Here’s an incredibly rare guitar that was saved from certain doom. The poor old gal had sat neglected for many years and lucky for her she found her way into the gentle arms of Dano and myself! Really, when I found this I knew what it was right away, knew how rare it was right away, and was totally amazed that one of these Idol Ric copies still existed! Totally lucky find.This old gal had been through some wars and abuse, but during this time in Japan the guitar makers were really stepping up their game in an effort to seriously compete in the domestic guitar market. In the end, it wasn’t to be because the demand for electric guitars was already in serious decline. So all we’re left with are some limited production, high quality guitars that were quickly forgotten in the history of electric guitars.Idol was one of the brands to arise out of the Teisco buyout of 1967. Idol, Honey, and Firstman guitars all arose from this era, and all disappeared rather quickly. All these guitar names shared similar qualities and all are still highly regarded in Japan, with some Firstman models commanding big bucks. But these Idol guitars seem to be rather rare in any market, and this particular Ric model was extremely rare for Idol. It is basically the same guitar as the Honey SG-5, with a few differences.During this era a curious neck plate was used. That white plastic cover only served to cover the real neck joint underneath. Several other Teisco hollowbody guitars from this time share the same feature. But as odd as it seemed, this guitar was built to be a high-quality instrument and it shows in a lot of aspects. The guitar just feels solid, very similar to the original model it was copying!Over the past few years I’ve developed several friendships with some Japanese people and they’re always amazed how I come across guitars like these. A few collectors had only seen this model in the famous “Bizarre Guitars” book, and even that example was missing some pieces. These guitars were designed and sold for the Japanese market, so how one ended up in a Louisiana closet is just beyond me. Most of the time guitars like these were brought back to the states by servicemen stationed in Japan.Several Firstman, Idol, and Honey guitars made their way into the hands of some popular Japanese guitar players at the time. People who have only played some of the less expensive Japanese imports would be pleasantly surprised by the build quality of these guitars. As the 60s wore on into the 70s, Japanese guitars were busy building a solid reputation, and this Idol model is a good example of that genesis!
Big time props need to go out to Dano at Happy Guitar Repair. He did some MAJOR work bringing this one back to life and cleaning it up. And as always, Mike Dugan gives her the once around!
10 thoughts on “American Idol? – 1967 Idol SG-5 Japanese Electric Guitar”
Didn’t Apollo have a similar Rick copy? Great work as always!
Yeah, you’re right. Ric copies were really popular in the late 60s, but the Apollo Ric and this Idol/Honey Ric were made at different factories and were built really differently.
I have the Idol SG-5. How much does it go for nowadays? You can check out the pictures in Patchouli’s Garage page in Facebook.
Are you in the USA? Prices seem to vary differently from country to country…
I’m currently based in Clark, Philippines. How much is it in the USA?
Probably around $400-$500 US
I just got a Honey SG-5 same guitar… its almost in perfect shape. It is super cool. Looking forward to cleaning it up. I am in S.E. Asia. Got it today. Its for sale… but I have to own it at least a little for a while. Wow.
similar to the model Ibanez put out in 68 , the ibby had more mini humbucker-esq pickups and a different tail piece
I have one also. A Honey. Perhaps a slightly higher model than the Idol.