Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Epiphone Scroll Guitar

Possibly the most unique guitar ever made under the Epiphone brand is the Epiphone SC Scroll. It was produced in Japan at the Matsumoku factory from 1976 through 1979 and is named for the carved scroll on the upper bout of the guitar.

Note the German Carve
The Scroll body also features a unique German Carve around the edges of each model. Other features of the Scroll model were ebony or ebonized necks, coil-tap and optional Leo Quann Badass-style bridge as well as optional open-coil Scroll pickups by Gibson.


SC-350
The SC-350 featured a Mahogany body with the German carve surrounding the mahogany finished top. The bolt-on neck was bound with white trim. The fret board was made of rosewood and featured dot inlays. The guitar was equipped with twin humbucking pickups controlled by a single volume and tone control and a 3 way switch. The strings went over a tune-o-matic style bridge and attached to a stop tail piece. All hardware was finished in chrome. The nut was made of plastic. The three-on-a side tuning gears were covered die cast versions.

SC-450
The SC-450 came with a Maple body that featured the German carve. It was offered with either a Mahogany or Natural finish. The neck was made of Maple and was set in to the body. It was topped with a rosewood fret board that came with dot inlays. It had twin humbucking pickups that were controlled by a single volume and tone control, a three-way selector switch and a split-coil switch. This guitar came with either a tune-o-matic style bridge or a Leo Quan Badass style bridge. The tune-o-matic versions featured a stop tailpiece. . All hardware was chrome finished and the nut was made of bone or plastic. The three-on-a-side tuners were sealed die cast models.

SC-550
The SC-550 also featured the German carve on its Maple body. Like the 450 version, the neck on this guitar was set-in and made of Maple. The neck was topped with an Ebony fretboard with block inlays.


SC-550 Natural
It featured twin humbucking pickups on the body controlled by a single volume and tone control, a three-way selector switch and a split-coil mini-toggle switch.

This guitar came with a tune-o-matic style bridge and a stop tailpiece. The nut was made of bone and all hardware was finished in gold plating. The three-on-a-side tuners were sealed die cast models. The body came in either and Ebony or Natural finish.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Maton Guitars

Tommy Emmanuel

Tommy Emmanuel was in town recently and put on a wonderful concert. Emmanuel is an amazing guitarist, and endorses Australian made Maton guitars.





Maton Guitars
The Maton brand is not well known in the United States, or Europe as in most countries there are only one or two franchised distributors.

There are only eleven USA music stores that carry the Maton brand, which I find very odd for a brand of guitar that has been in production for over 70 years.

Bill May - founder of Maton Guitars
Maton was established by Melbourne resident Bill May in 1946. May was a woodworking instructor, and a jazz musician. He knew the best guitars in his day came from the United States, which was rather frustrating for Aussies. Along with his brother, Reg, who was a wood machinist, May sought to change all that by creating high quality Australian manufactured guitars to be sold locally.

The brothers put together a company call Maton Stringed Instruments and Repairs. The Maton name is a derivative of the words “May” and “Tone”, and it is pronounced "May-Tonne.".

Maton became the very first guitar manufacturer in Australia. Until the mid 1930's an Australian guitar manufacturing industry was virtually nonexistent and good quality guitars were hard to find. The best guitars came from the U.S.A.

Linda and Neville Kitchen
The Maton company is still family owned and run by Linda (Bill May’s daughter) and her husband Neville Kitchen. The factory was originally in Canterbury, Melbourne, where the company created over 300 different models. In 1987 when the Kitchens' purchased the business, it was in trouble.Their strategy was to concentrate on building just steel string acoustic models. They now produce over 7,000 guitars each year that are available locally and shipped all over the world.

In 1990 a new modernized facility was open in Bayswater, Melbourne. Bill May lived long enough to see the new factory. His health failed in 1989 and he passed away in 1993.

Linda Kitchen at the Box Hill factory
In 2003 a new facility that was four times the size of the previous ones was opened in Box Hill, Melbourne to meet the demand for Maton guitars and products.


Maton Guitars made in Australia
One of Bill Mays goals was to pioneer the use of Australian wood species in his guitars, and his daughter and son-in-law maintain his dream. The company also utilizes locally designed computer programs and technology to maintain their standards.

It is interesting to note that every worker at the Maton plant is a guitar player, which enhances the love of the instrument.

Late 1950's Maton Alver.
Their budget brand

During the early days of the venture the company concentrated on high quality, and good value instruments for professionals and students.


1962 Maton EG75 and Goldline 750


By the late 1950’s Maton had branched into the Australian rock scene by manufacturing acoustic and electric guitars aimed at the market. The Country’s tariff situation made it far more appealing to purchase a locally made guitar, than an imported one.


The Strangers in 1965


In the mid 1960’s, the company also inked a deal to sponsor the popular Aussie band, The Strangers, and supply them with equipment, including Maton El Toro electric guitars.



The Strangers with Maton Guitars
This group became the house band for a popular TV series called The Go!! Show, which was quite similar to the US produced TV shows, Shindig!, and Hullabaloo. By then Maton was making solid body and acoustic thinline electric guitars.

1960's Maton Electrics



Some of the 1965 electric models looked similar to Asian made instruments, perhaps in an effort not to copy US made guitars of the day.





The Easybeats with Maton guitars


Another Australian group from the mid 1960’s was The Easybeats, who scored an worldwide hit with their song, Friday On My Mind. They played Maton guitars,





Maton Sapphire 12 string



Easybeat lead guitarist Harry Vanda was well known for playing a red Maton Sapphire semi-acoustic 12-string guitar, which became part of the groups sound.




Colin Hay with Maton guitar


Men At Work frontman Colin Hay uses Maton Custom Shop guitars as part of his live show.





Neil Finn with his Maton guitar

Neil Finn, of Crowded House, and The Finn Brothers also uses Maton guitars.





Big Jim Sullivan's
Maton Cello Guitar



British player, guitarist Big Jim Sullivan owned and used a Maton 'Cello' guitar for many years during the peak of his career, playing it on recordings with Sarah Vaughan, Sammy Davis, Jr.,Tom Jones, and Johnny Keating and his Big Band.





George Harrison with his Maton
Even George Harrison played a Maton Mastersound MS500 electric guitar early in his career. He borrowed it from Barrat's Music of Manchester while they were repairing his Gretsch Country Gentleman

This guitar sold at auction for a tidy $485,000.

Maton guitar have come a long way since those days, and now produce some very fine instruments in a variety of price ranges. However, expect to pay from $1600 to over $4000 in today’s United States market.

1960's Alver electric archtop by Maton
Back in the 1950’s Maton had a line of budget guitars sold under the brand name Alver. These included archtop models that were comparable to Harmony archtop guitars of that era.


'58 Maton F-240


Their high-end models, such as this 1958 F-240 is akin to a mid-range Gibson, Epiphone or Guild archtop of that era. Maton has been making great acoustic flat top guitars for many years, and just seems to improve their design with time.




5 year old Tommy Emmanuel


In an interview, Tommy Emmanuel states he has been using Maton's since 1959. Believe it or not, Emmanuel has been playing guitar since he was four years old.


Emmanuel Family Band 
The Midget Surfaries

His family had a band, and traveled throughout Australia performing for years. Early on, Tommy and his brother Phil played Maton electric guitars.





1970 Maton F100

The current line up of Maton guitar uses some woods that you cannot get any where but in Australia. The backs and sides are made of Australian Blackwood, which is indigenous to eastern Australia and is a type of acacia wood. On some of the models, the back and sides are made of Queensland maple.




Current Maton
Mini Diesel
Most of the necks are made of Queensland maple. The tops are made of sold Sitka spruce in various grades, from A to AAA, depending on the model. Bracing is always X style with scalloped braces.

Tuning machines are Grover Rotomatics. The saddle and nuts are made of bone, even on the lower end models. Frets are made by Dunlop.

Maton  ECS80




Maton uses their own proprietary acoustic pickups the call the APS 5 or APS Pro. Maton has done some serious research into their acoustic pickup design. Instead of 9 volt batteries, the APS models use 2 AA batteries.





Maton EBW808
(blackwood)



Maton builds guitars in a dreadnought shape, and also auditorium sized, and jumbo sized shapes. Though the tops are usually Sitka spruce, the M series is made of Sapele wood, which is also known as African Mahogany. The necks on this series are made of Fijian Mahogany.





Heritage ECW80C



The Maton Heritage series makes available reproductions of older Maton instruments, using todays technology combined with materials used on models from the 1950's and 1960's. Instead of maple backs and sides, these instruments include Sapele wood for the back, sides, and neck.




Maton Starline 4606



The Heritage series also includes two electric models; a Jazz style hollow body model called the Starline 4606, which includes twin JHB humbucking pickups, that have a coil tapping feature. There is also another guitar that Maton intends to make available soon.




1958 MS500
This is the 1958 MS500, which is the 50th Anniversary model of a guitar similar to the one that Tommy Emmanuel played as a child, and the one that George Harrison played. It has a solid body made of Quandong, and a set Queensland maple neck. That begs the question; what is Quandong. It is a wood indigenous to Australia also known as Silver Quandong, that is occasionally used in construction.

The pickups on the MS500 include one Maton vintage single coil model, and one Maton vintage humbucking model. Though this model is not currently available, it will be very soon.

EBG808C
MicFix


Maton also offers the EGB series that includes the EBGMicFix model that was built and designed for singer songwriter Michael Fix. The top is AAA Solid Sitka spruce, and the back and sides are made of Queensland maple. Fret board inlays on the ebony fretboard are mother-of-pearl snowflake designs. This guitar comes with the APS-Pro pickup system. The EBG808 is a non electric model that has a top made of AA Sitka spruce, and the back and sides are made of Blackwood.


EBG Artist


The upgraded version is the EBG808 Artist. It too is non-electric and only available through select dealers.

The EBG808 Nashville (which also comes as the EBG808C cutaway model) features AA a solid Sitka spruce top with a brown-burst finish. The back and sides are made of "A" grade solid blackwood. It features the APS Pro pickup system.


EM100
The Maton Messiah EM100C and EM100 (non-cutaway) features a newly tuned, scalloped braced top and Solid Rosewood back and side sets.  This guitar and others in the Messiah Series are Maton's top-of-the-line.

This guitar features a Solid Mahogany Neck adds thickness to its deeper and richer tone and again the Maton UV paint finishes this model with a finer and more refined quality. The Maton signature M MOP decal on the headstock is the finishing touch to a guitar that is truly a world class performer.

EM100J
In creating the Messiah line up, Maton sought to bring together the best of the world’s tone woods. In 2012 the line-up was enhanced to improve their flagship model to maximize its tone and projection by giving it a combination of scalloped bracing, mahogany neck, a thinner, rounded, back and an ultra thin UV finish.

The Messiah line-up features the APS Pro pickup system, as well as top-of-the-line woods, Ivory bridge pins, gold Grover tune-o-matic machines, herringbone binding, and comes with a Maton case.

This guitar also comes as a 12 string model, and as the Messiah EM808 auditorium size guitar, and the EM100J, Jumbo size model. These were the guitars favored by Tommy Emmanuel, before he was honored with his personal model.

EM808TEC


The Maton TE Series was designed in conjunction with Tommy Emmanuel. These the are Maton top-of-the-line guitars that Tommy uses in concert. They are based on his specifications to give a huge sound on stage, as well as withstand the various climates of the cities throughout the world, where he performs.



TE Personal


All of the Tommy Emmanuel models feature a Mother of Pearl block inlay on the 12th Fret, engraved with "C.G.P." The acronym stands for "Certified Guitar Player," a title bestowed on Tommy by Chet Atkins and held by only 3 other guitarists in the world - John Knowles, Jerry Reed and Steve Warriner.

Click on the links under the photographs for sources, click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)








Sunday, April 1, 2018

Guitar Rifles - April 1 2018

Sincere protester that should
have paid more attention in class
These days there is much turmoil in the United States regarding guns. I have no opinion. I am neither pro or anti-gun. But I do have a wonderl solution.

Much like pounding your swords into plowshares, turn your rifles into guitars.

Homemade Kalashnikov
guitar-rifle




Just think of it; a 100 watt Marshall stack cranked up to 11, and strumming power chords on your Kalashnikov rifle guitar; that would be enough to send the bad guys scrambling.




Former UN General Kofi Anon
 with his AK-47 guitar-rifle

All you are going to need is a rifle, a guitar neck with frets and tuning machines, a pickup or two, and a bridge. Oh you might need a few tools. How hard could it be? Kofi Anon, former UN Secretary General built one. So can you.

Rifle Guitar 


First make sure the magazine is empty and there are no rounds in the barrel.


Guitar Rifle with neck attached


Next remove the barrel, or you could even use it as a truss rod if you like. You will need to attach the neck to the rifle’s body. I’ll leave that up to you. Be creative.

On the rifle’s body, route out a section for the pickup(s).

Guitar Rifle controls
in the magazine



I suggest that you run the wiring into the magazine clip. Onto the clip add the volume and tone controls. Use the gun’s trigger as a pickup switch, or volume boost, by adding electronics into the stock. Add a bridge and saddle. This one is off of an acoustic guitar. I prefer metal bridges, but whatever works for you should be fine.

This guy used a Strat Jack - Smart move!


Of course you will want to add the input jack at the end of the rifle’s butt.

The most wonderful thing is that there are plenty of ready made molded hard shell cases to carry your Guit-rifle.

You may have a little trouble getting it through security and onto a plane, but once again, I have faith in you.

Glen Burton AK-47 Guitar Rifle
Now go forth, and turn your weapon into a formidable ax.


By the way, did you realize this is April Fools Day?

Click on the links under the pictures for sources.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)




Saturday, March 24, 2018

Nokie Edwards, Surf Guitarist and Much More

Nokie Edwards    1935 - 2018
Nokie Edwards, best know as lead guitarist with The Ventures passed away on March 12, 2018 at the age of 82.

Born  Nole Floyd Edwards on May 9, 1935 in Lahoma, Oklahoma, and nicknamed Nokie, Edwards was a native American Cherokee. He came from a family of accomplished musicians, and by age five he began playing a variety of string instruments including the steel guitar, banjo, mandolin, violin, and bass. He became an excellent guitar player.

Later in life, his family relocated from Oklahoma to Puyallup, Washington. At age 18 he joined the Army Reserves and traveled to California and Texas for training. After his stint was over, he returned to Tacoma, and his family.

Nokie with his trio
In January 1958, country songwriter and guitarist Buck Owens relocated from California to Tacoma, Washington, as owner of radio station KAYE. Prior to the formation of The Buckaroos with Don Rich, Edwards played guitar with Owens in the new band he formed in the area, and also played in the house band of television station KTNT, located in the same building as KAYE.

That same year found Edwards playing at a local club.

Don Wilson and Bob Bogle had a chance meeting in 1958 where they discovered they both played guitar. These guys bought a couple of used guitars from a pawn shop and started playing at bars and small clubs.

Nokie with the Original Ventures

They went to see guitarist Nokie Edwards, who was playing at a nightclub and asked if he would join them as a bass player.  He took them up on the offer.  They originally called their band The Marksmen, but soon changed the name to The Ventures.

The drummer that originally played on the recording of Walk, Don’t Run, was Skip Moore. He left the group to work at his families gas station.

General George Babbit with The Ventures
Next George Babbitt joined the group, but had to leave, because he was too young to play in nightclubs. Years later he joined the US Army and went on to become a 4 Star General.

The Ventures then hired Howie Johnson as their drummer, and he played with the group until he was injured in an automobile accident. He was replaced by Mel Taylor. Taylor stayed with the group throughout the band's tenure until he became to ill to continue, and was replaced by his son, Leon.

Johnny Smith


Back when Wilson and Bogle met Nokie Edward, he was already performing a Chet Atkins song called in his nightclub set called Walk, Don’t Run. This song was actually written and recorded by jazz guitarist Johnny Smith.



The Ventures
The Ventures took their version of this song to a recording studio and laid down a track, along with a B-side called Home, and had the company press some 45 rpm records, which they shipped to record companies and radio stations. The tune was eventually picked up by Dolton Records and went on to become #2 on the charts.


Walk Don't Run '64

It was later redone by The Ventures with an updated surf guitar arrangement and released again as Walk, Don’t Run ‘64. This song became one of only a handful of recordings that charted twice on the Billboard Hot 100. Walk, Don’t Run became required playing for all garage bands in the mid 1960’s.


It’s theme was slightly more complex than other surf songs, as it went from a minor to a major mode. The Ventures went on to produce many more albums, and even TV themes, however the early recordings were generally surf based music.

Night Run - The Marksmen


But in 1960, the first song Edwards and The Marksmen recorded was a single, "Night Run" with a song called "Scratch" on the B side, on Blue Horizon Records.



The Ventures 1960 Nokie on bass guitar



Edwards originally played bass for the group, but he took over the lead guitar position.




The Ventures in Japan 1965

The Ventures released a series of best-selling albums through 1968.  It was that same year that Edwards left the group, although he would occasionally reunite with the band.

The Venture Japan 2011
Nokie is seated


Nokie Edwards continued to tour Japan annually with The Ventures, primarily in winter, until 2012. It is amazing that the popularity of The Ventures never waned in Japan.




Edwards began a solo career in 1969 and released several albums through 1972.  Unfortunately Edward's solo career was never successful in America.

The Ventures 1984


Nokie returned to the Ventures as lead guitarist in 1973. Edwards performed with the band until 1984, when he left again to pursue a music career in Nashville, Tennessee.



Nokie with The Ventures 1984


By the later 1980's Edwards re-joined The Ventures once again. The group began another short stint of recording and touring before returning to Nashville.




Nokie Edwards on TNN 1996

During the 1990's Edward's was involved with numerous country-influenced recording projects. He became known and respected among many musicians and people in the recording industry.

These included Mark Moseley, who is the nephew of Semie Moseley, and owns a successful recording studio in Nashville that was started by his father, Andy Moseley.

Another friend of Nokie Edwards was Bob Shade, the current owner of Hallmark Guitars. Dana Moseley, Semi's daughter, who still makes and sells Mosrite guitars in the United States can be counted among Nokie's friends.

Deke Dickerson, who carries on the tradition of guitar music from the 1950's and 1960's was also one of Nokie's friends.

Joe and Rose Lee Maphis were both friends of Edwards. There are also many more folks that worked with and respected Nokie Edwards.

The Ventures Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


Finally in 2008, Edwards and The Ventures were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.




The Ventures 1959
 Nokie Edwards and The Ventures used quite a few guitars during their careers. During their early years, The Ventures played late 1950 era Fender guitars; a Jazzmaster, a Stratocaster, and a Precision Bass. But probably the best known Ventures' model was made by Semie Moseley's company, Mosrite guitars.

Gene Moles on the left

One evening California session player, Gene Moles, was displaying his Mosrite guitar to Nokie Edwards of The Ventures. Edwards feel in love with that guitar. He asked Moles to take him out to visit that guy that builds these wonderful guitars and the men went to visit Semie Moseley.  That evening Edwards came home his own Mosrite.

Soon after the encounter, The Ventures hooked up with Moseley to build custom made Ventures guitars and basses.

Original Mosrite
Ventures model
“It was a beautiful guitar,” said Gene Moles, the Bakersfield session guitarist, and member of Jimmy Thomason’s TV band.

Moles was and assembly-line inspector for Mosrite guitars. Mole's is quoted as saying  “It was a well-designed instrument. It felt good to a guitar player when he grabbed it. It had a narrow neck and a low profile, so you didn’t have to push down as hard on the strings to play it. And it had what we called ‘speed frets,’ where you could slide up and down the neck without getting held up on high-profile frets.”

Later Side
Jack Model
The client who turned Mosrite into a household name, at least among guitar enthusiasts, was Nokie Edwards, lead guitarist for the kings of ‘60s surf-rock, the Ventures. Edwards fell in love with the Mosrite guitar, and by 1962, the entire Seattle-based band set their trademark Fender guitars aside and were playing Mosrites on songs like “Walk, Don’t Run” and the theme from “Hawaii 5-0.”Before long, Edwards struck up a deal with Moseley to build guitars under The Ventures logo.

The Ventures signed a special distribution agreement with Mosrite, featured their guitars on their album covers.

This arrangement lasted from 1963 to 1965, when the model name was changed to the Mark I. However The Ventures continued to tour with Mosrite guitars from 1963 to 1968.

Briefly Mosrite had attempted to build and market an all transistor amplifier under The Ventures banner. However it failed, due to design problems. Mosrite made at least 4 versions of The Venture's model that included a budget version and a six string/12 string double neck.

After the agreement between Mosrite and the Ventures ended, The Ventures returned to playing Fender instruments.

Wilson Brothers Model




Later in life, the group had arrangements with Aria Guitars, and Wilson Brothers Guitars to produce Ventures model guitars.




 Hitchhiker Guitar

Bob Shade of Hallmark Guitars, created a special model for Nokie called The Hitchhiker. This is an exquisite neck-through body guitar, with a hard maple neck, ebony fret board and highly figured body. The twin Seymour Duncan humbucking pickups are controlled by master volume and tone potentiometers, with a five-way pickup selector switch, a two mini-toggles that yield a tonal palette of 15 different sounds.

Hallmark Hitchhker 1




Shade also built Nokie an exquisite gold sparkle version of the Hitchhiker called The Hitchhiker 1. Nokie loved his Hitchhiker and it was the last guitar that he played in his concerts.



Nokie with an Aria guitar at
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction


Though Nokie Edwards was known for his single note picking on The Ventures records, he was also a devotee and friend of Chet Atkins, and Nokie was an excellent finger picking guitarist.




He claims that the longevity of The Ventures was due to the songs they choose to record. They would look at the Billboard Top Hits, and the guitar styles played on those songs, and copy those styles to stay current with the times.

For all of us that learned guitar back in the mid-1960's, we owe a debt of gratitude to Nokie Edwards, and Bob Bogle. We learned to play single note guitar, by listening to Walk, Don't Run, and the other hit song by The Ventures.

Click on the links under the pictures for sources. Click on links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)