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The Guitar Enthusiast
Playing guitar is great, at home, in a band, jamming with friends, whatever the case may be. Working on guitars and collecting guitars makes you an enthusiast. I’ve never been a collector of guitars, because of the immense cost in buying guitars worth collecting. My eyes have now been opened to a new possibility that has me very excited.
The Old Forgotten Cort
When I was about thirteen years old, I found a Cort solid body electric guitar at a yard sale. It wasn’t a great guitar, but I didn’t care, I wanted an electric guitar. I paid $45 for it and took it home. I played this guitar for a couple years and then it got put away in a case in the closet only to be forgotten, mainly due to the Kramer that took it’s place.
In the years to come I was in and out of the Air Force, married, had kids and moved away. My wife and I were visiting my parents on a weekend and I just happened to be looking for something in my old bedroom which was now my mothers computer room. Upon looking in the closet I felt something that seemed like a guitar case. Wow, I had forgotten all about that old black Cort guitar. Pulling it out of the case and strumming a few chords got me excited. It was a neat find and I took it home with me. Although that guitar was not something that I would really play much, there had to be something that it was good for. What about a new guitar out of that old guitar – I just happened to have a really nice neck off of an Epiphone SG that would do just fine. My excitement was growing the more I thought about it.
The Project Guitar
Needless to say, it became a project not to be finished right away. What I needed was a good plan on exactly how I wanted this guitar to look and sound. I decided right away that I wanted it to be something that no one else had. Seafoam green and chrome?
Wait a minute, I’ve seen Harley’s in that color and they are pretty cool. Quickly, the decision was made, it would be seafoam green and I would make a pick guard out of diamond plate. They do not make a pick guard for the guitar, due to it having three separate on of switches for each pickup. Then come the electronics and the hardware.
A great looking guitar is not as important as a great playing guitar. So, I will be carefully selecting the pickups, bridge, tuners etc, to make it a great player as well. This guitar has been great fun, planning and actually seeing it come to life (so far), it’s a lot of fun to customize and modify. In the end it will be a one of a kind creation that I can call my own. It may not be worth a lot of money, but it will be a treasure piece to me.
On the other side of the coin, there are times that it is not so good to customize and go crazy with ideas.
There is more to this wonderful story. Well, the day after I discovered the Cort in the Closet. I was out in my Dad’s shed and I remembered an old guitar that was always around, but had no strings and in no wise playable condition. I asked him whatever happened to that guitar. For a while it was always up in the rafters of the shed. He told me that it was still up there and I looked and low and behold there it was. He told me that I could have it, but it was probably warped and pretty much junk.
Taking this guitar back home I got to look at it closer. Tuner knobs were chewed up and bad, tail piece is broken, tremolo and bridge is totally missing. That is the good news, the great news is that from being up in the shed with what must have been the perfect amount of humidity, the neck, body and everything else is in perfect condition, just like new. Next I had to research and see what kind of guitar this is.
The markings on the guitar were vague. One the headstock is says Tele-Star in gold, the back of the headstock has JAPAN stamped in the wood. My Dad had told me that he bought the guitar new in 1969 for about $100 from a local music store that has since closed down.
With this little information I set out to find out what this guitar is. I took it over to a friends and he looked at it and was amazed at the shape of this guitar. He started doing some research and we found that Tele-Star guitars were made by Kawai, the Japanese piano company.
In the meantime I bought a new tail piece and was trying to figure out what type of bridge I wanted for it. However these plans have been canceled and I am taking my friend’s good advice, he said that I should restore this guitar back to original. This guitar is not only a nice looking guitar, is somewhat collectible.
Now I have been doing some research trying to find a picture of this exact model to see exactly how it looked new. I’m having a lot of fun doing it and in the end I am going to have another unique guitar in my collection.
Pawn Shops And Yard Sales
My guitar collecting from now on is going to be at pawn shops and yard sales. You know that old heavy beat up junker hanging in the pawn shop window? What if you stripped it down and added some modifications and customized it? Say you spend $50 on the guitar and put $200 into it. You have $250 invested in a great guitar that is a one of a kind model created by you. Another thing to keep in mind is that some older cheapo model guitars are cool and very collectible. The old Sears Silvertone guitars were junk, but people want them, just because of the nostalgia.
The main point of this story is that collecting guitars is fun, but you do not have to go out and buy up really expensive guitars in order to have a great collection. Your collection might be right under your nose or sitting in someones garage covered in dust. Have fun with it, I know I am.