I bought a Bradley PRS CE24 copy [blue flame top] for my son a few years back and it's a rather nice playing guitar that looks real nice,as well.I threw in a set of Duncans [JB/'59 combo] and now it sounds as sweet as it looks and plays.
Black, white pickguard, maple neck Bradley strat in junior high!
I remember having Giant Sound in Fairfax, VA (anyone remember Giant, D.C. folks?) install a Duncan Quarter Pounder in the bridge and I was so excited about it. It took weeks to explain to my Dad why I needed this $40 item for my guitar at almost half the cost of what the entire guitar did. Boy, what a trend that started.
Well bradley owners, are they Japanese or Korean ? I am surprised you don't see more of them. Venny's was around for a long time, ( they sold to GC in 2000) and sold a LOT of guitars. As I recall the Bradley catalog had about 20 different models in it.
Another former Veneman employee here...early 80s Rockville.I do remember when they had more stores around town than Rockville and Springfield,VA ,like the Bethesda location.Yes,Bradley was the house brand for Veneman and their mail order "Music Emporium" division.
Not like I am entirely an expert but I think the Bradley branded instruments probably began after the Venemans shut down the Kapa manufacturing operation in the DC area and became more heavily involved in importing guitars.They also did a lot with Aria (Arai from Japan).
Bradley quality varied from serviceable beginner/intermediate electric and acoustics to pretty decent jazz box guitars.I think they probably sourced the guitars from both Fuji Gen Gakki and Matsumoko depending on what kind of deal could be worked out.Bradleys were MIJ for the most part until like other brands production was sourced to Korea.I'd loosely estimate late 80s early 90s for this.
My understanding was that Koob Veneman just liked the sound of the name Bradley and they live(d?) near Bradley ,not on it.I did live on Bradley Boulevard many years ago myself.Like a lot of MIJ product you can appraise the quality of the instrument by construction features like bolt-on vs set neck,quality of the machine heads and other parts etc.
I had heard that they were sourced from the Fuji Gen factory also. Perhaps we can get one of the surviving Venemans to comment. I know they sold a ton of them and am surprised there aren't more of them around. Of course you could say they were Tokais with different headstock decals....and watch how fast they start showing up on ebay.
Hi, first time poster here....check this: I got a Bradley BANJO for xmas one year when I was a teenager (don't ask me why, I wanted an electric guitar) that my dad bought from Venemans Springfield. Seemed nice, but it was pretty hard to play Purple Haze on it.
Also, not only do I remember Giant music in Fairfax, I remember when Giant music was a combined instrument/record store in Falls Church on Rt 7, right around the corner from the state theater. I bought my first *name* guitar there, a brand new Gibson S-1 (it's OK to laugh) that I saved up for all summer.
Two weeks later during the Kiss show at the Cap Center Paul Stanley has his roadie throw him a guitar to smash on the stage, and of course it's a Gibson S-1 like mine....same color even. Ouch!