What were some cheap guitar brands in yesteryear?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by 101Volts, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. 101Volts

    101Volts Member

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    Just wondering, What were some real cheap Brands like First Act in the days of yesteryear? Brands that were only bought by beginners and had bad tuners, Bodies made out of plywood, Bad fret jobs, funky switches or a combination of the things I listed.
     
  2. Imiss85

    Imiss85 Member

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    In the 70's, pretty much anything in the Sears catalog. Don't remember the brand though.
     
  3. Rock Johnson

    Rock Johnson Member

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    Harmony, Kay, Silvertone, Airline... IIRC all of those were sold in the Sears catalog.
     
  4. 101Volts

    101Volts Member

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    Was there more than one brand then? I've heard of a few brands that could have been from Sears and one that I know was from the Sears catalog.

    Edit: Rock posted a few names. Anyway...

    Airline - I heard some of these were made out of "Res-O'Glass". How were the fret jobs?

    Kay - Judging from eBay photos I've seen of their Vanguard line, Yeah. Definitely.

    Harmony - I think these vary in quality, I own an Acoustic and it seems as if the fretboard radius is inward rather than outward.

    Silvertone - These have the worst headstock design I've ever seen. Aren't these rather "In demand" though despite that?

    I also know of a few other names.

    Global - Definitely Sears catalog. I own two from this brand, Both are cheap and the body of one is made out of plywood.

    Zenta - I'm really not sure if this was a Sears brand or not. They're cheap though.
     
  5. halorealm7

    halorealm7 Member

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    Vantage....had a LP copy that was pretty decent.
     
  6. chucke99

    chucke99 Member

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    Right, the catalog brands. All pretty much have been named, but there were probably hundreds of brands all tolled. Those of us who started learning guitar in the sixties or seventies got one of those as our first "real" electric guitar, and probably for Christmas. Mine was a Sears "Kimberly" brand version of a Teisco Vegas 66. I wish I had it now. For a cheap guitar, it was very soundly constructed (though the electronics left much to desire). It was also a huge, 335-ish thing.

    Mine looked exactly like this, except the headstock was black:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. johneeeveee

    johneeeveee Member

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    Actually, Danelectro's and Silvertone's (in the 50's and 60's) were all made in the same factory in Neptune NJ. They were just distributed by Sears.

    Harmony was distributed by Montgomery Ward.

    A great Dano, Silvertone, Harmony, or Kay can be a fantastic guitar and they have a unique tone unlike anything else. The list of famous players that play and have recorded with these vintage catalog guitars is impressive: Marc Ribot, Tom Waits, Jimmy Page, Mark Knopfler, Joe Perry, Beck, Cat Power, JJ Cale, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Warren Haynes, Eric Clapton, Derek Trucks, Elvis Costello, David Lindley, Nels Cline...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Danelectro_players
     
  8. Lespaulsignature 74

    Lespaulsignature 74 Silver Supporting Member

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  9. Keld

    Keld Member

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  10. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    Guyatone. I first had a Silvertone and then a Guyatone. Tone had nothing to do with either of them. Playability? What?
     
  11. leofenderbender

    leofenderbender Member

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  12. DrBob

    DrBob Member

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    If you were buying your first electric guitar here in the UK in the 1980's and couldn't stretch to a Squier or an Epiphone the primary pushers of guitar shaped lumps of plywood were Marlin, Hondo, Encore...

    Nazzty
     
  13. Echo Are

    Echo Are Member

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    I remember Hondo. Also from the late-'80s there was Arbor, and Mako.
     
  14. mirrorimij

    mirrorimij Member

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    Alamo. I never played their guitars but I assume they were along the same lines as Silvertone.

    I had an Alamo Montclair Reverb amp that I bought in the early 90's for $50. I prefered it to my tweed Deluxe clone.
     
  15. epluribus

    epluribus Member

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    Ha! I keep a file handy for reference when cruising EBay and such...

    Matsumoku:

    Aria
    Cardinal
    Conrad
    Electra
    Epiphone
    Skylark
    Teisco
    Univox
    Vantage
    Washburn
    Westone

    The Hoshino Group, incl. Fuji Gen-Gakki:

    Ibanez till about '69 IIRC
    Teisco
    MIJ Fender
    70's Robelli

    Others:

    Greco: Kanda Shokai
    Fernandes, Burny: Kawai Gakki
    Tokai, Hummingbird, Hondo: Tokai
    Yamaha: Yamaha
    Guyatone: Guya
    Goya: Goya

    ...and how 'bout some links?

    Kay Guitars
    Vintage MIJ
    Valco
    Matsumoku
    Goya
    Weird Vintage Guitars.com

    HTH! :beer

    --Ray
     
  16. johneeeveee

    johneeeveee Member

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    Let's also remember that guitars that are now very desirable, like the Gibson Les Paul Jr, were very inexpensive student model guitars back in the day :)
     
  17. SeeMoore

    SeeMoore Member

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    I remember seeing "Auditions" at Woolworth, some of these would have 4 pups, big white toggle switches and completely flat fingerboards, and I wanted one, BAD ! :)
     
  18. pokey

    pokey Supporting Member

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    el Degas. Some of them were actually pretty decent.
     
  19. rooster

    rooster Member

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    Can't forget EKO. The ultimate cheesy Italian guitar, with 4 pickups and a veg-a-matic switching system.

    rooster.
     
  20. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

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    Whaaaaaaaaaaaa?!?!?!?! So much speculatory recitation of rumor here.

    Dano's were made in Neptune, yes, but not all Silvertone's (Sears house label) were made by Dano. It is not difficult to find 50's Sears catalog repros on the web, and there you will see both Kay and Harmony (yes, Virginia, they were seperate manufacturers). Later, there were Silvertone branded Danos, later still Teisco.

    Airline was Monkey Wards house moniker, and they featured many of the same manufacturers plus Supro/National, and later, crappy Teisco-type jap cheapos.

    I love pre-'59 Harmony's with their killer necks and electronics. Later, with bolt-on necks=junk. I have never thought the necks or electronics on Kay's suitable for pro use. Dano's, no matter what the name on the headstock have their virtues. If my early fifties Harmony H-44 (with added bridge p.u.) was my only gtr, I would do just fine.
     

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