What was the worst guitar you've ever owned (with a focus on '60s and '70s stock)?

Shine

Squier-holic
Nov 29, 2016
3,268
West Coast Landia
My stepdad at the time bought an old MIJ Victoria like this at Kmart back in the mid-sixties. I can't comment on its utility as I didn't play at the time. My mom was a bit dismayed that I started taking the pickguard off to poke around. Last time I checked the asking price was a couple hundred bucks!
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In some wild deja vu, my recent bass purchase shows I've come full circle. I've given it a little preliminary clean and set up, and it actually seems to intonate pretty accurately and sound good.
 

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Naked Strat Brat

Squier-Meister
Gold Supporting Member
Mar 27, 2022
412
North, Snow, UFO Ville!
Yeah, 'twas so. Truly inexpensive guitars back then were nothing but junk.

I only owned one such. My very first guitar bought with hard earned lawn mowing money. No name on it. Total crap.

Yes, I learned to play on it. Strengthened my soul as much as my fingers. And then dedicated myself to getting a decent one. A student grade Gibson (An ES-125 TDC) which, despte tthe Gibson name n its headstock, was by today's standads truly so-so. And no, it was not "cheap." Just less expensive that Gibson's "good" ones.

Fenders were not "cheap" then either. Though they were designed from the start to be factory built by semi-skilled laborers.

The last few years have been amazing as far as low cost guitars. Pretty decent quality for very little, and truly good playing/sounding/looking quality for not too much more. ("Fineness" is, and, I expect, always will be, costly)

Oh, and people who complaine about the less expensive Squiers and such being "junk" do not know the meaning of that word. Truly they don't! And fortunatly such may never have to. :)

-don
Haha sounds llke me.My very first guitar was a Watkins strat knock off it was decent, then a Kay from of all places a swap meet, The neck looked like a long bow when strings were installed and attemped to tune it. A decent used fender was around $350.00 for a true blue American made and not all beat to hell looking. NO one would have wanted these "relics" back then that you see people in some way want to have one. Not me. I love a nice shiney spiffy looking guitar that when or if I sell it, the buyer can see how good I have love it and not beaten the daylights out of it.
 

Naked Strat Brat

Squier-Meister
Gold Supporting Member
Mar 27, 2022
412
North, Snow, UFO Ville!
Thanks for the responses. It's been interesting reading some of the feedback. From the sounds of it, when you got a bad electric guitar back in the 60s/70s, it was seriously bad. Some sound nightnarish even. Some of the worst money we'd ever spent. Guitars that would not be worthy of hanging on the store wall of any reputable dealer today.

I suppose maybe a tip of the hat is in order to computer technology for sparing us the fate of budget guitarists from back then. I don't see such guitars in stores these days as most operations seem streamlined to accomodate the major brands like Fender, Gibson, Martin, PRS, Yamaha and the like for pro gear, then Squier and Epiphone and similar makes for budget stock. So guitar stores seem to have their houses nice and neatly in order now but in the back of my mind I can't help but wonder if today's guitar stores come close to what you'd encounter when walking into one way back then. Maybe it was more of a free-for-all with Fender and Gibson being recognized brands but not necessarily the legendary makes they are today. If such was the case then a newcomer to the guitar world wouldn't have had the kind of insights that we enjoy today with reviews and YouTube giving us demos and influencing us towards certain brands. In short, the waters would have muddier. All of this would have enhanced the possibility of someone walking out of a guitar store with a lemon in a case. Again, thanks to the internet for allowing us to be better informed.

It's been a fun thread and one that a newcomer can benefit from in the spirit of, 'look at the junk we had to learn on, appreciate what you've got'.

All best,
Mark225
True. Back when I was young the average music store did not have much of a large instock of new expensive guitars. In fact piano, organs, drums seemed more or less to command the sales floors. But used guitars were all over and fairly cheap. I took about 5 months of guitar lessons from the music store I was working in cleaning everything getting finger prints off and then sweeping. The music teacher had a fairly new Goya spanish guitar for students to use. Jumping from that to an electric with a smalled neck was a wonderful experience.
 

AxelMorisson

Squier-Nut
Nov 15, 2021
581
Fagaras, Romania
Sure that's not a version of British Racing Green? I kinda like it!
I wish it were.. nope, it is not metallic.. and nor is it so nice. It is more like ..the paint on old time tanks. The cheapest kind of paint to be found around here is military surplus. It certainly is very resistant- and certainly comes in the ugliest colors known to mankind. This was more like the forest green that can be 'admired' here if you must
not the nice Irish green or British racing green or Paris Green or.. nope. Plain army camo but not the nice flat olive drab - a camo scheme for forested areas. Looks like... alder forests, I guess? This brand has a history of using high quality yet unappealing colors for all its creations. Only in recent times one can see normal colors in their lineup...
 

Lanaka

Squier-holic
Feb 11, 2020
2,253
Honolulu, HI
LOL, y'know something? My first electrics were good guitars, it's my first acoustics that's were sucky. Perhaps that's why I now prefer electrics over acoustics.

I first started with a bunch of no name walmart-grade tourist ukuleles. Then moved up to decent ukuleles. Then got a good acoustic which got lost/stolen during a loan. Got several more acoustics that are of varying grades of quality. Then decided to stretch myself financially and try get some good electric guitars to start with. That's when I got the 1984 Yamaha SC-300T & the 1994 Jackson JRR-94-BLK Concept V. And I still have them, years later!

Ever since then I've stayed electrics with an occasional acoustic ukuleles thrown in. My sucky electrics came later and they're in bad shape but not so bad that they cannot be project guitars where I do not have to worry about destroying any guitar value as they DIDN'T have any to begin with. Remember if they don't pass my Feel Test I normally don't buy the guitar.

Here are some of them. I honestly cannot call them "worst" insofar as playability as they're either unplayable due to them being incomplete guitars or someone else's failed projects, OR are playable but needs lots of remedial setup, electrical or cosmetic work.

These two were acquired at same time from the seller. The pics shows them in as purchased condition. The first one is a 60s-70s "Artisan" guitar that I think is an incomplete kit guitar. It's all bare wood and missing lots of parts including the missing brass pickguard (based on the green stained outlines of the missing pickguard). What is interesting is the baseball bat handle round neck. It's easily the biggest fattest neck I've ever felt, but oddly it doesn't feel wrong in my hand! It just feels different. It's going to be interesting to build this one and see how it actually plays.

Artisan-CC-Z(2000²).jpg

The second one of this set is the 60-70s Kingston Swinga. This one is missing almost everything except for its metal pickguard and shows evidence of at least 3 layers of paint on the body. The front shows signs of either termite or rot damage in the top at the bottom left side of the pickguard. Obviously I won't be able to use transparent finish here. Another thing...the bolt-on neck has been converted into a set neck by it being glued into its neck pocket (...not by me)! The slim neck feels nice, but I see potential in it's swimming pool pup/control cavity. I just hope the neck has been glued in straight, but that's not the end of the world since, like the "Artisan," I'm gonna have to fix the scale length disagreement by relocating the bridge anyway.

Kingston_Swinga-CC-Z(2000²).jpg

Next is another incomplete project, a MIJ 70s Memphis Les Paul copy. I've already straightened the crooked neck which is loose in the neck pocket. But I still need to fill the gaps between the neck heel and the sides of the neck pocket.

Memphis_LP-CC02-Z(2000²).jpg

Next is a mild restoration job on a 60-70s MIJ "Concert" Jazzmaster copy.. I'm going to leave the worn finish alone. I'm gonna reuse the original electronics as much as possible (especially those unique pups), replace the broken tuners, trem bridge and arm, and install straplocks.

Concert-CC-Z(2000²).jpg

Next is a full restomod job of a 1984 MIJ Electra X2RD Futura by reconverting it from a 1H (neck) back to a full Modern Les Paul HH specs with p/p pots.

Electra_X2RD-CC-CFZ(2000²).jpg
 

Lanaka

Squier-holic
Feb 11, 2020
2,253
Honolulu, HI
The 1989 Fujigen Ibanez RG565R was the seller's#1 gigging workhorse of 30 years up/down the East Coast. It still smells of decades of old tobacco and beer. I need to refret the neck and determine the issue with the non-functional bridge humbucker. I'm planning to restore the guitar's functionality but leave it's battle wear intact. This RARE guitar has a history to tell and I'll leave that intact.

Ibanez_RG565R-CC-ZA(2000²).jpg

The 1986 MIJ Charvel Model 4 is a beautiful white pearl SuperStrat that has aged to a lovely cream pearl guitar. Unfortunately the electronics hasn't fared as well. It's totally non-functional and will need either a total rebuild (IF the individual components still works) or total replacement.

Charvel_Model_4-CC-Z(2000²).jpg

And finally this 1986 MIJ Aria II Pro "The Cat" is missing both the entire HSS electronics and it's entire Floyd Rose trem setup.

Aria_The_Cat-CC2-Z(2000²).jpg
 

Dana Rudd

Squier-holic
Mar 9, 2020
1,097
Greybull, WY
I can't say I've ever had a bad guitar. The first three were used to step up with trades or sales. The fourth is a Gibson ES-330TDC bought new in 1966 for $398.00, still have it and always will.
 

Shreddergirl

Squier-Meister
Jun 4, 2021
292
Beale Street
That sux that yer mother, of all persons, believed in that stereotype about females not being guitarists! 😳😞

Glad ye still had the determination to wait a few years and pursue yer dreams! Else we wouldn't get to see the cool guitars ye now have and yer words of encouragements and wisdom!
It was the 70's title 9 was just catching on.... my mom was old and grew up in the great depression, she even sewed my clothes(the source of much teasing i can tell you... but it did make me tough...) very old fashioned lady...
Thank you for the kind words... girls can indeed rock and rock well!
 

Lanaka

Squier-holic
Feb 11, 2020
2,253
Honolulu, HI
It was the 70's title 9 was just catching on.... my mom was old and grew up in the great depression, she even sewed my clothes(the source of much teasing i can tell you... but it did make me tough...) very old fashioned lady...
Thank you for the kind words... girls can indeed rock and rock well!

That makes sense. I cannot blame her then, as your mother is a product of the Old World. She couldn't help it as she grew up in a World that had different Ideas about Female Capabilities than today. She did her best and that's all one can ask for. 🙂😉👍
 

Mark225

Squier Talker
Nov 9, 2018
69
Toronto, Canada
The 1989 Fujigen Ibanez RG565R was the seller's#1 gigging workhorse of 30 years up/down the East Coast. It still smells of decades of old tobacco and beer. I need to refret the neck and determine the issue with the non-functional bridge humbucker. I'm planning to restore the guitar's functionality but leave it's battle wear intact. This RARE guitar has a history to tell and I'll leave that intact.

View attachment 233640

The 1986 MIJ Charvel Model 4 is a beautiful white pearl SuperStrat that has aged to a lovely cream pearl guitar. Unfortunately the electronics hasn't fared as well. It's totally non-functional and will need either a total rebuild (IF the individual components still works) or total replacement.

View attachment 233641

And finally this 1986 MIJ Aria II Pro "The Cat" is missing both the entire HSS electronics and it's entire Floyd Rose trem setup.

View attachment 233642
Those are a lot of projects that you seem to have on the go. Some seem to be in need of a major overhaul. It would be nice if a new favorite guitar emerged from all your work. Here's hoping...

All best.
Mark225
 

Mark225

Squier Talker
Nov 9, 2018
69
Toronto, Canada
True. Back when I was young the average music store did not have much of a large instock of new expensive guitars. In fact piano, organs, drums seemed more or less to command the sales floors. But used guitars were all over and fairly cheap. I took about 5 months of guitar lessons from the music store I was working in cleaning everything getting finger prints off and then sweeping. The music teacher had a fairly new Goya spanish guitar for students to use. Jumping from that to an electric with a smalled neck was a wonderful experience.
I'd totally forgotten about used stock that you'd see in shops. Thanks for reminding me. I don't remember seeing that much since Kijiji and Craigslist and a few other web sites sprung up thereby giving sellers a new outlet for selling guitars. And so the internet rides again, although I mean that in a nice way. I'd be willing to bet that a lot of sellers got more for their stock than they would have by way of trade ins, sales or pawnshops. And a lot of players would have been able to finally get that hard to get stock that was discontinued several years ago with relative ease. It sounds like a win/win scenario most of the time although a few shop owners may have grumbled a little from whatever lost revenue went by way of the internet. I've been on Kijiji since around 2012 and even then I felt like I was late to the party so I'll guess that we can back up to around 2007 since the internet's influence was first felt. That's 15 years. No wonder I'd forgotten the used market. You still see some pieces but most of what I see are fairly recently made guitars. Relics or collectibles not so much. The landscape has changed so much since the '60s & '70s and yet doing the footwork and getting out to guitar stores is still fun and time very well spent. Some things just never get old.

All best,
Mark225
 

Shreddergirl

Squier-Meister
Jun 4, 2021
292
Beale Street
LOL, y'know something? My first electrics were good guitars, it's my first acoustics that's were sucky. Perhaps that's why I now prefer electrics over acoustics.

I first started with a bunch of no name walmart-grade tourist ukuleles. Then moved up to decent ukuleles. Then got a good acoustic which got lost/stolen during a loan. Got several more acoustics that are of varying grades of quality. Then decided to stretch myself financially and try get some good electric guitars to start with. That's when I got the 1984 Yamaha SC-300T & the 1994 Jackson JRR-94-BLK Concept V. And I still have them, years later!

Ever since then I've stayed electrics with an occasional acoustic ukuleles thrown in. My sucky electrics came later and they're in bad shape but not so bad that they cannot be project guitars where I do not have to worry about destroying any guitar value as they DIDN'T have any to begin with. Remember if they don't pass my Feel Test I normally don't buy the guitar.

Here are some of them. I honestly cannot call them "worst" insofar as playability as they're either unplayable due to them being incomplete guitars or someone else's failed projects, OR are playable but needs lots of remedial setup, electrical or cosmetic work.

These two were acquired at same time from the seller. The pics shows them in as purchased condition. The first one is a 60s-70s "Artisan" guitar that I think is an incomplete kit guitar. It's all bare wood and missing lots of parts including the missing brass pickguard (based on the green stained outlines of the missing pickguard). What is interesting is the baseball bat handle round neck. It's easily the biggest fattest neck I've ever felt, but oddly it doesn't feel wrong in my hand! It just feels different. It's going to be interesting to build this one and see how it actually plays.

View attachment 233623

The second one of this set is the 60-70s Kingston Swinga. This one is missing almost everything except for its metal pickguard and shows evidence of at least 3 layers of paint on the body. The front shows signs of either termite or rot damage in the top at the bottom left side of the pickguard. Obviously I won't be able to use transparent finish here. Another thing...the bolt-on neck has been converted into a set neck by it being glued into its neck pocket (...not by me)! The slim neck feels nice, but I see potential in it's swimming pool pup/control cavity. I just hope the neck has been glued in straight, but that's not the end of the world since, like the "Artisan," I'm gonna have to fix the scale length disagreement by relocating the bridge anyway.

View attachment 233624

Next is another incomplete project, a MIJ 70s Memphis Les Paul copy. I've already straightened the crooked neck which is loose in the neck pocket. But I still need to fill the gaps between the neck heel and the sides of the neck pocket.

View attachment 233626

Next is a mild restoration job on a 60-70s MIJ "Concert" Jazzmaster copy.. I'm going to leave the worn finish alone. I'm gonna reuse the original electronics as much as possible (especially those unique pups), replace the broken tuners, trem bridge and arm, and install straplocks.

View attachment 233627

Next is a full restomod job of a 1984 MIJ Electra X2RD Futura by reconverting it from a 1H (neck) back to a full Modern Les Paul HH specs with p/p pots.

View attachment 233628
I love that jazzmaster it is distressed cool... and pointy guitars are the bomb... cant wait to see the "stealthy" pointy guitar restored!
restomod!!! LOL!
 

Lanaka

Squier-holic
Feb 11, 2020
2,253
Honolulu, HI
Those are a lot of projects that you seem to have on the go. Some seem to be in need of a major overhaul. It would be nice if a new favorite guitar emerged from all your work. Here's hoping...

All best.
Mark225
LOL, my #1 Strat title has changed some over the years, and considering how many Strat projects I have in the queue, there's always that possibility! 😆

Even if the current #1 Strat doesn't get deposed, I'll have more uniquely built guitars that will offer something different to the tonal pallette.
 

Lanaka

Squier-holic
Feb 11, 2020
2,253
Honolulu, HI
I love that jazzmaster it is distressed cool... and pointy guitars are the bomb... cant wait to see the "stealthy" pointy guitar restored!
restomod!!! LOL!
LOL, I've already received threats to be skinned alive if I refinish the Jazzmaster copy, that's why I'm leaving it as a natural relic. Plus I actually LIKED how those pups sounded, despite it being somewhat microphonically prone...or perhaps because they ARE microphonic, LOL!

Yup, more I think on it, the more I think I will put in the Whole Lotta Humbuckers OR the Saturday Night Specials in the Futura. Even tho they're bit milder output than something like the Hot Rodded set, they should still be quite versatile and have the 80s voicing.
 


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