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Will Ray's Bottom Feeder: Cozart Serape T-style

Will Ray's Bottom Feeder: Cozart Serape T-style
Impossible to ignore on eBay, this Cozart T-style was scored with a snipe bid for a mere $102 plus $25 shipping. Many serapes cost more.

A cheapo guitar with a Mexican-style blanket covering its body is a conversation starter—and a cool player.

Every now and then, I’ll see a guitar on eBay that makes me do a double take. This is one of them: a Cozart T-style that has a Mexican serape wrapped around the entire body—front, back, and sides. The question that comes to mind is, why? I don’t know, but for some strange reason it appealed to me.

Sure, I might have to vacuum it every now and then and keep a sewing kit handy, but it’s here to stay in my collection.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to bid on it, but when I re-read the description, the seller said it was very lightweight, so I was in. I sniped at the last minute and barely won the auction, as there were 17 other bids. I got it for $102 plus $25 shipping.

Here’s another view of the lightly fuzzy finish on this guitar, which is a real lightweight at just 5 pounds, 12 ounces. And the pickups sound good, too.

I received it less than a week later from an online Cozart dealer. It looked like it had never been played—like it was a dealer’s sample, even though it was sold as used. The whole thing looked like a factory job, too, and not some sloppy homemade hack-job done by some stoned-out hippie. I’m not sure how the fabric is attached. It’s probably professionally glued on.

The guitar begged to be played, so I got it set up pretty quickly, lowering the action, straightening out the neck, adjusting the intonation, etc. I then plugged in and played out on my deck through a small practice amp. Man, was it fun to play this guitar out in nature! The light weight (5 pounds, 12 ounces) gave it a nice resonance, in spite of all the fabric covering the body. It had a soft feel against my frame, and my right arm was comfortable lying across the guitar’s body while I played it.

As our columnist explains, this guitar was made to keep him in stitches—requiring an occasional repair with a sewing kit when the “binding” starts to unravel. But what a cool, raw look for a stage axe!

I’ve become something of a connoisseur of Cozart guitars. These single-coil pickups are probably above average for this brand, with a bit more heft and midrange than other Cozarts I’ve played. The neck pickup is particularly nice, because it is closer to a Strat’s brighter sound, which I prefer, rather than the typical darker Tele neck pickups. The bridge pickup has that usual Tele twang with plenty of sizzle and high end, but it can also be tamed down with the tone control. Listen to my MP3 online to hear it yourself.

Bottom Feeder Tip No. 239: Sometimes you have to follow your gut on a guitar. You can weigh pros and cons all day long, but at the end of the day your gut should have the final say. So, is it a keeper? Judging from the reactions I get from everyone who sees it, I’d have to say yes. It’s a real hit with other guitar players who have to pick it up and play it to make sure it’s a real guitar. And it’s a nice conversation piece for those who aren’t players. Sure, I might have to vacuum it every now and then and keep a sewing kit handy, but it’s here to stay in my collection.