japan made

The Teisco SD4L is designed with a thick metal plate that attaches the pickups to the body.

In light of our columnist’s hero’s passing, this month’s guitar is an unconventional Teisco model built with plywood and formica.

This month’s column was a little somber for me, because I learned about the passing of one of the most amazing people I’ve ever encountered. Here I sat, watching an actual snowstorm (which is rare these days), and writing about an obscure German guitar, when I got a message from an expat in Japan who learned about the passing of a true legend: Yukichi Iwase. He was one of the early innovators of Japanese instrument making. I’ve written about him a few times before because of his Voice Guitars company and his contribution to the early days of Teisco (he was among the original employees).

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It sure looks like a banjo, but this vintage Kawai-made instrument is definitely a guitar!

I’ve been hunkered down in the basement with my dogs while my family is upstairs blowing their noses. I’m the only uninfected person in the house. Last night, while I was trying to stay germ-free, I was digging on Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2021 film, Licorice Pizza. Set in 1973 in California, the soundtrack features a great assortment of songs I’d never heard before and some classics. One song that was playing in my head for the rest of the night after I watched the movie was “Let Me Roll It” by Paul McCartney and Wings. That song reminded me of the guitar education I got from my buddy Mike Dugan, who has been playing guitar since before the Beatles played in the U.S.

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If you’re looking for a masterfully built T-style with some unique quirks, the H.S. Andersen Mad Cat is a straight-up killer guitar.

In addition to his sheer musical genius, Prince has always had an eye for style. And as any experienced axe-spotter knows, it didn’t stop with the Purple Dandy’s amazing suits. His Dave Husain-built cloud guitar and Jerry Auerswald-built symbol guitars became some of Prince’s most identifiable style trademarks. But though those larger-than-life guitars were among the flashiest of his accoutrements, Prince will probably always be most associated with his comparatively pedestrian H.S. Anderson-designed Hohner T-style that he used on albums like Purple Rain, 1999, and Musicology.

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