Did you know? Vintage Alvarez Yairi guitars like this beauty were serial numbered based not just upon the order in which they were produced, but also upon the number of years of the sitting emperor’s rule. I know, right?
This is a 1980 Yairi DY-45. Original case included.
Like motorcycles? Like guitars? If the answer is yes to both, then this guitar is your kind of guitar.
It’s a vintage Tokai factory Hondo Professional that’s been custom-painted as a Harley-Davidson collectible. Hand-painted! Case included.
Check out our eBay auctions of old tubes. We’ve got a bunch of them!
I’ve gotten a bit lax on the Facebook/Tumblr lately, but I’ve had a good variety of cool stuff come in. Among them, an upright bass, a Peavey VTA-400 200-watt tube amp (!!!), and some other stuff… stay tuned for more info.
Just had some interesting stuff come in, including but not limited to:
- an Engelhardt C1 upright bass
- a Conn 20M alto sax
- a PRS SE Singlecut
- a Gibson Custom ‘60 Reissue Les Paul Junior
- a G&L ASAT Special (Tele) semi-hollow with a Bigsby!
- a vintage Penncrest Stella-style acoustic
- a Korg MicroX keyboard/MIDI controller
- a Regal Black Lightning squareneck dobro
- a MIJ Fender Jaguar
Stay tuned for pictures.
1973 Fender Mustang… NEKKID!
If anyone wants to see some more guitars nekkid, here we go. Since I’m strapped for time, we’re going to look at a 1973 Fender Mustang. (I still have the ‘62 Jaguar in the hopper, but it’s more involved, since it’s cooler than this guitar for reasons I’ll go into when I write it up.)
Above is a 1973 Mustang. It’s definitely a cool guitar, but it’s not extremely collectible for a few reasons: 1) it’s not all-original, 2) it’s beat up, 3) it’s a post-CBS guitar, and 4) it’s not a Strat or a Tele (the market-maker vintage Fender collectors aren’t the most fun and imaginative bunch.).
That said, this guitar is cool for all those same reasons. It’s worn and beat and looks great (“It’s got character.”), you’re not going to worry if you put another ding in it, it’s far cheaper to buy than that mint condition ‘74 Mustang that somebody is asking twice as much for, and it’s a freakin’ Mustang, weapon of choice for guitarists not wanting to sound like the usual Strat-, Tele-, and Les Paul-slinging guitar heroes that carpet bomb the airwaves.
So first things first. Upon visual inspection of the outside, the headstock appears good. The wacky plastic tuning keys, the Kluson-style tuning capstans, the decal, etc., look good. The nut looks a bit weird, though; it’s black and the string spacing is a hair wider than normal, and must have been replaced.
Here’s the back of the headstock. Again, looks about right. No stray screw-holes evidencing some long-ago tuning machine swap, no headstock breaks (extremely rare on Fender-style guitars), no obviously replaced tuning machine thumb keys.
Moving down the neck, we see some fret wear, which is fairly normal at these frets and for a guitar this age. They’re fairly deep, but a skilled luthier can level those divots out of frets. The guitar will play differently (more of the pad of your finger will touch the fretboard, making string bends feel different), but it’s cheaper and easier than a refret.
Here’s the body. Several things are worth mentioning here. Firstly you can see quite a bit of chipped-off finish. In this case, the guitar was owned by a smoker, and airborne smoking residue that settles on the finish eventually softens the finish. At the same time, the finish develops the usual weather checking (those fine lines that stripe the finishes of old guitars), and the now-softened finish begins to come off bit by bit like pieces of eggshell. This guitar isn’t hemorrhaging finish, but there are a few loose bits.
The other thing that I see here is that the pickup covers have been replaced, which may mean the pickups too have been replaced. The original pickup covers would not have had holes for the pickups’ pole pieces. Let’s find out what’s up with that.
Incidentally the back is in pretty good shape…
… and the whammy bar set screw (on the far side of the whammy bar/string mount rod, not pictured) is still there. They’re often long gone.
First we capo the neck and carefully loosen the strings (so we don’t have to restring the guitar when we put her back together), and then we take the neck off. This mitigates the slight but definitely risk of string swirls or other damage possible when restringing a guitar. The serial number on the neck plate above dates to 1973, so at this point, that’s our best/only guess as to its build year.
(Ever wonder why people on eBay and Craigslist hide serial numbers? As a small-towner who moved to the city without city-appropriate cynicism and cautious distrust, I didn’t understand for a long time, but suffice it to say that some people will file bogus theft reports with the police and try to defraud you out of your own guitar. Beware of worthless people.)
Here’s the end of the neck. Usually some kind of date stamp is clearly visible, but in this case only a bit of it remains; the date stamp is often in direct contact with the wood of the neck pocket, so it can wear off over time. Other times, the original stamp was poorly applied in the first place.
The “J. Torres” stamp shows the neck passed quality control under this fellow. It’s -not- the name of the guy who made the neck.
No clue who or what DK is.
Above is the flipside of the pickguard. The soldering appears unadulterated, the pickups are wax-potted, and the usual blue-yellow or black-white Mustang pickup leads are present, which leads me to believe that for some reason the pickup covers were replaced long ago, but the pickups were kept. Cool.
Here’s the underside of the control plate. Two pots, a cap, and a jack. The pickup selector switches mounted on the pickguard handle everything else. If you didn’t read the article about the ‘62 Fender Deluxe, you might not know how to read the codes on the control pots. It’s easy though, so here we go: the first three digits, 137 in this case, encode the identity of the manufacturer. 137 denotes Chicago Telephone Supply (aka CTS), and is by far the most common manufacturer code on guitar and amp pots from oldish American-made gear. The next two numbers clearly show the year, 73 for 1973, and the final two tell which week of the year the pots were produced. The last two digits on the volume pot above, 10, tell me this pot was produced in week 10 of 1973.
This is the underside of the tremolo. No obvious markings or stamps on it…
… and no markings in the route for it either.
Time to put her back together. Not a lot of clues, but we did get confirmation of 1973 as the guitar’s year of birth.
Hello, what’s this? It’s a small metal shim under the G string saddle. Since Mustang bridge saddles cannot be height-adjusted individually, sometimes you see little modifications like this. It can be easily removed, so no worries.
Here’s a parting shot of the case. Nice, huh? It’s the original Fender case, but the Fender badge and original tolex are history. At least it was recovered with a cool Silvertone-style wrap. And tape. And more tape. Latches and hinges still work though.
Stay tuned for How to Take Apart a 1962 Fender Jaguar.
We now carry Jazz Standard custom trumpet mouthpieces.
Available in various cups, shanks, and materials (aluminum, brass, and more…), they’re made right here in St. Louis, Missouri.
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Dissecting a 1962 Fender Deluxe-Amp
First things first— if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t open up a tube amp. You will get hurt.
If you were to make a list of things that don’t come into the shop every day, this amp would be near the top. It’s a 1962 Fender Deluxe-Amp with brown tolex. It’s older than the so-called “blackface” amps of the mid-1960s. It’s a classic.
And as you can see, this one is in phenomenal condition.
When you see those guitars and amps that look like they were purchased, played a few times, and then put in a closet 50 years ago, that’s usually exactly what happened. With amps, you hope the capacitors don’t dry up in storage, and with guitars you hope somebody let off the string tension before it got stowed (lest you end up with a twisted neck… no good!).
That said, when these items come back out of storage after untold decades, they sometimes show up at shops like GoMusicSTL. And when that happens, we have the simultaneously tedious, nerve-racking, and awesome job of opening the items up to look at the guts to date the item, authenticate its parts, and assess its condition.
So this’ll be a fun one. This ‘62 Deluxe was purchased with a Fender Jaguar way back when, and it appears to be in awesome shape. Let us verify.
The tolex is in killer shape. The serial number, the knobs, the tubes, and everything on the outside look good. The handle is in good shape, the chassis straps (those long metal strips at either end of the top of the amp), and so on, look good, too.
Even the “death plug” two-prong power cord is intact. The cap covering the speaker jack is missing, but that’s pretty minor.
The speaker is ugly and looks to be no-name, but it’s actually an Oxford. How do I know? The speaker sports a manufacturer’s code that declares both who made the speaker and when. The code is 465-241. 465 is code for Oxford, and 241 is code for 1962, week 41. We have to infer 1962 from the ‘2’, but it will be corroborated shortly.
All right, so we’ve got the back panel off. The speaker looks original (I’ve compared to other museum-quality pieces in places like Musurgia.com, etc.), and it dates outs properly. What’s next? Let’s check out the tubes.
We’ve got the tube cans off, and here we see a GE 7025, which is basically a military-grade, low-noise 12AX7, and two Tung-Sol USA 12AX7s. The 7025 GE and one of the 12AX7s are preamp tubes, and the other 12AX7 is the phase splitter, which sends the positive part of the signal coming out of the preamp to one power tube and the negative part to the other power tube. In this case the power tubes are Sylvania 6V6s. The rectifier tube is the odd man out; it’s a British-made Amperex, and it converts the alternating current (AC) from the power transformer (basically from the wall) into direct current (DC). Again, referencing other primo examples of this amp on the internet, it looks like these are the original stock tubes, which is great news.
Now let’s look at the fun stuff now: the guts.
Above is the inside of the amp. Most of the circuitry is laid out on the circuit card. The big orange things are electrolytic capacitors, and they are really the only thing quite likely to a) die or be dead, and therefore b) have been replaced. These are all original, and none of them look to be blowing up yet. That said, lets take a look at the filter capacitors on the other side of the chassis.
After removing the cover from the filter caps on the top of the chassis, we see this. You can see that the caps are starting to go; there is bulging and residue on the + end of the caps. No good. But the amp plays for now. A serious player/collector would do like the vintage radio restoration buffs do: replace the caps and save the orange sleeves, which you can then hollow out and wrap around the new caps. It would look close enough for government work, and you’d have an new lease on life for the amp.
While we’re in the amp, we can again take a look at some date codes. Above is a potentiometer on the control panel, and it has a date code that reads 304-62XX. 304 means Stackpole, the company that made the pots, 62 is the year, and XX is the week. I can’t get a good look at the week numbers, but knowing that the pots are from 1962 corroborates our speaker code from before. And here’s a smoking gun:
Yeah, that says 1962. Cool.
The power and output transformers also have codes that can help to date an amp. Some amps will also have chokes, which are inductors that look like baby transformers and are usually there to help clean up the power supply voltage. They too can have codes stamped on them. This amp doesn’t have a choke though, so onward!
The speaker cone back has a bit of damage, but it hasn’t ripped through the cone, and it’s limited to a small area in back… it’s in a weird place, and it’s not normal speaker wear.
I take out the speaker to check out the front of the speaker and see if the rest of it is all right. In doing so, I have a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me moment, as this tumbles out of the speaker basket!
Yes, that’s a mud-dauber nest.
Don’t ask me. This amp obviously wasn’t kept in a barn. A pity that damned wasp scuffed up our otherwise beautiful speaker. Oh well, nothing we can do about it. The speaker works, so I’m not too concerned. This is still the best-looking ‘62 Deluxe I’ve ever seen in person or otherwise!
As I go to put her back together, I snap a picture of the tube layout. Ours is a Deluxe of the 6G3 variant. There are several other earlier versions out there, but this was the design revision available in 1962.
Note that the tag says “Fender Electric Instrument Mfg. Co.”, rather than the later “Fender Musical Instrument Corporation”, which would have been found on the tags after CBS (yes, the TV broadcaster) bought Fender and changed its official name in 1965.
So there she is, back together. There’s candle wax spilled on the bottom back, but I plan to remove it carefully to bring this sweet little amp back to a cosmetic 10.0.
But anyway, I’m glad it’s fun to take things apart.
And by the way, this thing even showed up with the original dust cover, made in LA. Snazzy.
Thanks for reading. Next we’re going to look at a ‘62 Fender Jaguar. Yes! - Joel @ GoMusicSTL
EDIT — One half of one of the second 12AX7 drives the LFO that makes the tremolo do its thang.