Welcome to JunkGuitars.com!
So, you've been surfing the vast void of cyberspace and stumbled across my little web page… Well, my name is Big Beat and this site is a tribute to guitars that get no respect. JunkGuitars.com is all about JUNK GUITARS! It is dedicated to all those cheapo, off-brand, low-end, cheesy vintage guitars that people call junk, whether unjustly or rightly so. Some of these guitars really are utterly worthless trash, so horribly bad that they become kinda cool in a perverse way. Others may be perceived as junk and ignored by mainstream collectors, but do have a cult following. Either way, this page is a fun look at the dark side of vintage guitar collecting.
Feeling nostalgic for your first guitar, that barely playable piece of string cheese with squealing microphonic pickups and action that could have been measured in inches? Desperately trying to find some information about that bizarre obscurity you found at the flea market? Had enough of vintage guitar "investors" rehashing the same ten models over and over? Prefer to stray off the beaten path to enjoy the unique and the different? Great! Stay a while, read the stories, look at the pictures. Cheap, trashy, cheesy guitars rule!
I was 14 when I bought my first guitar. It was an ancient Silvertone archtop that I found at a yard sale for ten bucks. It played like a five-dollar guitar. And so, before I could learn how to play it, I had to learn how to repair it. I've been playing and repairing old guitars ever since. Somewhere along the line, my interest in old guitars developed into a full-time hobby. Over the past 20 years, I restored hundreds of guitars and passed them on to new owners. Some of the guitars that went through my hands have found new homes as far away as Tokyo, London and Moscow. From Brooklyn to Seattle to the deepest Siberia, somebody is playing an old guitar that I have once rescued from abuse and neglect and given a new lease on life to. There's nothing like the feeling of pride in taking dirty, broken-down, unwanted old junk and turning it into something useful, cool, desirable and beautiful.
While not as valuable or as playable as "serious" instruments, junky old guitars really are a lot of fun. But these guitars rarely get any respect. There's plenty of info available online and in print about vintage Gibsons and Fenders, but precious little about old Kingstons and Sekovas, while Eastern European instruments such as the Czechoslovakian Jolana and the Soviet Ural are a total mystery to most people. Since I find the history and origins of these instruments fascinating in itself, I have decided to do something about it. My quest for information has long ago turned me into a junk guitar historian, and being a journalist, of course I also began to write about guitars. This site includes my STORIES (some of which have been published in Vintage Guitar Magazine) and PICTURES of various offbeat guitars that have passed through my hands over the years. Plus a discussion FORUM, relevant LINKS and other anecdotes and info of interest to fans of low-end vintage guitars. Nothing conveys that wonderful vintage vibe like a cheap old guitar. Enjoy!
The legal stuff:
© 2003 - 2008 JunkGuitars.com. All rights reserved and well deserved. Hey, show me some gratitude and respect for laying the knowledge on you free of charge! You may quote short pieces for your personal use, but please don't forget to credit the source. Contents of this site have been registered with the US Library of Congress and are protected by the US copyright law. Any commercial use or wholesale copying is forbidden without prior approval. Blatant infringement will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, not to mention that it is bad karma and your mama really should have taught you better.
All articles and other written text on this site are 100% original material. These are exclusive to this site and appear here for the first time anywhere, with the exception of those articles of mine that have been previously published in various magazines. Most of the photos on this site are also exclusive, personally taken by me. These photos are copyright protected. Also, while I may not own the actual copyright of some pictures, I do reserve all rights to any scans and collages that I personally made. All other photos remain the property of their authors and are used here solely for non-commercial purposes of education, research and entertainmnent, considered "fair use" under US Copyright law. I always list the source if I know it, but it is often impossible to say where each picture originated. If you own copyright on any of these pictures, please let me know, so that I could give credit where it's due.
No animals or vintage guitar dealers were harmed during the creation of this web site. JunkGuitars.com is proudly independent since 2003 and is not sponsored by or affiliated with any manufacturer or retailer. All brand names are referenced for identification only. This is a non-profit site, created for educational, research and entertainment purposes only. My goal is to share information with other vintage guitar historians and collectors. If you find any of the site content offensive for any reason, it is entirely your problem.
Special thanks to:
- Dan, Mihalich and Anna D., for helping out with the technical aspects of this site.
- Konstantin of Studio1525, for graciously allowing me to photograph and examine his guitars.
- Dima, Wals, Regent30, Foxy, cRock and Vadim, for helping me locate and acquire some rare Soviet models.
- Dusan Palka, whose expertise on Czech guitars has been most helpful.
- Efim, for translating some Czech source documents for me.
- Meatex of Cheesyguitars.com, Steve of Vintaxe.com and Ejik of Sovietguitars.com, for collaborating and sharing information.
- Jamie, for building my Super Tonika and sharing pictures of some of his other wacky guitar projects.
- Serge, for scans of the Musima catalog.
- My family, for love and support (Mom, I'll get those drums out of your living room soon, I promise!)
© 2003 - 2008 JunkGuitars.com. All rights reserved.