Decca Records' short-lived experiment as a guitar company produced this hard-to-play feedback machine.
I'm getting old. Yeah, I know what you're thinking: "We're all growing old!" But man, I've been feeling it lately thanks to technology and the speed at which it progresses. I was thinking about this the other day after a puzzling talk with my daughter. She was wondering why I had certain songs available on my phone and she didn't. I explained how some songs I'd bought online and some I ripped from CDs. "What do you mean ripped?" she asked. Like, pulling tunes from CDs and putting them onto a computer isn't ancient technology, right? But there I was, contemplating the simpler times of record stores with rows of vinyl and stacks of CDs. That's when I figured I was really getting old, because of my pining for those days and my general aggressive distaste for the new way of doing things.
As I thought about digital music and streaming, I went way back to my childhood and remembered my parents having wonderfully clunky 8-track cassettes of Creedence Clearwater Revival and rather informative LP jackets for Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, and even the Grease soundtrack. With these tangible nuggets, I was learning to read lyrics and discovering all sorts of trivia, which has served me well to this day. Now, as I'm closing in on 50, I think about my parents' generation and how the music experience was something altogether different. When I was a teenager, it was a blast to find Nirvana bootleg CDs or obscure 7-inch punk platters. But for my parents, record stores were a bit more immersive, since you could also buy audio gear and electric guitars in them. Yes, right there alongside listening booths and cabinet speakers were guitars and amps!
This guitar is like Chet Atkins on acid, with the RPMs all sped up!
For a little while in the 1960s and '70s, American Decca sourced some of the cheapest guitars to ever land on U.S. soil. These guitars were made by smaller Japanese factories, carried the Decca brand name, and almost all retailed for under $100. The model names were kind of blah. Every guitar started with DMI and then a sequence of numbers. Hollowbody guitars were DMI 500 (one pickup), DMI 501 (two pickups), and DMI 502 (three pickups).
Decca Records was a company with physical store locations that also dabbled in other interesting endeavors with their entertainment division. This is where the company sold not only phonographs but guitars, amps, drums, bongos, organs, and a full line of musical accessories. It was a genius marketing strategy, even though I'm not so sure it was financially successful.
For a short time in the '60s and '70s, Decca-branded guitars were available through Decca retail stores.
Take a look at this 1967 DMI 502. At $99.95, this guitar was Decca's most expensive 6-string. (At this writing, Reverb had one listed at $375.) I could just imagine some crazy kid taking this guitar home and making insane banshee noises throughout the house. This guitar is reminiscent of the Harmony Rocket, since it's a shallow-bodied hollow with three pickups and a tremolo. The switching is rather standard, with three on/off pickup sliders and a volume and tone knob. But the magic is in the super-thin wood used for the construction. This guitar simply resonates like none other, and with the super-hot pickups it's quite literally a feedback machine. My goodness, these are guitars you fight, and, for the novice, I can't imagine the struggle. With high action, small frets, and barely able to hold in-tune, these old Decca guitars needed some serious work to get them close to playable.
I suppose in my "old age" I've learned to appreciate all sorts of guitars and basically accept the good and the bad. This guitar is like Chet Atkins on acid, with the RPMs all sped up! If you want a guitar with pseudo built-in distortion and echo (thanks to the microphonic pickups and thin wood construction), then this is the one for you. I could totally see this being a great guitar for some psychobilly band that's all revved up and out for blood. Then again, I suppose the youth of the 1960s had a different idea if they were buying a big ol' hollowbody guitar.
- Wizard of Odd: Le Mystère des Guitares Bulgares - Premier Guitar ›
- Wizard of Odd: My Favorite Vintage Japanese Guitar - Premier Guitar ›
- Wizard of Odd: Late-'60s TeleStar Doubleneck - Premier Guitar ›
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.
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
Mojotone will manufacture and market over 60 of their speaker cabinets and amp kits as “Licensed by Fender.”
This partnership marks Fender's recognition of Mojotone’s dedication to its craft, quality of products, and dependability of knowledge. Beginning November 29th and ranging from $327 - $1,016.
Amplifiers were among the first products to wear the official Fender seal. A qualified electronics technician by trade, Leo Fender developed his iconic amplifiers during the mid-1940s putting innovation at the forefront. To this day, Leo’s influence and innovative spirit can still be heard in today’s amps, as that same iconic, clean Fender tone continues to color new music around the world. As a result, the process for completing the exclusive licensing deal required Fender to carefully audit Mojotone’s amplifier kits, wiring diagrams, electronics, hardware, construction methods, and more to ensure this innovation carried on through the partnership. Mojotone’s many years of intense research, quality production, and favorable reputation solidified the deal.
Mojotone has always been determined to provide its customer base with the most sought-after parts with their insider industry-knowledge. They have spent the last 25 years helping musicians recreate what they deem to be the most famous and easily-recognized tones and aesthetics in the music industry. When purchasing Mojotone products, like Fender products, customers can be assured of unmatched quality and craftsmanship.
For more information, please visit mojotone.com.