1965 Fender Electric XII and Fender Bass V bodies and necks. These were excellent ideas on paper, but they did not sell many units. So instead of scrapping this material,
The Fender Custom guitar and The Fender Swinger guitar. And though these guitars were just a flash in the pan of Fender history, they are among some of Fender’s more unique guitars.
Word came from the top down to make something out of the excessive materials and the job fell to manager Babe Simoni.
the Musiclander and the Arrow. The second guitar was called The Custom, but also known as the Maverick.
Oddly, the Swinger/Musiclander was never listed in any Fender catalog of sales brochure. These were probably suggested to Fender sales reps as bargain instruments to sell directly to dealers.
Musicmaster short-scale necks and Bass V bodies. The Musicmaster was a single pickup student model that had been around since 1955. This student guitar came with a 3/4 sized neck and a scale of 22.5”.
The Bass V was introduced in 1965 as bass guitar that could accomplish the full range of a long neck bass but with only 15 frets. This was accomplished by adding a top C string giving the instrument a compliment of 5 strings. Surprisingly, it remained in the companies product listing until 1971, although around 200 units were all that were sold. Bass players complained that the string spacing was too narrow.
The Maverick was made from the bodies and necks of Fender Electric XII’s. Simioni used a bandsaw to configure a point in the bottom edge of the instruments body and also took a small slice off the upper horn.
The bridge/saddle that was used was leftover Mustang tremolo bridges. The body had to be routed out for the vibratos spring mechanism.
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The mystery remains as to why some of these guitars had headstock logos that proclaimed the guitar to be a “Fender Custom” in the familiar flowing script, while others were produced that said “Fender Maverick.” Perhaps this was to distinguish between the converted Electric XII necks and necks that were created specifically for this guitar.
The Custom/Maverick was listed in the Fender catalog from 1969 through 1971, although it appeared on the Fender price list as late as 1972.
Tye Zamora 6 String Bass was made for in 2003 by Senior Master Builder Jason Davis for Tye Zamora or the group Alien Ant Farm. This is the first one Built with a serial number of JD001 named for the builder.
The original intention of this bass was to go into production, Only two neck through versions of these basses exist. One is owned by Fender and the other is owned by Mr. Zamora.
This bass features a 9 piece contoured laminated wenge/flame maple neck through Cocobolo top, maple strip, and mahogany sides. The fretboard is made of Bubinga wood with a compound radius.
Perhaps the most popular guitars of this run was the Reverse Flying Vee.
But look closer and you’ll find the headstock is also backwards and so is the gold-plated string retainer and the pickguard.
The Reverse Flying Vee guitar came with only a single volume control placed directly below the neck pickup and the pickup selector switch located on the top end of the bottom horn.
Reverse Flying Vee’s producing 300 in black and 300 in white finishes.
All included reproductions of 1957 PAF humbuckers. Aside from the obvious differences between the 1958 Vee, there are plenty of other changes.
Of course the strings pass over a tune-o-matic bridge with the reverse gold-plated vee tailpiece. while the electronics complement is made from a dual humbucker array of hand-wound pickups, a 3-way switch, with a single volume control.
|2008 Gibson Reverse Explorer|
This guitar gets my vote for one of the top Unique Guitar designs of all time as it is obvious that Gibson s R and D team put a lot of thought and effort into this instrument. It is not just an upside-down Gibson Explorer. It has some extremely unique features.
the Moderne; the mythical guitar designed by Ted McCarty. However on the Reverse Explorer, the headstock is facing the opposite way.
The next extremely unusual feature is the gold-plated Steinberger tuners instead of traditional tuning keys.
This is accomplished by twisting the knurled knob on the back-side of the headstock.
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The “pickguard” is also made of molded carbon fiber in the shape of a lightning bolt and adds a very unique touch to the design both by its shape and texture. This same material is used on the truss rod cover.
The Reverse Explorer is equipped with a gold plated Gibson tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece. The electronics complement is made from a dual humbucker array (57 Classic neck and 57 Classic Plus for the bridge position), a 3-way switch, 2 volume and 1 tone controls. The strap buttons are also gold-plated.
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As a bonus, these guitars were shipped with a custom black reptile skinned case that included a silky white blanket adorned with the “Guitar of the Month.” Only 1,000 units were produced and they retailed for $2000 USD.
In 2009 Gibson released the Eye Guitar, which was loosely based on the Gibson SG series with a slightly elongated upper horn. Only 350 units were scheduled to be produced during its limited run and records are uncertain if even that many units were actually made. In fact the figure from Gibson indicates as few as 18 to 60 units were built.
The C-shaped set mahogany neck has ebony fretboard with 24 frets with a 12” radius and no position markers on its ebony fretboard.
The Gibson Eye Guitar is powered by Gibson modern humbuckers featuring anti-feedback wax potting. The 490R neck pickup with Alnico II magnets provides traditional humbucker tones with enhanced highs. The 498T bridge pickups uses Alnico V magnets for high output, enhanced mids and highs.
It was sold replete with a special Limited Run Series certificate of authenticity and a black hardshell case with white interior and silk-screened Gibson USA logo.
The Rickenbacker model 490, although listed on the companies 1973 catalog and the 1974 price sheet, it only existed as a prototype, but is was a far cry from the companies usual design. But for the headstock mosr folks would not guess it to be a Rickenbacker.
The upper body was bound with white trim.
The black pickguard encompassed much of the bodywhich was unlike the traditional Ric pickguard found and controls found on the model 430 and most other Rickenbacker guitars.
The pickguard on the 490 did not have this shape nor did it have the same control panel. The 490 came with 3 potentiometers, which we can only assume were 2 for volume and 1 for tone, although in the book The History of Rickenbacker Guitars, we do see a picture of a guitar with four potentiometers.
The 490's pickguard included a throw style switch for choice of its 2 pickups and another switch, possibly for changing the phase of the pickups. The pickups on this instrument were designed to be interchangeable, which would explain the unusual pickguard that housed the pickups.
The pickups could be changed by removing and replacing only 2 screws. Pickups offered were Rickenbacker single coils, humbucking pickups or EMG style active pickups.
The only model in existence is the one personally owned by John Hall, president and CEO of Rickenbacker.
Thus was born the Gibson 20/20 bass.
Steinberger’s specialty was actually in ergonomic furniture design. He won an industrial award for his bass, which launched his career in luthery.
The Gibson 20/20 minimalistic rectangular bass appears to be based on the cigar box guitar, only with one end longer than the others. It can be described as a pack of cigarettes with on sticking out.
The headstock is...well also rectangular and replete with four non-Steinberger type Sperzel tuners. The 20/20 bass weighs in at 8.8 pounds. The neck is of the bolt-on variety. The scale is 34 inches.
the body and neck were made of hard rock maple, with the fretboard made of ebony and topped with 24 frets and dot position markers. The guitar features twin active pickups each with their own volume control and a single tone control. The upper rectangular horn announces this to be a Gibson 20/20, while a flip out leg rest designed by Mr. Steinberger graces the bodies bottom side. The neck is fairly narrow at only 1.5” at the nut.
|Teisco Del Rey|
the Barney Kessel model.
The pickups are numbered and switchable by the rotary switch on the guitars upper bout. The other unique factor is the placement of the F-holes on the bottom of the lower bout. And lastly the tone switch on the lower bout, where one would find the tone potentiometer.
The Greco brand was started in 1960 by an export firm called Kanda Shokai. The name was sort of a corruption of the word Canada. Greco guitars were actually produced by several Japanese factories including Fujigen, Matsumoku and Teisco.
Greco semi-hollow “Shrike” guitars that were first imported by Goya and later by the American company Kustom electronics. The Shrike model pictured here with the “L” shaped pickups that point in opposite directions. This guitar has some other unusual features including the unique headstock.
The 4 controls on the upper bout control the volume of each section. These controls were on the lower bout on some versions. This guitar was indeed made at the original Teisco Gen Gakki factory in Nagano Japan.