Now most of us know about the popular Kustom amps of the 70s. You know, those cool “tuck n roll” pleated vinyl jobbers reminiscent of old diner booths and the back seats of huge 1970s cars? Well, this particular guitar has an interesting label inside that reads…
“Model GR973 SP, GRECO”
“Designed, Serviced, and Adjusted by Kustom Electronics, INC.”
“Serial Number 27780”
So how about that? Rarely do I ever see an intact label inside a guitar, and I’ve never seen a label that read “Kustom Electronics.” It’s just like I always say, when you think you’ve got it all figured out…well you still have a lot to learn. I read plenty of forum posts all the time and I wonder at the confidence of some dudes and what they believe as truth. Coming back from Japan, I realized that some of the guys who MADE the guitars, the guys who spent years doing the same job over and over, the guys who sold these guitars, can’t even remember every detail and every guitar! So be humble folks, just a little advice.
Take this guitar for example, most people think all the late 60s Greco guitars were made by Fujigen, and that’s just not the case. For sure, this oldie wasn’t made by Fujigen. So who made it, who knows? This guitar has more similarities with the Crown Durango 12 string and the Kent 820. And as of now that factory remains a mystery. But let’s throw aside the quest for the maker, and ponder that Kustom connection. I know the Kustom company made amps, and sold a guitar that was pretty cool. But maybe Kustom started selling imports during the late 60s?
The design is super cool, and the guitar is definitely of Japanese origin. That Greco name was used on guitars starting in the later 60s, but in all the catalogs I’ve ever seen, this model never shows up. Maybe it was a Kustom “exclusive”? I wonder if the guys who started Kustom are still around?
The guitar was built rather well and whoever owned this guitar really loved it, as it had plenty of genuine playwear. It lived an honest life! Not too shabby! The pickups read out at 5.13k and 4.86k but the wiring was a true rat’s nest that took many hours to sort out. The neck was also bent this way and that, and again many hours went into this guitar. Sometimes, these wear me out! Thankfully Dano is the man as usual, and if it weren’t for him, many of these guitars would end up as wall-hangers.
In the end, the guitar didn’t come out too bad and now has a home in Tennessee! Lovely place to make music! Now, I’m asking y’all if you can help with the Kustom connection. I’m going to “hunt that bird” as my grandpa would always say, but if anyone knows some of the Kustom dudes, then let’s come together and figure out a mystery! And who knows, they may even remember the factory that made this old viola!
And here’s the video of the Greco GR973 in action, thanks to Mike Dugan…