What's better than a NGD? A "TWO Guitar Day"! (Hy-Lo vintage + Fernandes "Mr. Elephant")

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by GreenMagicMan, May 6, 2021.

  1. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Bought at Vermont old family farmhouse from great guy seller who is packing it up and moving to Poland.
    Two completely different guitars for me (the 'pointy' electric guy with some acoustics). Strat hater.


    First guitar I chased thru FB Marketplace for last 3 weeks waiting to get to Vermont:
    ( I had recently lost out on a Steinberger Spirit Pro at a pawn shop on Cape Cod for $300 asking - didn't make it back to Cape in time to see it).

    - "Mr. Elephant". aka ZO-3 aka Fernandes Nomad

    An excellent little travel guitar. Nice backstory too. Like Joe Bonamassa said in the Gibson interview: You get the guitar free, you're buying the story!

    This one was bought in Kentucky while guy was in service. He had tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and said this little guy traveled to almost 30 countries with him.

    Also, finally a RED guitar for the collection. Last thing I need is another damn black one. These are hard to find, not too many for sale, and now mostly newer China reissues.
    This one is old(er) made in Taiwan which is as good as it gets for the Nomad unless you get a bona fide MIJ Z0-3 badged model.

    Really funny little guy, you can see why it's called "Mr. Elephant" in Japanese.

    Second guitar:
    Ok, was set on buying both for $400. A 1977 Univox Coily U1825, a bolt-neck ES-335 style thinline.
    So where is that on in the pic?? Right, I passed on it. Way too thin neck and narrow nut, so not my bag.

    The seller murmured something and ran off to his attic.
    He then said before I told him what I wanted to do, I'll throw this parts guitar in for free if you get the Fernandes and Univox (!)

    So I had ruled out the Univox at $250 which I know is a hell of a deal in today's market. I could easily flip it for profit. But I've bought every guitar with intention of keeping and playing it originally, I just move ones along I don't get along with.

    So I told him, yep, getting the Fernandes. Univox is out. But what about the parts one??

    It has a nice wide and Thick neck, just my style :)
    It's also beaten up badly, been in attic for years, a hot mess, and like the little adorable runt of the liter or super underdog. I knew I had to get it and have a real project on my hands.
    It's missing a bridge altogether, pickguard needs attention - seller was going to transplant that to the Univox which was missing it's pickguard and never did :)
    Nut is not good, way too low. Missing 1/4" jack and V + T knobs missing.
    Neck a mess. Dust, grime, dirt, debris, cobwebs everywhere. It was love as I held it for inspection.

    The Fernandes was asking $150. Screaming deal. He said $200 for both, how'd that sound, and accepted $175 counter! Happy happy day for me!

    Ok, so anyone know much about 'Hy-Lo' or this model? I recalled the brand, and it IS Made in Japan.
    So that was great. On site, I thought it might be a sleeper Matsumoku guitar.

    Later online research that night shows it is not a Mats.
    It's either:
    Teisco built (I hope not, had one and it was trash),
    Hoshino (early Ibanez) built, or maybe other.
    It looks very similar to 60s Ibanez but the faux Bigsby is solid on this one and doesn't have same cutouts. I've seen these pickups somewhere too, and hoping they are good to really good vintage single coils.

    Thinking it's not newer than 1965, maybe 1960, perhaps older?? I've also read there is a 'Hi Lo' brand and this "Hy Lo" brand and they likely have no connection.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
  2. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice. Can't go wrong with a $25 project guitar. Even if it turns out to be unsalvageable (not likely), it was worth it for the entertainment.
     
  3. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    My avatar guitar is a 60's MIJ and don't know who made it because it was made in Japan for a British company and there's no record of what manufacturer made it. Brand name is Encore and it's pretty much like yours. Here's a pic of what they looked like new: upload_2021-5-6_15-6-39.jpeg A lot of these guitars were made and sold under different name brands and some of the pickups used varied and some of the tail pieces varied as well. Your bridge will be a teflon saddle bridge mounted on wood with a curved bottom for arch top guitars. I have seen Teisco guitars and Vox guitars with the pickups you have. They are a cross between P90's and Tele bridge pickups and they are great for playing distorted blues and rock, but also will do clean jazzy tones as well.
    Since your bridge is missing, I'd get one from GFS. They have one just like the original except for the saddles, you get Gibby style or rollor saddle choices.
     
  4. Oldsmobum

    Oldsmobum Tele-Holic

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    Looks like a teisco/Kawai EP series. It seemingly has the same pickups that a kawai built solid body I own has. Here is an EP-8 with different pickups- but similar control plate and profile:

    https://reverb.com/ca/item/7005137-60s-teisco-ep-8t-electric-guitar

    These old Japanese guitars are some of my favorite projects. WAY more challenging than your typical strat/tele and requires a great deal of creative problem solving!
     
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  5. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Way cool, have fun with those.
     
  6. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Thanks all. There is hardly any info out there about Hy Lo. I also am not sure how to date this guitar.
    I may remove the neck and see if there's anything there. I have a minor fear it's not a 'bolt on' neck proper and more like a screw in neck with wood screws. My '77 Epiphone acoustic was like that when I removed the neck to shim it. Seems thats not something you would want to do frequently or on a whim.

    When I noticed there was no bridge, and seller said 'I told you it was a floating bridge', I had no idea what that meant. I was asking 'where are the screw / mount holes??' - I was totally confused for couple minutes there.
    The GFS suggestion sounds good to me. I have 3 spare knurled black metal speed knobs, tried them on - they don't look right. I love amber bell knobs but I gather they wouldn't look right. My g.f. says to use chrome ones... not sure about that either.

    The body seems sort of chopped / melted down compared to many hollow bodies - particularly evident standing up next to the 70s Univox coily that I assumed I would buy for $250 and turned down.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
  7. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I bet he's going to feel sorry for not taking the Mr. Elephant to Poland.

    The hollow body, well I don't think it's any better than the old Polish hollow bodies.
     
  8. soddruntlestuntle

    soddruntlestuntle TDPRI Member

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    I had a Hy-Lo for a while; was a pretty decent guitar. The headstock Had literally zero angle. Weirded me out.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    My guitar had brushed aluminum knobs originally and they were lost. I found some off a old stereo and I like them a lot.
    Antique Electronics Supple has some like my originals now and they look great. They come in aluminum finish or black.
     
  10. Oldsmobum

    Oldsmobum Tele-Holic

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    One challenge with the bridge is that sometimes, these old Japanese guitars have narrow finger boards and the tuneomatic style bridges are spaced a bit too wide for them. There are options to resolve that issue, but don’t be surprised when your parts drawer starts to get additional inventory...

    Getting the trem running will be interesting too. That is a really fun looking project.
     
  11. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    I cleaned the hell out of this guitar today. I was amazed at what revealed underneath - just beautiful. I only used damp water and soft cloth for the body and neck, and then 0000 steel wool on the frets after fingernailing off goop spilled on the fretboard, and then purified Linseed Oil on the fretboard. It really looks terrific now.
    I also dismembered my original horrible 1st guitar I bought in middle school to get the 1/4" jack and the bridge off of it. From this plywood 70s P.O.S. 'Global' 'strat' I have harvested a metal bridge that's like a very poor man's TOM (impoverished blindly build on a budget version). I am thinking of making some wood pieces to screw it into for a base, and then I guess just letting friction do it's thing on the guitar body and stringing this whole thing up.

    I am quite confused about the bridge and the floating bridge needs. This guitar is considered a hollow body - there is no central wood support like a semi-hollow.

    I spent the day cleaning it, and I want it strung up by tomorrow to test play it. Have no idea if the pickups work or anything like that. I have a new set of Ernie Ball Slinky 10s sitting around I could pop on.

    Should I be ordering some certain style? I've been looking all over Donli's, Stew Mac, BYO Guitar, Guitar Fetish etc... I am still not quite sure what I need to get here for this bridge.

    Roller bridge seems needed. I don't know what this guitar would have come with, and best I can tell this is like a copy of a Bigsby B3 vibrato on it.

    I have an authentic Bigsby arm coming from FB Marketplace next. I'll have to sort out a spring and the way to attach that...
     
  12. BradKM

    BradKM Tele-Holic

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    The Meyers book shows Hy-Lo branded guitars were commonly supplied by Hoshino, Kawai and Sakai. Based on the look of the neck and inlayed logo, I'd lean toward Hoshino, but the metal control plate is more common on Kawai builds. Is there any sparkle in the plastic portion of the pickups, or are they solid white?

    You should be fine with any floating archtop bridge, tunamatic or roller style.
     
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