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1967 Univox 'Mystery' 12-String

Japan was famous for two things in the 1960s: Godzilla movies and crazy-shaped guitars. The object of our attention today is a 1967 Univox "Mystery" 12-string. A prime example of the mutant guitars that came from the Matsumoka guitar factory of the day, the guitar has an extreme body shape, like something from a sci-fi movie. Ash was the typical wood used for the bodies of Matsumoka guitars and maple for the neck. The rosewood fingerboard is topped with 21 frets and has "left justified" pearl-dot position markers. The elongated, assymetrical headstock is not angled, which necessitates a retainer bar just above the nut to act as a string guide and provide proper downbearing angle onto the nut. Tuners are the six-to-a-plate, worm-gear variety that are fairly reliable, but they can deteriorate with age.  The electronics include two pickups, neck and bridge, a three-way selector switch, and controls for volume and tone. The pickups remind me of the ones you'd find i

1967 Gibson Trini Lopez

Trini Lopez was a popular singer in the Sixties, known mainly for his pop cover of “If I Had a Hammer” and “Lemon Tree.” He had two signature model Gibson guitars built for him that had some unusual features. Check out the double Florentine cutaways on this full-body archtop. This is a full hollow body, not semi-hollow. The neck inlays are unique for Gibson and get a load of that headstock. Today, we tend to see that as a Strat-like design, but it’s known that the six-on-a-side headstock design originated with the Bigsby Merle Travis guitar in the 1940s. Still, it’s unusual on a Gibson. These models are pretty rare today  and their price reflects it. The model currently on eBay is in the $8400 range. If you like this design, and you’re on a budget, you can search around and maybe find a Ventura copy of it. I had the chance to play the Ventura that a friend inherited from his father many years ago. It was an extraordinary fine guitar with very elegant features including a multi-ply lami