Wednesday, January 14, 2009

1980's Electra Phoenix X-145VS

I picked up this guitar in August of 2008 and it has a market value of $102.50. I found out it was made in 1982 by the Matsumoku plant in Japan. It's a modified version of the X-145 (vintage sunburst color, X-145VS) guitar they produced. This one had the H-S-S (humbucker, single, single) configuration on the pickups while it originally had a S-S-S set up.

This guitar was a bolt neck double cutaway with ash body, maple neck, chrome hardware, and three single coil pickups with 3-way selector and fat switch (middle on), and brass knobs.

First Series Configuration:

X145R (S-S-S)(red metalflake)
X145B (S-S-S)(blue metalflake)

Second series Configuration:

X145VS (S-S-S)(vintage sunburst)

The first series was a deluxe version of the X130 model with special metallic paint and black pickguard like the X130, brass nut, trem bridge, brass knobs. Most had a brass '1982 commemorative anniversary' plate on the back of the headstock with an additional serial number.

The second series was almost a different model entirely- no pickguard, it had pickups mounted flush against the body, like all Phoenix models to follow. It was the only model in all the Electra Phoenix/ Westone Spectrum series to be available in a sunburst finish.

Electra guitars were imported from Japan by St. Louis Music from 1971-1984. Most of the instruments were made by Matsumoku in Matsumoto Japan. The Electra line replaces SLM's Japanese made Apollo and US made Custom Kraft lines. The first guitar, simply called The Electra, was a copy of the Ampeg Dan Armstrong lucite guitar and issued in 1971, followed quickly by a variety of bolt-neck copies of other brands. In 1975 the Tree-of-Life guitars debut with a leaf pattern carved into the top, and the Electra line expanded to 25 models. Open-book headstocks changed to wave or fan shape by 1978. By around 1981 ties with Matsumoku further solidified and decision eventually made to merge SLM's Electra brand with Matsumoku's Westone brand. Some Korean production began in the early 80's. In the fall of 1983, the Electra Brand becomes Electra Phoenix. By the beginning of 1984, the brand became Electra-Westone and by the end of 1984 just Westone. By 1987 or 1988 Singer Sewing Machines had bought Matsumoku and killed guitar production. SLM changed the brand to Alvarez (it's acoustic brand) and switched production to other plants, including Korea.

SLM was even competing with itself. Bernard Kornblum's Saint Louis Music (SLM) Electra brand competed with his own brother David Kornblum's California based Pacific Coast Music (PCM) Electra brand yet the two were not connected. Pacific Coast Music's Electra logo was nearly identical to the SLM Electra logo from 1972 to 1975 except instead of the SLM gold text, a black text on a white background was used. Both companies often imported from the same source. Pacific Coast often have an X on the headstock or the pickguard. In general, most favour the SLM versions to the PCM ones and the documentation and models are better represented by the SLM versions.

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Anonymous said...

nice find, i have an electra too

Guitar Hunter said...

They are very nicely built guitars and sound great too!

Anonymous said...

yeah mine is a phoenix x-150, pristine condition
with the warranty card and all, like the blog, a good read

Anonymous said...

cool. i got an x-199 HSH that i refinished sunburst myself. redid the wiring too

Guitar Hunter said...

That's another cool Electra but why did you have to redo the wiring?

Anonymous said...

Man, when I was 9 my Dad gave me a Phoenix electra just like the one you have here. I'm now in my 30's and I still have it, but as you can imagine, it's got some gnarly wear and tear going on, if you still have this guy, would you consider a trade? I have a few different guitars If be willing to swap....

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