Pump it Up!! – 1965 Audition ZES 70T Guitar

Audition Zenon 6Imagine being a youngster in 1965 and walking into Woolworth’s.  If you were checking out the musical instruments you probably would’ve seen one of these hanging on the wall!  These Zenon made Auditions came in a few configurations and I think one just looks cooler than the next one!  Zenon always seemed to have an eye for unique guitar design, and had to have some of the funkiest pickguard shapes.Audition Zenon 5People are always talking about gold foil pickups like they’re made of real gold or something!  People are also paying more than the weight in gold for certain pickup models.  Let me tell you something folks, don’t get caught up in the hype machine.  I don’t care if Ry Cooder had one installed in his frontal lobe…there are many good sounding “gold foil” pickups, and these Zenon models sound GREAT!!  There is a downside to these though, since the pickups don’t allow for height adjustment.  Little rubber grommets work wonders for raising the pickup height.Audition Zenon 4Pickguards on these guitars can be a little brittle, so be careful with chipping and shrinking.  Almost all Zenon guitars had reinforced necks, but not adjustable truss rods.  To compensate for heavy string gauge pull, the necks on these are usually rather thick but still feel comfortable.  Also a trouble spot is the dreaded neck angle issues that plagued many vintage Japanese models.  The Zenon guitars just seemed to have this issue more than others.Audition Zenon 3Bodies were all plywood on these guitars but the necks are solid wood and nicely shaped.  The finishes are usually durable and done well.  Also to note is that these guitars are relatively light and balance well!Audition Zenon 2Were you aware that this model was a favorite of Elvis Costello?  Sorta cool that he would hold on to a guitar like this.  These guitars do sound really good considering the plastic bridge, non-adjustable truss rod, and plywood bodies.  When you think about it, some of the best sounding guitars use a crazy combination of parts and materials.  Audition Zenon 1Zenon is still around today and still publishes music and books.  Back in the 60s they produced electric and acoustic guitars and totally rode the wave of the guitar boom until the late 60s.  These Zenon guitars were some of the only electrics they ever produced, and if you can find a playable example, then enjoy it!  And if you need a guitar player, well, then you just have to give Mike Dugan a call.  Enjoy peeps!!


15 thoughts on “Pump it Up!! – 1965 Audition ZES 70T Guitar

      1. Chris says:

        Is it possible that they made these with a fixed tailpiece without tremolo bar????? or maybe even a different tremolo????

      2. drowninginguitars says:

        Sure man, with the Zenon stuff there was no real “standard” equipment. I usually see the tremolos with a rounded, sometimes oblong tremolo base plate. Sometimes flat like this one and sometimes raised.

  1. Chris says:

    Frank, just how sacrilegious would it be to have a paint job on it…lets say black…..I mean I like everything to be original but this guitar of mine REALLY needs one.

    1. drowninginguitars says:

      Ha ha, if it REALLY needs one, then I guess you have to do it!! Seriously, I love these guitars but I’m not opposed to modding them if it means the guitar will get more play. I think the black would look way cool!

  2. Dan blades says:

    I had a 65 Audition from Woolworths just like the one in the video except mine had the triple pick ups, and tobacco sunburst. Wish I had it now.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This was my first guitar. Parents wouldnt spring because I didnt practice trumpet in 4th grade.
    Bought on layaway at woolworths, paid for it by shoveling snow for a few weeks in NJ.. I was 13. It was more suited to launching arrows than playing, but I didnt know better. Loved the foils and rocker switches. Mine had a bar on the headstock.

  4. Larry Roques says:

    What a blessing to finally know after 52 years what I was playing!😂 I have always just called it a cheap Audition guitar from Woolworth. Back then, I thought Silvertone was the epitome of guitar class and rank too! Thank you for sharing this!

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