Meet the Custom Kraft Beat Blaster, Agitator, Bone Buzzer, and Groover!
The other day I was thinking about how shopping has changed over the years. I was raised during a time when there were still corner general stores hawking penny candy, and when Sears catalogs were still mailed to families offering myriad products from fireplace inserts to swimming pools. Catalog shopping offered different outlets for different urges, but for guitarists catalogs really raised the game when it came to sensationalism and visual dynamite.
One of the best examples of catalog hype comes from the Custom Kraft brand. The name was used by the St. Louis Music Supply company, which would slap the Custom Kraft name on all sorts of electric guitars that were made primarily by Valco and Guyatone. I found a 1969 catalog in a large box of paper from a shuttered music store, which included all sorts of fragile artifacts like manuals, other catalogs, and advertisements. And in that catalog I came across a photo of the Custom Kraft Beat Blaster. Yes, with a name reminiscent of ’80s boom boxes, the Beat Blaster was the guitar to own. Tricked out with a large pickguard, shapely headstock badge, and a pair of humbucker-looking pickups, the Beat Blaster was certainly ready to rattle some heads back in the day.
The following is the Beat Blaster copy from the catalog: All that a professional guitar player could ask for. Two extended magnetic field pickups with individual pole adjustments. New super slim neck with adjustable rod. Rosewood fingerboard. Special black nylon flat tape wound electric strings for whisper quiet, nimble fingering.
I’d be short-changing you if I didn’t mention the other Custom Kraft solidbody guitars, like the 22"-scale Groover and the full-scale Agitator, both of which sported a single pickup. The names of these Custom Kraft guitars sound as if they could have been used by a high school counselor when speaking to a parent. “Do you feel your child is a chilled-out groover, or is Junior more of an agitator? Now if you choose beat blaster, then we have to recommend further intervention.”
If you were interested in hollowbody guitars complete with lightning bolt f-holes, then you’d be looking at the Super Zapp and the Sound Saturator (12-string), or the Bone Buzzer for the bassist in your family. And yes, even their amps had suggestive names, like the Fireball Special, the Vulca-Throb, the Dyna-Blast, and the Quake Maker, for a truly earth-moving experience.
Although these guitars were all touted as being “Made in the USA,” Valco was in their death throes at the time and was importing bodies, necks, and tremolo systems from the Matsumoku factory in Japan. The electronics were still all Valco-made, but the wiring was a real rat’s nest of tone-sucking caps and resistors. (Valco called their pre-set tone switches “tone-shading.”)
On first listen, the entire Custom Kraft line-up can really leave one unimpressed. But, as with most ill-planned guitars, a little rewiring or a little tweaking can bring out the true nature of the Valco pickups. When they’re straight, they’re great! They have a really nice sound and I’ve always been a big fan of these units. It should be said that Valco pickups only look like humbuckers from the outside. Underneath the cover they are single-coils, with the magnets laying side-by-side with the coil rather than underneath.
I always get a little tickle when I come across the word “craft” spelled with a “K.” Like Kustom amps, Old Kraftsman guitars, and these Custom Kraft guitars … it’s as if the “K” meant business!
It seems that if you were in the business of selling guitars back in the day, then you really needed a good catalog designer and some far-out guitars with extreme names. Do guitar companies even make catalogs anymore? I don’t know, but I do miss paper!
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.