1960s Gibson Melody Maker SG
Out of all of the guitars on this list, the lack of a proper reissue on these models is the most surprising. The ‘60s–style Melody Maker SG with the Vibrola is a legendary short–scale guitar from Gibson.
Released in 1966 and discontinued by the end of 1970, the ‘60s MM SGs are arguably one of the most stylish and easy–to–play lower–tier guitars Gibson has ever put out. The model came in a series of dynamic finishes, including Cardinal Red, Inverness Green, and the beloved Pelham Blue. The finishes stand out like the world’s greatest sore thumb and haven’t been used much by Gibson since the ‘60s.
These SGs are also distinctive in that they came with either one, two, or three single–coil pickups and featured a Vibrola instead of a Tune–o–matic bridge. Unfortunately, the shape in which you can find an original varies, and more than a few have suffered some tragic headstock breaks.
Though we’ve seen some more modern takes on the Melody Maker SG introduced earlier in this decade, Gibson has never released a true reissue model complete with a Vibrola.
Fender Strat/Tele Plus
After reestablishing themselves as a USA–based company with the opening of the Corona factory in 1987, Fender introduced the American–made Stratocaster and Telecaster Plus.
The Pluses were birthed the same year as the American Standard series and were the next level up in terms of features and quality at the time. Featuring a Wilkinson–made roller nut, two–point tremolo, locking tuners, and Lace Sensor pickups, these guitars were the deluxe workhorses for the time. Even today, they still hold up in terms of sound and playability.
There’s a cult worship among certain groups of players for the Plus series. Most famously, Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead was known to be a Tele Plus devotee throughout much of Radiohead’s ‘90s peak and to the present.
Not only were the models well–made with features that went on to inspire other Fender classics (such as the Jeff Beck signature), they were undeniably striking and came in a wealth of rare finishes.
With Fender’s current flair for colors (and Radiohead), it’s strange that they haven’t brought not only these models but some of their rarer finishes — like Bahama Green, Dusty Rose, and Blue Burst — back into the fold.
Given that they were Fender’s first high–end model to come out of the Corona factory, reissuing the Plus series would be a nice tribute to those first chaotic years of renewed USA production.
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