Tris Mahaffay founded Songworks (now Mahaffay Amplifiers) Systems and Products in 1990- as a home based business to design and test various musical instrument devices he wanted to market. He joined NAMM in 1994, and determined to find a gap in the market he began developing a tiny tube based amp. This became the Little Lanilei tube amp, which was launched at the winter NAMM show in 1997. Since then Mahaffay has added three new models as well as a few other devices - such as the "Little Lanilei Rotary Wave Speaker". These are all still hand built one at a time, just like the originals, using point to point construction.

Source: Mahaffay Amplifiers website (22 February 2018)


Marveltone was a brand name of Targ & Dinner a wholesale instrument distributer from Chicago, used from 1926 until the early 1990s. Up to the 1960s Marveltone acoustic guitars would have been made by the big Chicago factories such as Kay, Harmony and Regal, whereas later Marveltones would have been made in Japan or Korea.

Source: Guitar Stories: The Histories of Cool Guitars. Michael Wright. 2000. Hal Leonard,

Source: Marveltone catalog 1960

Source: Targ and Dinner catalog 1950


Marvel was a brand name of the Sorkin Music Company, an amplifier manufacturer and mail-order instrument distributor. The company was founded by Peter Sorkin in 1938 in New York City, and also made Premier and Multivox amplifiers. The guitars were made elsewhere. Sorkin Music closed in 1970.

Source: Sorkin catalogs 1950s to 1970

Source: Guitar Amplifier Encyclopedia. Brian Tarquin


Marlin was a guitar brand used in 1975 by the Eaton's mail order catalog in Canada.The Marlin brand was later used by British Music Strings Ltd in the 1980s on a range of Korean made electrics and acoustics. The Marlin sidewinder was the best selling guitar in the UK from 1986 to 1988 - its secret was acceptable quality at a low price. BMS owner George Ozstreich was the pioneer of importing Korean made guitars into the UK. The Marlin guitars supremacy did not last however as other manufacturers like Fender switched production of their budget brands to Korean factories.

Marlin guitars and basses are instantly recognisable by their Marlin fish shaped inlay at the 12th fret.

Source: Eaton's catalog 1975


Marlboro Sound Works was a brand name of Musical Instrument Corporation of America (Syosset, New York) in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These budget solid state amplifiers were often distributed through mail order catalogs such as Montgomery Ward.

Source: Marlboro amplifiers catalogs (1979 to 1982)


George Breed Electrical Guitar Front View

George Breeds electrical guitar is not an electric guitar in the modern sense. It did not electrically amplify the strings to make them louder. Instead it used electricity to sound the strings of an acoustic instrument. You did not need to strum or pluck this guitar: by pressing the string onto a fret a circuit was made which caused the string to vibrate automatically and continuously. you could there play it with a single hand. It was a bit like a steel string acoustic driven by a Ebow or Fernades Sustainer.

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BC Rich MB 1 (Mason Bernard) electric guitar

B.C. RICH made the MB 1 (Mason Bernard) between 1990 -1992 and again 1998 and 1999. The MB 1 was an Assasin Series superstrat with, bolt-on maple neck and ebony fingerboard. Pickups were Seymour Duncans and the birdge was a Floyd Rose double locking tremolo.

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Marina is part of the Chinese group Grand Reward Education and Entertainment (GREE) which has been making guitars under OEM licence for other brand names since 1995. Their factory in Guang Dong produces around 13,000 guitars a month, most of which are destined for the United States. Marina is associated with the Farina brand- also owned by GREE. In the early 1980s the Marina brand was made by Chuan Yin Musical Instruments Company Limited, of Taipei, Taiwan.

Source: Marina catalog 1983


Mardan was a brand owned by the C.G. Conn Corporation (Continental Music) which was used until the 1980s. The name was conceived by Dan Henkin and was a combination of Dan and his wife Mary's first names (Mary-Dan). The guitars & banjos were made in Japan, probably at Tokai Gakki where the Conn guitars were made.

Source: Conn Acoustic Guitars website (14 February 2018)

Source: Mardan catalog 1981


The Leo Quan "Badass" bridge was developed in 1972 by Glen Quan, musician, collector of fine instruments, guitar repairman and stringed instrument restorer. Glen saw a need for a tunable bridge for his personal stage guitars and began building bridges for his own use. Other performers asked him to build these bridges for their instruments, and by the end of the 1970s Fender were using Badass bridges on many of their basses.

Source: Leo Quan website (archived 2006)


Yusuke Kawakami's introduction to the world of guitar making came from his family. His Uncle owned a world-renowned guitar building company in Gifu, Japan where his father was the chief luthier until 2002. On graduation from university Kawakami became a corporate employee but his real passion was for guitars and wood working, and he started doing woodwork in a corner of his uncle's guitar shop on weekends. After he had mastered the hand tools, he moved on to make his first instrument: a ukulele. On completing this instrument he decided to quit his corporate job and work as a luthier.

EPIPHONE SPECIAL (American Series)

Epiphone Special II electric guitar

The Epiphone Special (American Series) was an SG style electric made in the Kalamazoo factory from 1982 to 1983. The Epiphone Special came with either one pickup (the Special I model) or two pickups (the Special II model). The American made Epiphone Specials were supposed to be a low cost model to fight back against the imports from the far east that were hurting sales, however they were not cheap enough to compete with these Asian imports - the Special II sold for over $500 dollars!

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Francis Milsom made his first acoustic guitar in 1971 during his wood machining apprenticeship. Several guitars later, in 1975 he changed direction to work as a technical and forensic photographer. In 2009 he went back to making guitars based mainly on Gibson's: ES175, J185, Les Paul, ES dot 335, with a couple of classical guitars too.

Source: Milsom Guitars website (30 January 2018)


Magenta was the guitar brand name of the Canadian AHED company - active from the 1970s until 1986.

Source: Magenta catalog 1973


The AHED company was established in the early 1970s when Phil Anderson amalgamated the various divisions of Arc Sound Company into one corporation called AHED Music Corporation Ltd. (Arc Home Entertainment Diversified). AHED sold musical instruments  pianos, organs and guitars, through Mr Music stores but were best known for their GBX, Taurus and Darius amplifiers. AHED ceased operations in 1986 due to the slow Canadian economy and changes in the music industry.

Source: History of ARC Sound Company (2 February 2018)

Lowden GL-10

Lowden GL-10 electric guitar

The Lowden GL-10 was introduced in 2018, around  forty years on from when George Lowden first built an electric guitar, George Lowden said: “My interest was revived through a request from an artist in 2016. I went away on a retreat to think through the design options. The first prototype exceeded my expectations in terms of visual appeal, balance and, in the guitar’s inherent design features, a natural ability to sustain without trying!"

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Lisha Guitar Company (Nashville, TN) made acoustic guitars, but there is very little information about this brand. Lisha also offered instrument repair for guitars, banjos and fiddles. Their company address is now a church.

Source: Bill Allen, Lisha acoustic guitar owner (24 January, 2018).


Lyle acoustic and electric guitars were made in Japan in the 1970s and distributed in the USA by L.D. Heater Music Company (Seattle) and Musical Instrument Corporation of America (Syossett, NY)

Source: Lyle guitar catalogs 1970 to 1975

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