From The MyRareGuitars Blog Vault: 1960’S Vintage Guitars
by Eastwood Founder, Mike Robinson
Find out all you need to know need to know about the best and most rare vintage guitars from the Sixties! Besides bigger brands such as Fender and Gibson, several smaller brands flourished in this decade, and names such as Airline, Supro, Teisco and Hagstrom are today very desirable.
It is hard to imagine today, but in the early 1960’s having an electric guitar in your home was rare. In fact, it was likely that your parents were steering you in the direction of accordion lessons. Yikes! The Beatles – and of course others – stopped all that. Suddenly, electric guitars were #1 on every kids Christmas list. Companies that had been manufacturing Accordions for 20 years, retooled for electric guitars. EKO was at the forefront, and within 2 years they were shipping over 10,000 electric guitars to USA per year.
For most North American kids, including myself, their first guitar was an EKO or some Japanese import. Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, Rickenbacker… these were all too expensive for our parents to buy for us. Hence, the foreign guitar manufacturers gave us what we wanted. Tip of the iceberg!
Here I’ve highlights a few of my 60’s guitars, but it only scratches the surface. You’ll see the inspiration for launching Eastwood Guitars in these images below.
Below: A nifty 1959 Fender Musicmaker. I took it to the local luthier and asked him to refinish it, to remove the awful sticker. He said, “What?! That’s a Vintage Sticker!” It took me a while, but now I see his point of view. A couple of Fender Duo-Sonics, which were the inspiration for the Warren Ellis Tenor Series. The Airline Guitars were sold through Montgomery Ward.
Below: Perhaps my favorite 1960’s guitars, the Domino’s. I have owned many Domino Californian’s over the years (the VOX Phantom copy). They are fun to fix up and fun to play. Domino made one of the better quality reproduction guitars in the late sixties. The Spartan pickguard was autographed by Edwyn Collins.
Below: If your first electric guitar was in the 1960’s, there is a good chance it was a Teisco. Here are a few from the mid-sixties. The Teisco Del Ray was perhaps the most popular student guitar from the 1960’s. No wonder guitars became so popular in the sixties, would you rather be playing a Teisco Del Ray or an accordion?
Below: One last Teisco, a Mosrite Joe Maphis copy, which was also the inspiration for the Eastwood Sidejack Series. Then, a couple of Italian masterpieces: The Cobra is one of a dozen or so NOS guitars that I picked up when the Milwaukee connection flushed their last holdings. The Galanti, on the other hand, is quite a rare bird. I’ve seen a few in Europe, but not over here. It is an extremely well made piece. The Victoria. I must say that this is perhaps one of the coolest guitars I have. This is truly a work of art. Art Deco. What a looker. It was recently re-issued through the Eastwood Custom Shop. The Regent is from Canada, the name Regent was a Canadian label for GUYATONE.
Below: A few more Guyatones, the second one has a set neck, may be from the late fifties. Check out the pickguard on the middle one. Awesome! Next to it is an inexpensive Prestige Mosrite copy. Another 2015 Eastwood Custom Shop project was the Guyatone LG-50.
Below: Far left is a guitar I lust after, but have never owned. I found it in a shop in San Diego but they were asking around $2000 for it. I found the one next to it on EBAY – in a severe state of dsrepair – for $100. I installed a tune-o-matic bridge and a Bigsby. Awesome player! Next to that are a couple of Norma’s and another attempt at copying the Burns pickguard.
Below: One last entry level Norma, then a totally cool EKO Florentine. I picked this up from the LoDuca remnants. It is a semi-hollow that looks like a cross between an SG and a 335. Believe it or not, it plays like a dream!. Next to that is a Hi-Lo (also available from Ibanez). The funniest review I have ever read on Harmony central was about a Hi-Lo guitar. Crazy! A KAY SG and an unknown…
Below: Wickedly popular Univox Hi-Flyer. Eastwood makes an excellent Phase IV replica that is far better than the original. This photo is one of the earliest Hi-Flyer models. Next to that is a “Montclair” Burns copy, just like the Hi-Lo pictured earlier. A Welson Concord from Italy. Nice guitar and hard to find.
Below: A Stafford semi-hollow body. A beautiful Hagstrom II and a Hagstrom Futurama. Hagstrom made some wonderful guitars with exceptionally fast necks. The greenburst is a Kawai and then a single pickup version of the Domino Baron.
Below: Another of my favorite designs, the EKO 700, in two models, 4V and 3V. Equally nifty is the 500 3V. According to my neighbor, one of the best playing guitars in the entire collection, the single pickup 1967 Red Cobra. Next to that is it’s brother the Cobra Bass.
Below: According to me, one of the best playing guitars in the collection, the Goya Rangemaster. Made in Italy. As is the beautiful Red Galanti and the Espana 335. The Espana is identical to the VOX Lynx. The GL Rangemaster is another outstanding Italian guitar. Lastly is a token Airline Bass with a white Gumby headstock.
Below: More unusual suspects. Another Kawai 4 p/u Bison-like beast. Then, the ever-popular but VERY hard to find 1967 Teisco May Queen. (You can find a nice May Queen re-issue on the 1990+ page and another recent Eastwood Custom Shop model here). A very rare Norma split p/u Barney Kessel design. The timeless Teisco ET460 Del Ray and a simple Sekova Bison.
Below: As you can see, we got our walls painted the other day, hope you like it! Anyway, on the left is an AWESOME Kawai Bass. This baby looks, feels, plays like no other Bass from its time. REALLY well made, big and heavy (the picture scale looks small but this is bigger than a Fender Precision). Next to that is a nice Silvertone Mosrite with slider controls. You can see the inspiration for the Sidejack Series in many of these guitars. Interesting because it as an indiviual slider volume for each pickup, so you can dial in an unlimited variety of tones. A 1965 Hofner Galaxie. An early 1960’s Vivona which was made by EKO, and a wee Hi-Tone. Wee guitar, HUGE head. Great canoe paddle.
Below: Here is a nice ’62 Fender Musicmaster. Then two sweet GOYA Rangemasters and a wacky Galanti. Cool, Rare, but wacky! Next is one of my current favorites, a 6-string Espana Viola shaped guitar. Extremely well made guitar. This guitar was also made at the VOX factory, and shares all the same parts and finish ast the 335 style Espana pictured way up above.
Below: A beautiful Ampeg AMUB-1 Fretless Bass. Nice piece. Eastwood has been making some excellent re-issue versions of this in fretless EUB-1 and fretted EEB-1 versions. Next, a MINT 60’s Airline Barney Kessel featuring the very cool “Kleenex Box” pickups, another current Custom Shop Reissue. Next is NOT a Univox Hi-Flyer, but a RAVEN. This is exactly the same as the Univox, but was imported to Canada under the brand Raven. Then, a 9.5 Silvertone Mosrite and a VERY odd and curious guitar labeled CONTESSA. It is from Italy, and looks, feels, smells, just like the JG Italians. Unbelievealby good player.
Below: On the left is a RARE Wandre Doris from the mid 1960’s. A true work of art. Next is a nice ’67 Fender Jaguar and the ’67 Domino Spartan, costing about 7000% less. Lastly, an EKO Florentine Bass with it’s partner 6-string.
Below: A mint early 1960’s Airline with original case. This guitar is extremely rare. It is owned by a friend of mine that brought it over last week to tease me! Ouch! Fortunately he agreed to let me share some pictures with you. Thanks David! Take a look, she’s a beauty! (stop drooling!)
Though nothing really beats the mojo of owning a true, vintage instrument, at least Eastwood have, over the past decade, done a great job at bringing back some of those gems, as mentioned before. And so is the case with the Airline guitars – let’s be honest: if you can’t find a vintage, white Airline with three pickups, it’s hard not to feel tempted by a new guitar such as the Airline 59 3P:
After all, this is the beauty of vintage guitars: they just need time! One day, your brand new Airline might be considered vintage, too…
Editor's Note: If you'd like to check out the original blog post on MyRareGuitars.com along with the comments left over the years, check it out here.