[NGD] Santa didn't bring a Gretsch.. but he brought me this!

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by araT, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. araT

    araT Gretschified

    Age:
    35
    Mar 24, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    Well, I got a new guitar for Christmas.. compliments of a very dear friend and serious mentor. Now I FINALLY own an acoustic with a neck I can manage - the neck profile is much like a strat!

    I have to say it's in INCREDIBLE condition for a 34 year old guitar, the action is amazingly low, partially due to the fact that it actually has a truss rod *gasp*, there's no lifting around the bridge on the top, it looks like it's X braced to me but what do I know?

    From what he's told me it was made in 1976 in Japan, by one of the many lawsuit companies of the era, Royal Guitars.. there is absolutely NOTHING on the internet about them, apart from one harmony central review of a 12 string & a listing with a photo of a headstock & label similar to mine, there's no info to be found out there..

    Now I know this is the wrong place & I really should register on a japanophile guitar site & see what they can come up with, but I've got some pretty generic questions so I'm hoping y'all can help me out.. the (i presume fender) model it might be based on? any ideas on woods used? (beyond the obvious - rosewood fingerboard & neck) anything else about it I should know? I'll readily admit I know NOTHING about NOTHING when it comes to acoustics. :)

    Now for mandatory pics!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. araT

    araT Gretschified

    Age:
    35
    Mar 24, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
  3. Pretty early to ask, but how do you like it, Tara?

    Nice gift!

    I have always gravitated toward the odd-ball and obscure. That's what a good left handed guitar is, really. This Royal looks to fit the bill. Looks like a vintage instrument that is in great condition. Do you like its sound?
     
  4. OpenMike1963

    OpenMike1963 Country Gent

    Age:
    56
    Mar 30, 2009
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Looks like mahogany neck, sides and back: solid spruce top, rosewood fingerboard and bridge. All plain and obvious. How do you know it's Japanese? While I'm sure I'd make a similar guess, I can't find a "Made in Japan" sticker in your photos.

    I don't think this is it, but take a look:
    http://www.kevinchilcott-luthier.co.uk/
     
  5. araT

    araT Gretschified

    Age:
    35
    Mar 24, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    I like the oddballs too, and I have to say I'm really loving this one - it's so nice to get my hands on an acoustic with a manageable neck!

    It sounds GREAT, a wonderful warm aged timbre, much better than I was expecting it to sound to be honest - it's everything I've hoped for in an acoustic (but not found) for so long!

    Hey Mike! thanks for all of that, what may be blindingly obvious to you is great info for me to stick in my notes on the guitar, so I really appreciate it!

    My dear friend who gave it to me told me what he knew about it, that it was made in 76-77, in Japan, and was exported to Singapore to be sold (as you can see by the label on the headstock) which, coincidentally, is where I was born.. though nearly a decade later.. sort of cool huh?

    There's no serial number or made in Japan anywhere on the guitar, the only markings are the Swee Lee company label on the back of the headstock, and the label inside the body which simply identifies it as model 101.

    The Japanese origins were confirmed in the Harmony Central review too (same brand, different model - but the only info I could find on it) so I had no reason to doubt it..

    Funny you brought up Kevin Chilcott, I found him on my searches too (and he's mentioned in the above harmony central link, as well), he's definitely not the luthier, his stuff is much nicer, and much more unique - It turns out there have been 2 or 3 different "Royal" guitar brands over the course of the last 50 years or so :)
     
  6. araT

    araT Gretschified

    Age:
    35
    Mar 24, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    I just found the link to the site with listing of guitar makers that has included a pic of a label & headstock that match mine taken from eBay, it may be my guitar (though I can't find the listing) or it may be it's brother..

    Scroll down a little or search the page for "Royal"

    http://www.jedistar.com/jedistar_vintage_guitar_dating_r3.htm

    not much info there at all, but that and the harmony central thing are the the only relevant sources I've managed to find in 2 days of hunting..
     
  7. GreatGretsch

    GreatGretsch Country Gent

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pittsburgh suburbs
    Awesome guitar Tara...Enjoy it!
     
  8. rosemary

    rosemary Synchromatic

    Age:
    35
    550
    Oct 12, 2008
    pasadena
    way to go Tara what a beauty. enjoy girl:)
     
  9. Renegade

    Renegade Country Gent

    Jun 21, 2009
    Seattle
    Congrats Tara;
    Cool guitar and a nice gesture from your friend.:)
     
  10. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Congrats. Looks like a winner.
     
  11. that's a nice guitar, T. the body reminds me a lot of my '72 Framus. I'm agree with OpenMike on the woods that it's made of. Phosphor Bronze Wound Slightly Light Gauge strings will really make it ring. I use strings made by "John Pearse". just a thought. enjoy.
     
  12. Hey, Tara, Royal also made typewriters. Maybe you ought to get a vintage typewriter for percussion purposes?
     
  13. Sarah93003

    Sarah93003 Friend of Fred

    Congratulations Tara. That looks like a beauty! That's great you're getting a chance to experience acoustics.
     
  14. What a wonderful friend and gift! Congratulations and Merry Christmas!
     
  15. araT

    araT Gretschified

    Age:
    35
    Mar 24, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    Thanks all, really appreciate it! :) I'll be sure to let you know if I come up with anything else on my endless quest fore more info!

    The funny thing is that this gift has worked out to be incredibly serendipitous, 2 days after I received it, yesterday, we had a blackout for 14 hours.. It sure came in handy having an acoustic I could play for hours on end to help kill time :D
     
  16. Sarah93003

    Sarah93003 Friend of Fred

    See! There you go, the Gods were smiling on you!
     
  17. araT

    araT Gretschified

    Age:
    35
    Mar 24, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    Yeah, grinning & laughing their asses off maybe! :D it was odd being without power for so long! and without any good rhyme or reason either, I just woke up in the 18th century!
     
  18. kenngordon

    kenngordon Electromatic

    Age:
    65
    33
    Jul 6, 2011
    Boston UK
    you are right with the Framus thin I Own a 1957 Framus Semi it caries both the Framus Badge on the compensated tailpiece and on the body but on the head-stock it carries the SWEELEE logo and some Chinese characters. The SWEELEE guitar company of Singapore has been around since just after WWII. The were the only company in Asia to handle Framus and other western imported Guitars. Many of which ended up in OZland. However quite a few ended up in the UK as servicemen and women stationed in Singapore after the war Bought them and then shipped them back home when posted back to the UK
     
  19. araT

    araT Gretschified

    Age:
    35
    Mar 24, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    Interesting! thanks for the info on Sweelee kenngordon! :D
     
  20. I bought my Framus in 1972 when I was stationed in Germany. I came across another one, a hollowbody, at Willie's American Guitar Store in St. Paul a few months ago. www.williesguitars.com it cost a little more than I wanted to pay at the time.
     
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