I really liked this guitar and I sorta wish I didn’t sell it. See, by running this site and buying tons of guitars, I HAVE to sell most of them just to keep bringing y’all new and different stuff to showcase. Most of the time I’m fine with letting this stuff go but I still think about this particular guitar. There has never been another guitar that sounded quite like this one before and that sound stuck with me! We spent a TON of time trying to set this one up right. Maybe you know this old story, but the pseudo Bigsby never kept a tune, and the switches were finicky. The neck angle was way off and the neck was bowed pretty bad, having heavy original flat wounds on for 40 years. Frets were tiny from the start. We worked and worked this guitar and in the end the damn thing played pretty well. Not great, but good. Solid. A lot of these guitars come out this way and after a while you learn to understand and accept the quirks. Some people can handle the quirks, others can’t. It’s just the nature of playing vintage Japanese guitars.Overall it was in good shape. Few nicks here and there, a few lacquer checks, normal stuff. I never could figure out who made this one but I can tell you it’s not a Teisco or a Guyatone. So that leaves us with some of the many smaller Japanese builders. The body was plywood, but the design was really cool!!The guitar balanced so well and was totally comfy to play. So what was it about the sound? I mean, that fake Bigsby and plywood construction did absolutely nothing for the sound. There was also an odd break-over angle from the bridge to the roller on the fake Bigsby so that further take away from the sustain. But you know what, this guitar had some of the greatest sustain of any guitar, from any period, from any country of origin! Peeps, honest.The pickups were single coils and didn’t read out that strong. Plus they were just a tad microphonic. But right there is the secret to some of these guitars. Every once in a while I plug in one of these and right away I notice the pickups have “ZING”!! Know what I mean? These suckers were alive and were like taking breaths. Good old fuzz pedals work the same way. Also good old tube amps. This damn guitar just had zing from the get-go and combined with a fuzz and a tube amp, the guitar just kept going on and on. Sustain. It was like it had built in sustain!After I sold this one I noticed about a month later it was up for sale on Craigslist. The guy just couldn’t deal with the quirks I guess. I almost contacted him to buy it back, but I stayed with my mantra- “let it go.” I’ve been meeting a lot of dudes who can’t let these guitars go. People who’d rather buy a guitar than pay the rent…you know the type? Anyway, right here was just a spectacular sounding guitar that really had it’s own sound. If you’re playing these vintage Japanese guitars then you probably DON’T want to sound like anyone else, and this sucker really had it’s own sound. I miss this bad machine…
11 thoughts on “The Bad Machine! – Unknown 1960s Japanese Electric Guitar (Burns Influenced)”
Bad Medicine: I have one just like it, a friend had it laying in the corner of his garage, I asked him about it and he said “take it, fix it, keep it”, it’s missing the bridge, still trying to identify it, I will let you know if I get anywhere
I played a Vox Bulldog in the early 90s and that guitar looks almost identical to the Box. It was terrible to play, a very narrow neck, microphonic pickups, and you only had to look at the bigsby to make it go out of tune
I just picked up something extremely similar to this beast while moving out of my studio. It’s nearly identical, except the saddle on mine (link to pictures below) has a sort of spring-toggle thing that looks like it might have been used to raise the tuning almost like a lever on a harp’s tuning peg. The action is way out of wack, so i’ve got my work cut out for me. Any idea what kind of saddle this might be? Pictures: http://imgur.com/a/RCl7m
Hey Willy, oh yeah man I remember this model! I loved the one I had, but sold it already. This guitar sounded really great and had interesting pickups. That bridge part you’re talking about is a flip-up mute that originally had a piece of foam rubber on it. You’d flip it up to mute the strings, sort of the same concept as using your palm. These were made by an unknown company in Japan. Lot’s of people will say Teisco, but that’s always everyone’s answer. It’s not any of the biggies of the day like Teisco, Kawai, Matsumoku, Fujigen, or Guyatone.
I have one! The Bad Machine! – Unknown 1960s Japanese Electric Guitar (Burns Influenced), Trying to find out what it is, This is the only other one I have seen.
I have one as well. Identical except someone changed the bridge pickup and tuners. Going to try and bring it back to stock. Really cool guitar – love to know who made it.
i just bought one of these for rather cheap, but it had no bridge, trem spring, or pots. i made a bridge out of some aluminum at my dads machine shop and bought a bigsby spring all i need is a picture of the eletronics
Hi !…finally found info about this guitar, I love it but I have not the original bridge, then fine tuned. sell it anyway 🙂
(sorry my english, saludos from Chile !)