Fernandez Strat Copy

Short post because there isn’t much to say about this generic Strat copy.

This is just a generic project guitar. I picked it up cheap because it was broken. The bridge was screwed up, the pickguard was broke and the electronics were shot. I don’t even remember if it had any pickups.

Fernandez_HeadIt’s what I think is a Fernandez Strat copy. Somebody sanded off most of the logo. Only the F remains. But it has the F and the headstock shape LOOKS like a Fernandez, so that’s what I’m gonna call it.

Fernandex_BodyI put on a loaded pickguard from somewhere. Well, I know where. I’m just getting sick of saying “Guitar Fetish” over and over. I bought it from… Bob Fetish. It works. Nothing to complain about, but nothing inspirational either. Sounds like any decent budget priced guitar. Utterly lacking in character.

Fernande_Happy_BridgeThis is a Fender Mexican bridge off a busted Squier Jag-Master. The advantage of smashing a guitar out of frustration – free parts! You can also see the grain of the wood peeking through the transparent red finish if you embiggen.

Fernandez_BackA picture of the back side!

I don’t like how this guitar plays. It’s set up well and all, but the fretboard is too flat. It has a bevy of usable sounds, like a decent quality budget Strat copy. OK if you wanna play covers.


Condition: 9/10

– Cosmetics: 9/10 Looks good

– Working order: 10/10 Everything works

Playability: 7/10

– Rhythm Playabiliy: 6/10 Flat fretboard!

– Lead Playability: 8/10 Flat fretboard!

Sound: 6/10

– Bridge: 7/10 Solid, dependable, and boring

– Middle: 6/10 Ceramic, but not too trebly

– Neck: 6/10 Ditto the middle

Uninspiring. On my short list for resale.

1984 (?) Electra Phoenix


This Electra Phoenix was my first real electric guitar. Well, the others were real in a technical sense. It wasn’t like my Synsonics Terminator was an ‘air guitar’. But that guitar was just a toy. Nobody takes a guitar with a built-in speaker seriously – not even me.

I believe I got this for my fifteenth birthday. That would have been 1991. Or maybe my sixteenth. My mom bought it and a solid state Marshall practice amp at a yard sale for $60.

This Electra Phoenix obviously looks a lot like my Westone Concord SX. Same body shape, same headstock, same wood type (maple), same tiny position markers. This was one of the last Electra models imported by Saint Louis Music before they switched to Matsumoku’s Westone brand. That makes it an early1984 model, or possibly late 1983. I could check the serial number but I don’t care.

It plays like my other Matsumoku guitars – low action, comfortable neck, but the frets are too small for shreddin’ and headbangin’. Fortunately I specialize in Johnny Ramone slash-and-burn bar chords. This isn’t meant to be a Super-Strat anyway.


The tremolo is a heavy brass unit I bought somewhere. I think Campbell’s Music? I don’t like it. I’ll put the original bridge back on if I find it. The bridge pickup was lame, so I replaced it with the bridge pickup from the Synsonics Terminator. Shockingly, it sounds pretty good. I usually play it in conjunction with the middle pickup. It has a great hollow, gutteral midrange bark that no other guitar I’ve ever owned has. Sort of like a really mellow wha-wha pedal pressed halfway down. Too bad it feedbacks easily, either pickup sucks on its own, and the neck pickup also sucks. Shrill!

Electra_Phoenix_headstock Electra_Phoenix_Chip_1

This guitar is chipped all to Hell. Teenagers shouldn’t be allowed to own things. The burn on the headstock was because I put a cigarette there the first time I played a show. I’ve never smoked – not even tobacco! I just thought it would look dumb if I had a cigarette there and didn’t take a drag from it. Boy was I right. People just didn’t get ‘meta’ humor back then.

As I am fond of saying, this guitar is a one-trick pony. Aren’t all my guitars? Well, the American Standard Strat isn’t. I can’t get a bad sound out of that guitar! But this one only has that one great hollow sound that I can’t duplicate with my other guitars, so I’ve kept it. Plus, it’s a sentimental thing. Sort of like the way some guys stay married to their first wife. Divorce already!


Condition: 6/10

– Cosmetics: 4/10 (lots of chips and dings, probably needs professional repair)

– Working order: 9/10 (no major gremlins)

Playability: 8/10

– Rhythm Playabiliy: 10/10

– Lead Playability: 6/10 (small frets, typical Matsumoku)

Sound: 6/10

– Bridge: 1/10 (shrill, feedback)

– Bridge+Middle: 9/10 (awesome hollow midrangey sound)

– Middle: 2/10 (shrill)

– Neck: 2/10 (shrill)

Nice studio guitar. A face for radio, as the saying goes.

Late 1960s Teisco ET-460

Teisco was founded blah blah blah steal the info from Wikipedia like last time


This Teisco is branded Silvertone, which was the Sears house brand. I bought this can opener beauty in the early ’90s from Guitars on George, back when it was called We Buy Guitars. Yes, the guy who sold Live all those goofy clothes they wore on SNL back in the day. But don’t hold that against him! I paid roughly $80 for it. It was in marginally better condition, then.


The guitar was originally blue, but it has aged to a wonderful teal. Probably some combination of lacquer yellowing and bar smoke. It has dot fret markers, rather than the square edge markers seen on some others.

Somebody offered me $600 for this guitar once, and I turned him down. We were both idiots!

I played this axe as my main “surf” guitar. This may be a later Teisco – if so it lacks the super-hot Moserite inspired pickups, but it gets the job done. A little squealy under high distortion, but who plays surf music through a fuzz box? (Just me? Thought so.)

The thin, quirky tones are about what you’d expect if you’ve ever played an old Japanese guitar. There’s a certain rawness about it that you just can’t get from some boring guitar like a Strat. Then again, anyone who would willingly choose this as their main axe over a decent Strat or Les Paul copy is delusional. I love this guitar’s triumph of style over substance, but I don’t think I’ll be selling the Strat anytime soon.

This Teisco has all the signs of “ex-lover” neglect. I played the hell out of this thing for years, then got bored with it and set it aside as a dust collection device. Don’t scroll if you hate grunge!

Silvertone grime


Two of the odd hex-shaped slotted pickup screws are missing, there is major dirt and grime everywhere, the switches have gone from barely-functional to non-functional, the chrome is flaking off the whammy bar, ugh. I love it too much to part with, but not enough to ever play it, so it never gets cleaned. I smell a restoration project!

Silvertone headstock


The guitar has a “zero fret”. A lot of older cheap guitars came with zero frets because it relieves the manufacturer of the responsibility of learning how to properly manufacture a nut. However, the zero fret is not evil. Generally, the action is a bit lower with a zero-fret guitar, and open strings sound pretty much like fretted strings, giving the guitar a more “balanced” string to string response when playing open chords. A few high-end guitars come with zero frets for those reasons.

The neck is very flat. I hate flat fretboards. They just don’t agree with my hands. The frets are also loose and worn. That, and the failing electronics, are the reasons this guitar got set aside. Well, that plus the fact that I bought a 1963 Fender Jaguar 😛


The tuners are not original. In fact, this is just a 3 on 3 set that somebody “repurposed” as a 4 on 2 set! I used to see these tuners all the time for around $10 a set. Worthless. It’s a wonder this guitar stays in tune at all.


There is a big chip beside the neck. You can also see how poor the neck joint is on this guitar. The neck will shift if you press on it, no matter how tight the screws are. I have no-name Chinese guitars that are better made than this.


Here’s a good shot of all the knobs and switches. The 4 switches under the pickups aren’t phase switches, they are just on/off switches. The big chrome switch on the bottom right is a bright switch. It has one volume and one tone. The tone is wired backwards. It has a roller bridge, but it still doesn’t stay in tune. See above about the tuners.

Playing this guitar is odd. The balance is way off. You have to use your left hand to hold up the neck to keep it from hitting the floor. I find myself hitting the pickup switches during songs, and the knobs are obscured by the whammy bar. Not exactly ergonomically designed, and that’s most of the charm!


Condition: 4/10

– Cosmetics: 6/10 Major dings, missing pieces

– Working order: 2/10 Electronics, needs a fret job

Playability: 5/10 Fretboard too flat, poorly balanced

Sound: 6/10 A real one-trick pony. Thin, raw, and quirky

Restoring this guitar has been on my ‘to-do’ list for about 10 years. I doubt I’ll get to it anytime soon.


Drowning in Guitars: ET-460

Teisco Twanger’s Paradise

Wikipedia on Teisco

Guitars on George

1984 Westone Concord SX

Up first is a 1984 Westone Concord SX in blue. Everything is blue, even the fretboard. Apparently, this particular model was only made for 1984. I believe blue is the most common color. It was also available in red, and possibly black. It’s sort of a “Super Strat meets Gibson SG” thing. It evolved into the Spectrum series.


Matsumoku Industrial was a Japanese woodworking company established in 1951. They began making guitars in the mid 1960s to diversify. At first, “Uncle Mat” made guitars as a subcontractor for various companies like Epiphone, Univox, Aria, and Electra. Then the Westone brand name was started around 1979 to sell directly to the public. In the early 1980s, St. Louis Music decided to discontinue their Electra brand in favor of the Westone name. Apparently Matsumoku were making most if not all of their Electra models by this point.

Matsumoku went belly-up in 1987 when their parent company, the Singer Corporation, faced a downturn in sales because people suddenly realized that it was the 1980s and you didn’t have to make your own clothes anymore. Apparently the potato sack dress went out of fashion? Plus, most of Matsumoku’s major guitar customers had started their long “screw quality” march and moved their overseas production to Korea.

I picked this guitar up on Ebay for $350. I had my eye on it for over a month before deciding to take the plunge. It seemed awfully expensive for a no-name guitar in mediocre condition. Then, when I went to buy it, I saw a similar model in red for less than half the price. Then I bought both because I have a credit card!

This particular model is missing the volume control pot. A previous owner has helpfully put a small pen cap or something in the original hole to plug it – how thoughtful! The first tone control has been rewired as the volume control, and the second pot doesn’t always work. The original knobs are long gone and the 5 way switch is finicky.

Overall, the guitar sounds… nice. Not thrilling, but nice. This guitar allegedly has the UBC – UnBalanced Coil humbucker. Maybe someday I’ll measure it to find out if it actually is or not. Right now, I’m surprisingly happy with that pickup. Most humbuckers sound lifeless to me, but this one is punchy, with lots of definition. You can actually hear the different strings! Too bad the single coils are hopeless. And oddly shaped too – good luck getting decent replacements! Lace Sensors are the only ones I like that will fit with no routing, but they don’t even look close to stock. I’d rate the bridge pickup around 8/10, and the shrill single coils around 2/10.


This is the Bendmaster FT locking trem. The string’s ball-ends simply slip into place from the top – nice. I don’t have the arm for it, so I have no idea how well it works. At least it stays in tune during my heavy-handed pummeling.


The neck is completely blue, just like the body. It feels fantastic. Very similar to a quality Fender. The neck is properly wide, but not very deep, like an 80’s Ibanez, or a Warmoth “Wizard” profile. But it feels like it has a more Fender-style radius. I haven’t measured it, but I’d guess it’s around 9 or 10 inches.

Mine only has a single white dot position marker, which appears to be a vinyl sticker. I guess the others peeled off. What’s left are small black dots, like the other Matsumoku guitars from the period.

The frets are very small. Hammer-ons and pull-offs can be tricky, limiting this guitars usefulness to shredders. That’s an odd design choice, given this guitar’s “Super Strat” leanings. I don’t mind – I’m all about bar cords. For me, I’d rate the playability 10/10 for rhythm, but only 6/10 for lead.


The locking nut is missing. Well, it was not a proper locking nut – it was simply a string lock that mounted behind the nut. The tuners have been replaced with non-locking Sperzels. There’s no string tree, but the high strings don’t seem to be popping out.


Condition: 7/10

– Cosmetics: 8/10 (nothing visible to the audience)

– Working order: 6/10 (electronics problems)

Playability: 8/10

– Rhythm Playabiliy: 10/10

– Lead Playability: 6/10 (small frets)

Sound: 6/10

– Bridge: 8/10 (great sound, but a little weak)

– Middle: 2/10 (shrill)

– Neck: 2/10 (shrill)

With a little work, this will be an excellent axe.