(Scroll all the way down for the video demos!!)
Geez Louise! Here is quite possibly the weirdest, oddest, strangest. . . sometimes even I’m left speechless! Peoples, seriously! When I saw this Sandtron guitar I had to buy it just to see what it was! At first I thought it was modified, since I never saw a vintage Japanese guitar with those four toggle switches. And that pickguard! It’s a thick somewhat transparent blue-ish color combined with the rust brown color of the guitar. Good grief! I searched all over many catalogs and the Internet looking for information, and I came up “almost” empty. I did happen to find one of these guitars listed on a defunct music store’s web page, and here’s what I found:
So now at least I had some proof that at least two of these guitars existed, and that they both had the same components. Check out the nicks in the headstock in the above pic. My Sandtron doesn’t have the same nicks there. Also, my Sandtron has a slightly different trem arm. But basically I discovered there were at least TWO of these guitars! And thank god I saved the pic because the original image has gone the way of the dinosaurs. Let’s just run down the features of this here ol’ Sandtron guitar. Once again, Dano did all electronics work on this one!
- Body – The paint is kinda thick and is reminiscent of Italian guitars of the 60s. I call it the candy coating paint. The body is carved so interesting. It has these fluid, subtle carves on the front and back. The belly contour and arm contour really flow into the rest of the body, if that makes sense. It’s just artfully done. The sharp, odd horns are offset, and overall the whole guitar is just aesthetically pleasing. Well, other than the color combination of the body and pickguard! Body looks to be made of high quality wood like mahogany, probably Sen.
- Neck/Headstock – OK, so here’s where the guitar gets totally weird! Check out that extra “thing” at the peak of the headstock!!! What is that?!?! I seem to remember there were some Eko bass guitars from the 60s that had some sort of “thing” up there on the headstock, but I’ve never seen something like this on a guitar. So odd. The neck is also cool because of the fret markers, which are similar to some Teisco guitars. Frets are typical tiny and the neck radius is slightly flatter than 7.25″ The neck is nice and chunky, and it set up pretty well despite there being no truss rod! Also, the neck has a combo attachment, meaning the neck is set and screwed in! This guitar also had the original flat wounds still on it! Also, take a look at the hexagonal tuner covers. Never seen those before!
- Electronics – The pickups are VERY similar looking to the famous gold foil Teisco pickups, except that instead of gold foil, these have an almost “cork” like appearance. Like a dull tan with little darker spots. Again, very odd. I found this pickup design on Zen-On guitars from the mid sixties. Each pickup has an on/off toggle and a volume and tone knob assigned. Additionally, there is a treble/bass toggle on the lower horn, and that has a subtle affect on the sound. The wiring was bone stock and pretty well done. This wasn’t a cheaply made guitar! The pickups all read in the 3.00k range, and do sound nice. They’re snappy and bright, very typical of many Japanese pickups from the era. Also, none of the pickups are microphonic and they handle fuzz pedals rather well! Another oddity regarding this guitar is the dual inputs!! They each do the same thing, so why is there two? Besides the obvious ability to plug into two amps simultaneously? Seriously, this thing just gets weirder and weirder! And how about those knobs? Someone told me that the knobs are very similar to what you would find on a Japanese stereo receiver during the same era. Do they look familiar to any other guitar you’ve seen?