bonedance Member

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    Cool! When Memphis guitars first came out, they offered cheap, copy guitars aimed at beginner's. I've seen a lot of Memphis LP copies over the years.....and only about 1/2 as many strats.

    They did (if I remember correctly!) come out with some nicer copies in their later years. Anyway, that is a cool score and best of luck on getting it back in action!
     
  4. mc5nrg

    mc5nrg Supporting Member

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    Keep the Bill Lawrence pickups, the rest may be more expense and trouble than its worth, unless the two pix not showing up for me are the missing parts.
     
  5. jvaughn1686

    jvaughn1686 Member

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    Thanks I appreciate that. I haven't been able to find much info on the internet machine. I've found a few things here and there, like you said, them being copies and beginner models. I heard a few were higher quality and some were made of particle board. It'll be a fun little project to get it up and running.
     
  6. jvaughn1686

    jvaughn1686 Member

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    I have all the parts in a bag. The back cover is cracked and one of the pup mounts is broken, and but the other parts are still intact. I'd figured on replacing the tuning pegs and swapping new parts in anyway so I'm not broken up about it.
     
  7. sixty2strat

    sixty2strat Member

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    Got a set neck one about 1980. It was pretty nice for a 139.00. My teacher played and was shocked at how nice it was, not as nice as his 56 goldtop but dam nice for a 1st electric, IIRC an Ibanez Artist double cut was around 400.00 and a LP 659.00
     
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  8. jvaughn1686

    jvaughn1686 Member

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    My dad says he thinks he got it in 77 or 78 with a pignose amp, $125 out the door with both amp and guitar. It still has the serial number on it; SP-200-6
     
  9. goodwater

    goodwater Member

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    I have a very similar Memphis at my shop but with a natural dark stained finish---it's a great guitar...lightweight, plays well and has an awesome neck. It's a set-neck...I've read online (though no idea if it's true) that the Memphis set-necks were MIJ and the bolt-ons MIK...I'd like to believe it.
     
  10. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    My research didn't reveal much when I was looking a couple of years ao. I have avery well made and detailed copy of a Gibson hollow body with dual hum buckers. I've read they started doing great quality knock offs, but the moved to cheap and lower quality models later on. Again... it's only what I was able to glean from inter web forums so a grain of salt.
     
  11. scott944

    scott944 Member

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    My first guitar was a Memphis LP Jr copy. Plywood body. Would have been purchased about the same time, circa '77.
     
  12. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    Memphis was a second-tier copy-era brand that survived quite a while, maybe even into the 2000s. The early and middle copy era stuff can be cool. The later stuff is lower quality.
    Those are likely copies of Lawrence pickups.
     
  13. Super Reverb Swell

    Super Reverb Swell Supporting Member

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    There were two logos - The scripty font that you see on your guitar, and a later font that was more straightforward and simple. This designates the time period they were made. I have a strat copy that is the later years. The body feels like it's probably made out of alder, but the neck isn't as nice as other strat copies. The tuners were junk and the electronics weren't anything to write home about. But it was better than most Squiers I ever played! Some day I will swap the neck and electronics and have a decent guitar!
     
  14. Ben Sp

    Ben Sp Member

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    Good thread- my first ax was a red Memphis single pickup 3/4 size mimicking the VH style. Got it for Xmas, 1984


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  15. jvaughn1686

    jvaughn1686 Member

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    The pics posted are just ones I've had sent to me, I'll be making the trip to my hometown in about 2 weeks to pick it up. From what I remember, this thing seemed heavy for it to be particle board (9lbs ish maybe?) And the finish looked to be a pretty heavy coat, but this is all from memory. Is there a way to tell if it's a solid wood or particle wood body?

    (I had him put some of the hardware back on, here are a few more:)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. bootsypratt

    bootsypratt Member

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    I thought most of those had good wood especially that body style. I've seen that body style a few times but a transparent finish, nice solid woods. If there's no major damage, def. worth fixing up.
     
  17. Sean French

    Sean French Supporting Member

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    Got my first electric, a Black Memphis Les Paul Standard copy, in '81.
    I pointed out a Black Gibson LP Standard to my mom at the music store. Let her know that's what I wanted.
    Well, at the age of 14 I received the Memphis LP copy instead.
    At least it looked like what I wanted.
     
  18. centuryhouse

    centuryhouse Member

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    I'm a few months late to this post, so I hope you'll excuse me. But since so little accurate info seems to exist for Memphis Les Paul copies I thought I'd stop in.

    (Type 1) I have had a cheap, crappy Memphis LP knock-off before - the type with a plywood looking body and bolt on neck. It was a fairly crappy beginner guitar.

    (Type 2) Then in 1989 I had one like yours, only mine was a root beer color with the wood grain showing. It had the same rail style pickups as yours (pretty decent sounding actually), brass nut, and I can't remember anymore if the neck was bolt on or set. It had a pretty decent sound though, still somewhat beginner but not bad at all.

    (Type 3) GREAT guitars. The 3rd type of Memphis Les Paul was the one I purchased used in 1993: set neck, solid wood body, curved top, decent pickups. VERY heavy guitar, heavier than the average Gibson. The pickups were decent, but I ended up replacing them in both guitars. I have looked for years and only found one other exactly like the one I got in '93, which I bought on Ebay around 2006 (see pic below).

    Literally, these two 'type 3' Memphis copies sound better than many Gibsons I have owned and played. I have gotten compliments on the tone for years, when playing shows or doing auditions or rehearsals.

    Just so you know, I'm not a guy who only owns a cheap knock-off and therefore tells everyone they are the best thing ever. I have owned 6 Gibson Les Pauls over the years, a mint 1970 ES-335, and lots of other top notch guitars. In total I have owned maybe 200 guitars in the last 20 years, and have lots of experience dealing with them.

    I'm still looking for a third of these black 'type 3' guitars (set neck, curved top, dot neck) if anyone sees one for sale.

    Here is the one I bought in 2006 - late 70s-early 80s, Japanese, set neck.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
  19. VHS analog

    VHS analog Member

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    I have a 1980 LP Custom copy, bolt neck. New pickups really improved it. It has a big neck that I like. The body is hollow. I like it but it doesn't sound like a Les Paul.
     
  20. B Money

    B Money Member

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    my first guitar was a Memphis strat-ish guitar I bought brand new in 1986. It was basically unplayable; would NOT stay in tune, mile high action..horrible.
     

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