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Mystery guitar?


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I have an old acoustic which I bought second hand about 25 years ago at a rather run-down shop in Manchester, UK. I wondered if anyone knows how I can determine the guitar's origin.


It has seen some considerable use, and has hitch hiked around Europe with me. I've always assumed it was a bit of a mongrel, but it was recently overhauled by a luthier who suggested it might be a Gibson. He replaced the bridge (which was non-original anyway - looked like it had come from a classical guitar) and the nut. Other than that, and general wear and tear, these pictures show how it was when I got it. I haven't figured out how to post pictures in the forum directly.


The headstock is shaped like a Gibson, but it's blank apart from an inlaid logo which I hadn't noticed elsewhere until I started looking for a Les Paul. It's at least very similar - if not quite identical - to the flower logo you get on some Gibsons (like this one).


The neck is really quite nice even after all it has been though (with a 60s Les Paul profile), the tone is still rich, the bindings and sound-hole inlay are nice. These factors make me think it's perhaps well made enough to be a Gibson. On the other hand, there's the obvious lack of a name, the fretboard inlays are nothing special and the shoulders have bowed inwards slightly (perhaps as a result of excess heat), there's no sticker inside, and no sign of a serial number.


So my curiosity is piqued.


Thanks for any help you can offer.

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Tokai and Greco have used that flower design before on its Gibson copies.

You may want to look at there line further. And Tokai makes quality guitars.



Here is an example of a Tokai J45 J55

http://www.bbmcompany.es/tokai1j55.jpg or you can find them in a J200 or whatever.


If you could just figure out what the acoustic resembles in the Gibson-Epiphone line you may find an example with Tokai. Maybe? I am just

taking an uneducated guess.


Also Greco made a lot of Gibson like copies with that design on headstock. Here check these out. Hummingbird like-shape and inlay by Greco or something they made, maybe.



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At first blush it has a lot of Epiphoneesque features from the Matsumoku / Norlin years.. 1970 - 1990ish.


The head stock appears to have had a coat of black paint applied, front and back which appears to be peeling... Can you get a fingernail under it and continue removing some?


The rosette, however, is not Epiphonesque. Some of the upper end Epis, even in the Norlin era had fancier rosettes, but a tri-/ quad- color herring bone inlay seems a bit too fancy... Maybe pre-Norlin Excellente, Frontier or El Dorado?


Curious. :-k


The pieced in neck binding at the body could indicate a neck re-set. This may have been heavily modified.

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Actually, the more I looked around, the more I saw the old Japanese lawsuit guitars with that Gibson flower/tulip logo, including Ibanez, Alvarez, Burney, to name a few.

So it's my guess that your guitar is a japanese lawsuit make. And no doubt the quality would exceed the guitars those companies make today.


Interesting. Let us know if you are successful in unraveling the mystery. [cool]


Good Luck.

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