Oh boy, I miss this one! I sort of wish I didn’t sell it but sometimes you just gotta let it go! It now resides in a NYC art studio! Anyway, this was a Craigslist find that turned out to be one of the few cool Craigslist discoveries I’ve had. The original seller had a few blurry pics to look at, but once I saw four pickups, well, I just had to venture out to the boonies and buy this sucker! Talk about bizarre, huh? This guitar was in kinda sorry shape. It only had a few pieces of the original trem left, and what was left had been messed with. The wiring, jack, and most of the pots were shot, and the guitar was covered with stickers and autographs. The seller said that the guitar was his brother’s, and said brother flew the coop and wasn’t coming back so the seller was “gettin’ rid of his shit!” OK, so here’s what Dano and I did to this beauty!
- I save trem units whenever I can find them so I had a NOS unit for this guitar. It’s a pretty common unit similar to the Hagstrom trems of the 60s and early 70s. They’re almost identical except for the screw hole alignment.
- The massive upper “control center” had on/off switches for each pickup and volume/tone controls for two pickups a piece. Like I mentioned earlier, all this was shot and pretty much the only thing holding it all together was the chrome! Thankfully, Dano has a bunch of vintage parts! He fixed up all the wiring and pots. The jack was also bad. In fact, jacks are almost ALWAYS bad on vintage Japanese guitars. The lower switch was supposed to be a rhythm/solo switch but it really deadened the sound in both positions so we just bypassed it.
- The pickups were a pretty cool design, but unfortunately they looked a lot better than they sounded. They had that typical weak output, somewhere in the 4-5 range, and they were all pretty much microphonic. At least they were height adjustable!
- The neck needed a lot of shims to get that proper angle but after a good set-up it played pretty well!
“US-29 ‘Mentor”- Professional solid body four pickup model that is sharp, sleek, solid superiority loaded with drive and looks and SPECTONIC PROJECTION. Deluxe rosewood, celluloid bound oval fingerboard with inlaid markers; violin shaped double cut-a-way to make those high ones easy; deluxe heavy chrome plated individual machines. This model has the “exclusive” 12 screw adjustment on each pickup for the ultimate in sensitivity and unexcelled reproduction. The four pickups have fingertip wheel controls for volume and tone; 4 slide switch pickup controls and 2 solo and rhythm switches. heavy chrome-plated metal adjustable bridge and control panel; contrasting black pick guard with white underlay. 40″ long, 13.5″ wide. Mirror satin, polyester lacquer-gloss finish. This model only available in JET-RED SUNBURST and EBONY BLACK.”