10/11/2012

c.1960 Japanese? Giant Dreadnought Guitar


This bizarre, extra-dreadnought, ladder-braced, all-laminate guitar is a customer's rig and my job was to get it into playing shape for its next victim... er, student.

So, fret level/dress, nut work (this had a bad zero fret, so I removed it and installed the old nut "forward" of where it used to be), and general setup work later, and it plays just fine, though I have to admit the proportions are strange!

It has continuously 4 7/8" (yes, nearly 5") deep sides throughout, a narrow 1 1/2" nut which reminds me of some of the funkier '60s Fenders, and a long 25 1/2" scale which puts even the 52w-11 strings under a bunch of tension. One would expect this massive instrument to have a huge, big-bottom tone, but it's remarkably mid-range and sparkly instead, though it is loud.


While one would normally assume this is a Gibson "hummingbird" knock-off, the pickguard has no hummingbirds present.

And who built this? Beats me. I would guess early Suzuki or Yamaha, since I've seen similar, odd early-import guitars from both companies with about the same looks and build style.


Amazingly, this has real pearl dots and a real rosewood fretboard and bridge. It seems like a number of frets had been replaced or at least reseated improperly, because I had to knock them all back into place and then give this a leveling before it even began to play right at all.



So, the short of it -- a good, sturdy student guitar with quirky charm -- but, if you see one of these out there, beware! -- because the factory design and setup left much to be desired!

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