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Memphis Strat Copy

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by turbofire327, Mar 24, 2010.

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  1. turbofire327

    turbofire327 Tele-Meister

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    I just bought one on ebay and I am just wondering if anyone has any information on them. As soon as it arrives I will post pictures. I've found very good and very bad reviews so we will see. I plan on disassembling it right away for my own curiousity as well as everyone else's.
     
  2. dog fart

    dog fart Friend of Leo's

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    I owned one in the late 70's, it was my first guitar. It also had great sounding pick ups. Very early 50's sounding. It also had some fret work issues in the 13-15 area. I took the pups out and stuck a super distortion in it. I was young and foolish and everybody was doing it. Take your time before taking it apart, it might suprise you.
    D F
     
  3. turbofire327

    turbofire327 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the info, don't worry I'm not going to part it out or anything. I'm mostly curious of the body material and whether it has ceramic or alnico pickups. It's sunburst with a black pickguard, that's mostly why I bought it. Supposedly it is a late 70's, early 80's model, same era as the one you had hopefully.
     
  4. bo

    bo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Memphis guitars were IIRC made in Korea and were around in the mid/late '70s and early ''80s. They were sorta mid-range beginner guitars. They had more than one strat copy. The ones I remember had ceramic pickups, multi-laminate bodies, were shrill sounding and weighed quite a bit. Hopefully yours isn't one of those.
     
  5. Joe-Bob

    Joe-Bob Doctor of Teleocity

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    Actually.....no.

    Memphis started in the mid to late 70s as Japanese made guitars. Originally owned by Yamaha, they were on par with the quality of the Yamaha, Ibanez and Aria guitars made then, and were probably made in the same plant. They had expensive models as well.

    It was not until several years later (mid 80s?) that the company and/or name was sold and the guitars were no longer made in Japan, but in Korea. The quality and prices fell drastically.
     
  6. turbofire327

    turbofire327 Tele-Meister

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    The seller believes it is a japan model but who knows.
     
  7. sneakyjapan

    sneakyjapan Poster Extraordinaire

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    this brand came up recently at another site along with the Yamaha connection...I must say I never heard of it until that thread. Anybody have any proof of that connection...and please, don`t link Wikipedia...that site is not a real reliable place for info on old MIJs.
     
  8. Joe-Bob

    Joe-Bob Doctor of Teleocity

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    http://www.ehow.com/facts_4927795_what-history-memphis-guitars.html

    That's where I got the Yamaha connection. Wikipedia says almost nothing except that they were distributed by C. Bruno & Sons.

    I have a Japanese-made Memphis from '78, IIRC. I bought it new in '79 and it had been in the store a good 6 months.

    It is a double-cutaway solidbody, like an Ibanez Artist, with a flying V style headstock. It's all natural-finished solid maple with a carved top, 3 piece set neck, inlaid logo, and 2 humbuckers. It sounds incredible! The best humbuckers I've ever used. Ever. The MSRP was $629 at the time I bought it.

    While I've seen lots of really bad strat copies with Memphis logos on them, that's not where the company started out. I still think either the name was sold, or "borrowed" and used to import junk guitars.
     
  9. sneakyjapan

    sneakyjapan Poster Extraordinaire

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    what does that person mean by...Memphis was owned by Yamaha while they were still making instruments?...sounds like they think Yamaha no longer builds instruments?...well thats wrong. Sued by Gibson?...really, I thought there was only ever one lawsuit against a Japanese company...wasn`t it Ibanez?
    Can`t remember seeing many Memphis guitars for sale on line in Japan, maybe they were exports but I`ll see if I can dig anything up on the brand over here...there were literally dozens of brands in Japan at one point, but I`ve not heard that connection made by any Japanese folks. Tough finding info on many of those brands, even the big makers like Yamaha did not keep very good records of their guitars, still, never say never, been surprised too many times with MIJs so I`ll have a look, just haven`t heard Japanese folks make the Yamaha connection to that brand.
     
  10. LawDaddy

    LawDaddy Tele-Holic

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    My first guitar, too!
     
  11. Joe-Bob

    Joe-Bob Doctor of Teleocity

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    While Memphis was still making instruments.

    Apparently, they stopped in the mid 80s, but I saw new guitars in stores in the late 90s. This is why I think that someone used the previous name and logo to import junk guitars.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  12. turbofire327

    turbofire327 Tele-Meister

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    Got it in the mail today, got home late so I haven't had much of a chance to play it but it looks cool and the neck is great, no fretwear. After I get some new tuners and such, I would gig with it. Here she is next to my blue squier.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. sneakyjapan

    sneakyjapan Poster Extraordinaire

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    plywood? Usually those MIJs I see over here with the black covering the cut away are plywood.
     
  14. turbofire327

    turbofire327 Tele-Meister

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    I suspected that too and you are right.
     
  15. cyclopean

    cyclopean Poster Extraordinaire

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    i'm in the process of bringing one i got for free back into playable condition.

    the body on mine is definitely a bunch of layers of laminate.

    i'm not super familiar with strats, but it's not excessively heavy compared to my tele.

    the tuners are crap, and the bridge looks a little iffy.

    can't really speak to the electronics because most of them had been removed and the remains of some weird wiring project were left in the pickup cavity when i got it. this guitar was likely a project guitar for a noise band that builds a lot of their own instruments, and the switch was missing and all the controls had been disconnected, and it only had a bridge pickup.
     
  16. turbofire327

    turbofire327 Tele-Meister

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    I repaired the wiring today and the pickups sound really good and the neck is really great. No sharp fret edges and no fretwear. I removed the kill switch someone had poorly installed and installed a toggle in its place so I can run the neck and middle pickup in series for a humbucking function. Really a nice guitar for about a hundred bucks.
     
  17. cyclopean

    cyclopean Poster Extraordinaire

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    on closer inspection, the memphis strat i have has the shoddiest fret work i've ever seen on a factory instrument.
     
  18. dog fart

    dog fart Friend of Leo's

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    Just found this thread again. Mine was a natural finish with maple board. It was made in Japan. IIRC the store owner said it was built in the Ibanez plant, he sold Ibanez guitars at the same time. As far as body wood, it was most likely some species of ash. Like I said it WAS my first guitar and that was 30+ years ago. Many people who played it said it had a nice neck, I thought so, but there were issues between the 13-15 frets. Mine had the small headstock, does yours or is it the large "70's" headstock?
    Have fun with it.
    D F
     
  19. guitarswheelies

    guitarswheelies TDPRI Member

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    New life for an old thread.

    I ran into a Memphis Tele recently and I have to say its a great guitar! This one is a Tele Custom copy that has a rib cut out like a Tele Dlx.

    It is lightweight and has a big maple neck with large frets. The only thing that sucks it the lead pickup as it is really weak. I wound a custom pickup to fit its baseplate and cover and I discovered that the cover was totally killing the output! Weird. I've only found one other Memphis Tele and it is a walnut Deluxe copy that has the goofy shaped bridge. Mine has the rectangular bridge but still came with the covered lead pickup.

    I also have a cool hondo/tokai Tele!

    http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/...sumoko Tele/matsumokoTele002.jpg?t=1332029830

    http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/...moko Tele/matsumokoTele006-1.jpg?t=1332029591

    http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy303/guitarded1000/Hondo Tele/HT.jpg?t=1335310853
     
  20. Aceofspades327

    Aceofspades327 TDPRI Member

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    I can tell this is an old thread, but i figure i'd share what i know here.

    I've got a 1976 (I believe) Memphis Strat, I bought it for $80 Last year and it played really nice. It's got one of the thinnest necks I've ever played, it's a very tinny sounding instrument. The only thing that i would say is a downside are the machine heads, but that's easily remedied. A very nice guitar and for the price, i'm not sure anything will come close to the quality of this instrument. An added note the body of mine is not plywood and it's a great guitar to mod ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
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