The Guitar Collection

The Guitar Collection of Guy Mackenzie


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Grimshaw Guitar history

Date: 2nd October 2013
Name: Eric
Number: 249

Two Grimshaw Guitars from the 1970s and 80s

Hi Guy,

Good to hear from you again. The Hohner Holborn you have just added is very similar in body shape to a Grimshaw Meteor dont you think?

I have emailed Paul Day about the Giles pickups but have not, as yet, had a reply.

In answer to your question re first electric Grimshaw, you will be surprised to learn that it was 1937 that they first listed an electric guitar which could be played through a special amplifier or a radio (according to the catalogue). This guitar was made from parts imported from Rickenbaker in USA, although some parts were made in UK (including the amplifier in the case). The first Grimshaw electric guitar was 1948 this was an archtop (called a Plectric) which was modified to take a pickup in the neck and switches and controls attached to the scratchplate (Grimshaw applied for a patent for both in 1948 and was granted in 1954, which means it only ran out in 2004). This system they used a lot until 1960. The first purpose made electric was the semi acoustic SS Deluxe in 1957. Hope that helps.

I just love these later solid body Grimshaws from mid 70s to mid 80s, they are really unusual and are still very capable guitars today. See the photo (to the right) of two Grimshaws which date from 1978 and 1980, both bought new and the owner still gigs with them in his blues band in Northampton. I have heard them and they are a great blues band and the guitars sound as good as any yankie guitar!! They really would make anything you wanted as they were desparate for any work by 1980, even advertising refrets.

Look forward to hearing from you again soon.


Guy's Response:

Hi Eric,

Thank you so much for the information on Grimshaw electrics. That of course confirms that Grimshaw built the UK’s first commercially made semi accoustic electric guitars in 1957. And of course Supersound in 1958 built the UK’s first commercially built solid electric guitars in summer 1958.

Thank for sending on the pictures of two late Grimshaw solid body guitars – they look fantastic and its great to know that they are still being gigged!

Re; the Giles pick-ups we can’t help at all on these but hopefully someone reading this may. Or if you find out anything, please do let us know.

Very best wishes to you and your family,

Dallas Tuxedo bass

Date: 18th September 2013
Name: A
Number: 248


I thought you might be interested to see pictures of my Dallas Tuxedo bass which dates from probably late 1959.

Best wishes,

Hayman 4040 bass

Date: 18th September 2013
Name: Doss
Number: 247

Hi Guy

I’ve been told you’re the man in the know. I’ve had in my small guitar collection a bass that’s been with me since my punk days and served me well. I swapped it for a packet of fags and a fiver in 1977.

As you can see it has seen better days could you tell me if its worth bringing back to its former glory or is it worthless. I would appreciate any info you may have.

Regards Doss

Guy's Response:

Hi Doss,

Thanks for forwarding on the pictures of your Hayman bass. It certainly isn’t worthless even as it is and, if you are able to do it, it will be well worth bringing back to its former glory.

Please do let me know how you get on.

Best regards,

Dallas Arbiter 12-string

Date: 18th September 2013
Name: Hugh
Number: 246

Hi, Guy from the guitar collection org …

I noticed someone called Julie inquiring about Dallas Arbiter 12-string acoustics. For many years in the seventies I played almost exclusively on one of these wonderfully robust yet LOUD instruments. It features on several of my earlier recordings, especially on the vinyl album “Largo” from 1979. There are a couple of tracks taken from it out there on you tube that I ran into recently, which give a good idea of the sound. Here’s what I wrote recently about it, in context, from a section of an article to be published soonish:

“… My very first guitar, after the one I had borrowed, was an Eko. This Italian brand was famous for making rugged instruments with rigid, easily fingered, electric-style necks. But they were equally famous for building so rugged that the guitars absorbed most of their own tone, so my big instrument produced a thin sound that didn’t get much fatter even when I hit it really hard … just louder and more jangly.

However, the feel of the neck did influence me to play in a more electric style than most other acoustic guitarists who were all a bit folky at the time and I wasn’t scared of having it damaged while playing in the subways. Fortunately, Paul and I were lucky to have the use of a nice pair of matched Yamahas for our recording sessions (and many gigs too), otherwise I’d never have made the grade in the studio.

Then, soon after moving to Germany, and just in time to save me from tonal meltdown I found my first satisfying instrument: a Dallas Arbiter 12-string. This was a surprise offering for a firm that was known for building sound equipment. The Arbiter range of guitars never caught on, but I loved mine. It had a big, gutsy sound, despite (or maybe because of) being lightly built out of spruce veneered cedar-ply. It became my trademark sound: big, airy cathedrals of piled-up chords, as can be heard on “Saints”, “Streetcar Magic”, “Peace on Earth”, “Thursday at Eleven” or “Carry on the song”. Unfortunately I could not find anyone to re-fret it for me quickly enough (it was my only 12 and I had a lot of gigs at the time) so I was obliged to sell it. I’d been through a similar experience with my first electric – an early sunburst Fender Jaguar that collectors would kill for these days – and although I’d vowed never to part from a favourite again … here I was, constrained to do so. It hurt me.”

I hope this information is useful. My guitar was sold and resold, but the owners have contacted me in the last few years, so it should be traceable. A fan also found one in a flea market (a cheaper model, I think, from the bridge design) and gave it to me, it needs some restoration work. I haven’t got around to that yet, so I don’t know how it sounds.

Kind regards,

Guy's Response:


Thank you for your interesting email and with your permission I’d like to include it in my guestbook.

Yes Julie was trying very hard to find out about Dallas 12 strings and I know she will be interested to read what you’ve written.

Best wishes and thanks for your very interesting message,

Rare Grimshaw

Date: 18th September 2013
Name: Eric
Number: 245

Hi Guy,

Hope you are well? I know you like odd ball guitars so I am letting you know about my latest find which is a very rare (even by Grimshaw standards) GSC.

It has had two owners since new in 1978 and has its original case. I only know of two others like it, one is in Belgium and the other in Latvia. I have asked Paul Day if he can help with the pickups fitted to this model, they are proffessionaly made items by “Giles”. Both the other two GSCs have the same pickup so they are the original fitment. Do you know anything about Giles pickups?

Look forward to hearing from you again soon.


Guy's Response:

Hi Eric,

Thanks for letting me know. You seem to be making a habit of finding rare and almost unknown Grimshaw guitars!

I must admit that I know nothing about Giles pick-ups but hopefully Paul may be able to help and I’ll look forward to hearing from either him or you.

All the best,

Vox Clubman Bass 1961 vintage

Date: 18th September 2013
Name: Ian
Number: 244

Vox Clubman Bass

Hi Guy,

I thought you might be interested in seeing a picture of my original single pick-up 1961 Vox Clubman Bass with original tape wound strings all in brilliant playable condition and complete with original gig bag?

This is an etremely rare and collectable instrument and was almost certainly a very limited production run.


Teisco Heit Deluxe 2PL guitar you might be interested in

Date: 18th September 2013
Name: Jay
Number: 243

Teisco Heit Deluxe 2PL

Hi Guy,

I noticed you have a vast collection of guitars on your website. I am selling a Heit Deluxe 2PL guitar on ebay right now.

Check it out!

Best wishes.

Teisco Heit Deluxe 2PL on Ebay (note auction has ended!).

Guy's Response:

Thanks for letting me know. I’d like to bid but I’m in the UK however I’ll be interested to see how much it sells for.

Note: The guitar sold for $977!

Can you clear something up for me…?

Date: 18th September 2013
Name: Paul
Number: 242

Hi Guy,

Were there two Birch Super Yobs (the Dave Hill of Slade guitar) made?

I know someone who worked there from 75-77 and he tells me that a duplicate silver one built.

How many Framus copies are you aware of? About 7 years ago there was a new orange copy always on Ebay (new). I wish I had bought one then. Do you own Gerry Springate’s (of the Glitterband) Star Guitar?


Guy's Response:

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your message.

As far as we know only one Super Yob was made by John Birch although work may have started on another one which was to be named the Super Gob for Noddy Holder – but this has never surfaced.

It was originally finished in black but, because this colour didn’t show up well, it was refunished in silver.

There was one Framus copy made by Framus and presented to Dave Hill and it was Framus who made the Flame guitars for the Film “Slade in Flame” (although they were never working instruments).

Re; Gerry Springate’s star guitar I personally had some correspondence with the band management a few years ago and, if I remember correctly, being told that it is currently in retirement and is not for sale!

I hope this answers your queries and, if you do find out anything about the Super Gob ,please do let me know.

All the best,

Guitar of unknown origin

Date: 21st July 2013
Name: Jeff
Number: 241

Akron Electric Guitar


I have shown these pictures to the most knowledgeable people I know to no avail. I thought perhaps you might be familiar. I’ve decided it might not be U.S. made even though it has Akron Ohio stamped in ink.

I have also forwarded the pictures to Geoff Gruhn here in the United States who tells me that he can’t determine what it is – so any help you can give me with an identification will be appreciated.

It has Clarostat pots in it.

Headstock of Akron Electric Guitar


Guy's Response:

Hi Jeff,

Sorry its taken so long to get back to you but Paul Day and I are now certain of the following:

It’s definitely a Carvin neck with Carvin parts. The body and scratchplate are custom made – surely by the maker in Akron – and it dates from the late 50s – early 60s and we can confim this as we have Carvin catalogues from that period which also confirm that the parts are supplied by Carvin too.

It’s certainly an interesting and very rare guitar – possibly a one-off or made by a small maker in Akron. Where would anyone find another??

Best wishes,

Vintage Guitar

Date: 21st July 2013
Name: Mike
Number: 240

Norma Electric Guitar


I have this guitar from my Aunt with no markings except AKB136 on a plate on the back. I found a picture online that appears to be an exact match.

The picture shows a Norma name on the guitar yet the label for the picture says Guyatone. Could you help me identify this guitar for my Aunt?

Headstock of Norma Electric Guitar

Thank You

Guy's Response:


Thank you for your message.

Your guitar was made in Japan in the late 1960s and was imported into the US by Importers/Distributors Strum ‘n’ Drum of Chicago and it is a Norma.

When I purchased my example the research I carried out indicated that the manufacturers were Tombo of Japan (a small maker) however the importers did market guitars manufactured by Guyatone so it could have been built by Guyatone. In fact this model of guitar could have been built by 2 different manufacturers depending on demand and capacity at the time.

Guitars built by Guyatone were sometimes sold as Guyatone and sometimes by the importers brand names. For example in the UK the Guyatone LG 50 was marketed under the Guyatone, Star and Antoria brand names.

I hope this is of help,

Best wishes,

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