This is a blog about my 3rd and 4th Del Vecchio guitars. Take a look at one of my previous blogs titled "twins?"
The first guitar below is pretty special to me. In the U.S. if you are familiar with Chet Atkins, you may have seen one similar to this. It's call a Dinamico and it's similar to the traditional resonator but quite different at the same time. The tones are hauntingly beautiful to match the guitar!
Del Vecchio started making their resonators models in the 1930s. This one was probably made some time in the 1960s. There were different version made with varying numbers of sounds holes or "bocas".
The Dinamico is a single cone style, wooden resonator with a biscuit bridge. It keeps to its roots with a traditional classical guitar neck and is strung with either nylon or silk and steel strings.
Take a look at the photos below and make sure to check out the video!
If you have not read my previous blog on the 1976 Gibson J50 go check it out first before continuing below!
I used to own a beautiful 76 J40/50 in natural finish that was an absolute gem; both in condition and sound. It was a gorgeous piece that you typically only get to experience once in a life time. Circumstances led me to sell it but I still look for it everyone once in a while. Meanwhile, I continue the search for another "the one" but I've yet to find it.
I took a chance on this MINT 1971 Gibson J55. It sounds amazing but is a little more mellow than the 76 due to the laminate back. The rest of the guitar is solid woods. Take a look at the photos below and let me know what you think! Also, make sure to check out the video.
We've been busy! The family and I recently took a trip back home to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and enjoy some quality time with the parents. Now it's time to get back to blogging!
Check out this view on the MS Gulf Coast. The wife and I took the sunset tour on the Betsy Anne Paddle boat! If you are in the Biloxi, MS area I highly recommend booking a tour.
View of the Biloxi Schooner from the Betsy Ann Paddlewheel Boat
Now, let's talk about this beautiful EA-250. Epiphone introduced this archtop electric model through Matsumoku in Japan from 1970 through approximately 1975. Although Gibson still owned Epiphone they haulted production of the Epiphone brand in the USA in 1969.
Rare Epiphone EA-250 Natural
The earlier versions of the EA-250 were named the 5102T. In a similar fashion to Henry Ford and the color black, this Epiphone was available in any color you wanted as long as it was redburst!
As for the EA designation, it stood for thinline series guitars. Epiphone also used ET (Electric Solid Body) and ES (Electric Spanish).
Example of an original Epiphone EA-250
Scratching your head about the red color after seeing this particular guitar? It was refinished in natural, and quite well actually, by the previous owner shortly after he purchased it. What flaws were left after the refinish definitely add to the genuine mojo of the guitar. The guitar sports a maple laminate body with dual F holes, a maple bolt on neck, rosewood fretboard and double coil pickups with a vibrato system. This natural EA-250 has the wood overlay on the vibrato as well. Epiphone later introduced trapeze and chrome pickup options.
The guitars has two volume knobs and two tone knobs. Each pair of knobs controls one of the two pickups. There is also a tone selector switch for rhythm and treble.
The sound can be best described as both warm and bright? It's a special type of funk with no outside pedals or tweaks. I believe it has something to do with not only the woods used but the hollow body archtop does not have the typical bracing inside and it also has the thinner body compared to your standard jazzbox. The soulful tones are surprising and the guitar can actually be enjoyed unplugged. It's not acoustic guitar loud unplugged but enjoyable nonetheless. If you don't know how to play but like all things music, this guitar is absolutely beautiful and has lots of cool features to look at!
Unfortunately, there is no reliable system to date these guitars other than some of the options previously mentioned. The community generally accepts the dating between 1970 and 1975 and all guitars were manufactured for Epiphone by Matsumoku. In 1975, the EA-250 was replaced by the EA-255. There were no major notable difference other than the finish was changed to walnut and gold hardware was used.
Hello there and welcome back to another Mississippi Son Guitars blog!
Jason and this week we take a look at a vintage Japanese classical guitar by master luthier Kazuo Yairi.
This particular model is a K.Yairi Y400 from 1958! It is an all solid wood guitar with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. There is a wonderful aging to the coating on this guitar and the sound is tremendous.
Kazuo, born in 1932, started building guitars as a child with his father, Gi’ichi Yairi. Gi'ichi originally trained in the art of luthier at the Suzuki violin factory in Nagoya, Japan. He later left to set up Yairi Musical Instruments to make his own classical stringed instruments. Kazuo took over the family business sometime around 1965. He perfected the craft of luthier over many years introducing a few new models along the way. Kazuo never dabbled with any electrical guitars; instead focusing on what he knew best. He did incorporate unique elements into his designs coupled with traditional methods but never strayed too far from the foundation of his craft. This dedication and devotion is what brought him worldwide prestige in his career.
This devotion was recognized with the receipt of the Yellow Ribbon Medal of Honor from the Japanese emperor in 2006. One of many awards and honors. Many of the world's greatest artist also recognized his work: Johnny Cash, Bono, Carlos Santa and Sir Paul McCartney to name a few!
The build quality of this Y400 is excellent and the features are beautiful Take a look at the headstock, tuners and that gorgeous striped mahogany on the back.
Dating some Japanese guitars can become quite tricky. If you cannot find anything that makes sense try the Emperor coding/dating system. Many of the guitar manufacturers used this method to mark the manufacturing year of their instruments. This particular model is Showa Emperor 33 189, which means this guitar was built July 8th, 1958.
Mr. Yairi later studied the stringed guitar instruments in the United States before returning to create his own versions for global export. He also became the lead manufacturer for Alvarez operations in Japan for both the Alvarez.
Kazuo Yairi passed away in his home town of Kana, Japan in 2014 but his legacy will be remembered in the works of art he has left behind.
Take a listen to a few notes on this beautiful piece of art!
Also, check out this plant tour video of the Kazuo workshop!
Yairi guitars is still in operation today but you will be hard pressed to find a dealer within the United States at the time of this posting. You can however, reach out the European dealers in Germany or the UK to name a few. http://yairi.com/k-yairi-guitars/
If you get lucky, you might still find the occasional listing state side on EBay or REVERB.com.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Until next time, check out my other blogs, and youtube channel at www.mssguitars.com!
Welcome back to another Mississippi Son Guitars blog!
Now this is a cool treat! Have you ever seen anything like this?
It looks like a guitar, but is it a guitar? Yes. Does it sound like one? Sure. Is it a learning aide? Yep. Is it fun? Heck yes!
This Yamaha EZ-AG was one of a couple MIDI guitar models released by Yamaha in the 1990's. Ironically the AG stands for acoustic guitar. MIDI stands for musical instrument digital interface. Essentially, this guitar can sound like whatever digital tones you can throw at it.
It has a few preloaded songs that show the chord positions lit up in red on buttons on the fretboard! You read right; the first six fret positions light up to show your finger positions or what can better described as chord shapes.
It also has a built in song list with different modes for learning them. It has modes for rhythm, progressions and transitions. There are multiple tunings and the guitar always stays in tune. ;) There is also an adjustable capo that lights up the current capo neck position.
The guitar sports 20 preloaded sounds but there are an in/out MIDI ports to connect the guitar to an external computer for limitless possibilities. There is also a jack for plugging into your favorite amplifier or PA.
The 20 sounds include 9 guitars, 8 basses, a banjo, shamisen and a grand piano!
I like quite a few of these but the reason I purchased the EZ-AG was for a midi tool for piano sounds. It does not dissapoint!
Check out the video at the end of this blog!
The EZ-AG feels very strange at first with it's plastic body and button finger board. It becomes comfortable over time but will never feel just like a real guitar. Don't let that deter you from buying one becausethis is one of the coolest travel/alternative guitars I've ever played.
Power comes from a DC plug in or 6 AA batteries.
It's smaller size and portability make it a great candidate when traveling by plane for both work and vacation. Be prepared to get lots of questions by both curious travelers and airport security.
Yamaha also made an EZ-EG model that included a whammy and slightly different design. You guessed it, the EG stands for electric guitar.
Current market value as of this post is around $200 for a good condition model with no playability issues.
I hope you enjoyed this post and please subscribe!
Welcome back ladies and gentlemen to another Mississippi Son Guitars blog!
This week we talk about a special guitar.
My grandfather Edgar owned a 1930's Gibson L50. He purchased it used sometime before World War 2 when he was in the Air Force.
Paw Paw is the fine gentlemen standing in the upper right.
I remember asking many times to play his guitar when I was really young and one day when I was in my early teens he finally asked me to play something for him on it.
I was very careful opening the case and shook a little at first because it was just so beautiful. What a gourgeous guitar! I asked him if he wanted to trade (I had a Fender DG6 at the time) and he just laughed. After playing a couple songs I asked him to pick something for me. He played some old jazz chords and licks. How cool!
He handed it back and I played a few more songs before returning it to the case before returning home.
Fast forward to 2005; Hurricane Katrina strikes the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Paw Paw's house was 6 miles inland in Bay St. Louis, MS but was still flooded.
You guessed it, the guitar was destroyed.
My uncle's best friend, John, learned about the guitar's fate and dug the pieces out of the trash at my grandfather's house. John, a musician himself, began the painstaking process of restoring it with the help of local luthiers; unbeknownst to most of the family, including myself.
Sadly, my grandfather passed away in 2009. They were not able to surprise him with the restoration in time. During the wake, John played another Gibson L50. The guitar looked a little different and showed plenty of scars, wear and tear and a different pick guard style and color. I watched and listened remembering Paw Paw's guitar. I remember his guitar was in mint condition but I thought it was a great tribute to my grandfather. John played a few hymns and songs for Paw Paw with a guitar similar to the one he loved so much. What a nice tribute I thought.
After the services, John approached me and said "Son, this was your Paw Paw's guitar. I want you to have it." I was so strong for Mom but couldn't hold it anymore. I could not believe it was the same guitar as we all thought it was lost in the Hurricane. There was so much hard work and love put into the restoration to get it playable and I was at a loss for words. John wanted it to stay in the family and I plan to keep that promise.
What was done:
The guitar was in shambles. The script logo had to be reinstalled but was there. The 9th fret dot marker and original tortoise pick guard was lost. The back and most of the internal bracing was deteriorated. The sides and back had to be refinished but the top was left alone with it's one-of-a-kind Hurricane Special Sunburst. The rest of the guitar is all original.
Just this year I was finally able to find an original pickguard for a 1930's era Gibson L50 pickguard! I kept the one Joe put on it originally but now feel the guitar is finally returned to its former glory.
I remember Paw Paw every time I look at it or play it. Such a fine instrument and I could never sell it! I've already started teaching my 5 year old how to play!
Hello there! Welcome back to our weekly guitar blog!
Once a year, B3 Vintage holds a guitar convention in Spartanburg, SC among other areas within the United States.
This particular show is held in a decent venue with plenty of vendors from all over the U.S. and offers great opportunity to buy/sell/trade gear.
I brought an Epiphone EA-250 just in case I found something I wanted to trade towards. We'll show you more about it in a future blog!
This is my second year to attend the show and what a treat! The entry was $10 but let me tell you; it was well worth it. Also if you bring an instrument you get a $1 discount. Here is a sample of what we saw!
You never know what you might find and there are traveling vendors from all walks of life with cool guitars and other gear. Check out this gourgeous Palir electric guitar!
You also don't know who you might run into. I ran into a coworker at the show. (Sorry it wasn't Jewel; I know that's who you were hoping for. ;)
I also ran into the friendly staff from Cream City Music. These are the guys I sold "The one that got away" to. I asked him to keep an eye out for the Gibson J45/50 and if he found another to keep me in mind. The good news is, I think I felt a little closure. I never knew you could become so enthralled in an instrument... I still miss it but I dont feel as bad and my new J55 will keep me well occupied for now!
Unfortunately I left empty handed. (We'll write up a few blogs in the future on the Epiphone and J55 so stay tuned!)
Hello and welcome back to Mississippi Son Guitars!
Jason here with another guitar blog. This week we take a look at a 1976 Gibson J45/50 that I let get away. Yes, for me, this was "The One That Got Away".
What an amazing guitar. I can't describe the sound but if I had to put it in words; the sound vibrated your chest and sounded so great it made you want to play constantly, inspired you to sing and write song
This particular example was extremely nice with only minor scratches from use. I had to let it go in 2017 to help at the house. The serial number was 00169938 and if you come across it please contact me! I'm trying to get it back!
Last known whereabouts was Brookfield, Wisconsin USA but with today's global economy it could be anywhere.
Gibson only made the J45/50 model one year in 1976 which was just a combination of the two model numbers on both the natural and the sunburst. Of course the J45 was the sunburst finish but all guitars shared the same J45/50 stamp on the back of the headstock.
The guitars from the 1970s generally get a bad wrap and this era from Gibson is known typically as the "Norlin Era". At the end of 1969, it was actually E.C.L. Industries, Inc. who took control of Gibson via CMI. Gibson remained under control of CMI until 1974, when it became a subsidiary of Norlin Industries.
Some even extend the start of this "bad quality/tone killing" era to 1966 when Rendell assumed control of the company. The big difference was Gibson made a few design changes such as moving to a double x bracing on the top. The additional bracing was to cut down on warranty issues with the bellying of flat tops; however, the result was most of the guitar tops loosing their ability to vibrate. The general consensus is this was detrimental to the tone which is why this era of guitars is typically less desirable when compared to their round shouldered counterparts. The market pricing generally reflects this opinion. The good news not all guitars from this era were bad.
Gibson's quality has fluctuated throughout the years and there are gems to be found. Go to the nearest guitar store and play any guitar; a few of the same model if you don't believe me.
Now back to this exceptional guitar.
The guitar features a double bound solid mahogany back and sides with a solid spruce top in natural finish. It has a rosewood bridge with black bridge pins, a tortoise batwing style pickguard and a multi ring ivoroid rosette with two stripe ivoroid puddling.
The neck is a 3 piece maple neck with white side dots and pearl dot inlays and a rosewood fingerboard. The nut width is 1 11/16 with a 24 3/4" scale length. It has a black headstock overlay with gold Gibson logo and deluxe Gibson tuners.
As of this post, the market value ranges from $900 for good player grade guitars up to $1500 for pristine models like this one. I hope you enjoyed this blog! Come back next week for a new post and another guitar!
Let's dive right into our first guitar. This beautiful classical guitar is a 1950's era Del Vecchio. This particular model is the Super Vox. I happened to find this beauty in Indiana, USA of all places.
Del Vecchio Guitars, or Casa Del Vecchio Ltda. in São Paulo, Brazil has been around since 1902 and was founded by Angelo Del Vecchio.
The company is alive and well and has been making a resurgence over the last few years and is still located in São Paulo and did not receive much notoriety in the United States until some guy named Chet Atkins played one. ;) I hope you picked up on the sarcasm there via the smiley, but if not, Chet is one of the most talented and influential guitarists of all time.
Chet was first introduced to the Del Vecchio Dinamico through the music of Nato Lima from Los Indios Tabajaras. The Dinamico had a special sound that Chet wanted to use in his music. It's a classical guitar and resonator wrapped into one. You can hear him play it in songs such as "Moon of Manakoora" and "Hawaiian Wedding Song". Now, let's get back to some Del Vecchio history.
Del Vecchio has made many types of string instruments in addition to classical guitars including: mandolins, resonator guitars, lap steel guitars, tenor guitars, 7 and 12 string guitars, cutaway guitars, cavacos, violas and banjo ukuleles to name a few! These guys have been busy.
This 1950s classical guitar is a testament to their beauty, craftsmanship and unique sound. Check out the name plate on the headstock! It's a work of art in itself!
Unfortunately, there hasn't been much information recorded or easily accessible on the US side for dating Del Vecchios which is one of the reasons I started this blog! I had to contact Del Vecchio directly to get assistance. Here is what they had to say about this one.
Surprise, it's twins! That's right folks, I was lucky enough to find this dark beauty first! I picked her up in Greenville, South Carolina. I'm not sure the history or how it got here but she is gorgeous and it doesn't matter. The Del Vecchio luthier confirmed this guitar is also from the same era as the maple/white acai one in this blog but it is made from Brazilian Rosewood!
Check out these videos to hear each. Let me know what you think in the comments.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. If you did please remember to subscribe and share!
I plan to write a follow up blog in the future with more information on these so stay tuned!