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Donated to the TobyKiethFoundation

Donated to the TobyKiethFoundation

Live Wires

Live Wires was a brand of the Musical Instrument Corporation of America (Syosset, New York), who distributed Japanese made Live Wires guitars in the 1970s. Live Wires guitars were copies of Gibson and Fender electric guitars and basses. MICA also used the Estrada brand name for their acoustic guitars.

Source: Live Wires Guitar catalog 1975


Gibson Les Paul Classic electric guitar

The Gibson Les Paul Classic was introduced in 1990 as a reissue based on the 1960 Les Paul. The key feature of the Classic was it's slim neck profile. The Les Paul Classic also had some other features true to the 1960 original: a narrow headstock, thin cutaway binding, aged yellowish fingerboard inlays, inked-on serial number, nickel hardware, vintage-style logo and aged binding on body and neck.

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Loco Amplifiers and LocoBox Effects were Aria brand names. The pedals were handmade (from the late 1970s onwards) by a small team in Urawa, in Saitama, Japan who sold their pedals to Aria,  Although the main brand name was Locobox, they also produced identical pedals under different brand names including: Electra, Volz, Nadines, Cutec, Pearl, Gig, Powervoice, Studio Series and even a few Yamaha pedals.The company was then aquired by Aria who started producing Loco amplifiers as well.

Source: Loco and LocoBox catalogs 1981.

Source: Jaimie Muehlhausen's Unofficial LocoBox website (archived 2006)


Alvarez Yairi FY 40 (Carolina Folk) acoustic guitar

The Alvarez FY 40 (referred to in the catalogs as Satin Folk, Carolina Folk or Mahogany Folk) model was available from around 1976 until the early 1980s, and was part of the Bicentennial Folk Series. The top was solid Canadian spruce, back and sides were Oceanic mahogany, fingerboard and bridge were Indian rosewood, and the neck was Indonesian mahogany. Tuners were chrome Japanese Gotohs.  Also available was the FY 40B with maple sides and back.

Source: Alvarez Yairi catalogs 1976, 1980, 1981

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Sanox was a brand name of the SSSound Company Ltd of Aichi, Japan. Sanox effects, guitars and basses were made from the late 1970s until the mid 1980s.

Source: Logabass by Sanox catalog, 1980s


Lindberg was the house brand of the Ernst Lindberg music shop in Munich, founded in 1924, Germany. Lindberg also had a mail order catalog in the 1950s and 1960s and  produced and sold various musical instruments under its own brand name "Lindberg". The typical Lindberg guitar dates from the 1950s or 1960s and is semi-hollow bodied or acoustic and made in Germany by Hoyer although Lindberg guitars were also made in Japan. By the mid 1980s the company was severely downsized. Lindberg was relaunched in 1997 and in 2006 the Ernst Lindberg music store merged with the Hieber am Dom music store to form the Hieber-Lindberg GmbH company.

Source:  Hieber-Lindberg website (8 January 2018)


Merv Cargill founded Cargill Custom Guitars in 1956, following a violin making apprenticeship. Cargill ran his business from a backyard workshop in Seaford, Melbourne, but his reputation extended far and wide. Merv's son, James, carries on Merv's legacy and still operates from his father's original garage workshop at the back of the family home.

Source: Cargill Custom Guitars website (8 January 2017)


Andreas Neubauer is a master luthier from Vienna who has been building custom instruments since 1987. Each Neubauer guitar is custom made and hand crafted. Neubauer collaborated with Michael Spalt to establish the Vienna Guitar Company. Neubauer branded guitars were also made in Germany in the 1960s by Helmut Neubauer.

Source: Neubauer Guitars website (4 January 2018)


Christopher Willcox started out as an apprentice luthier in the early 1970s in New Jersey. He moved to California in 1976 and opened his own guitar workshop in 1980. In 1988 he made the first prototype of his optical pickup system, which eventually became the LightWave pickup. This new pickup used infrared light instead of magnets and coils to sense string vibration. This eliminates the damping effect of magnets on string vibration. Willcox reincorporated his company under the name LightWave Systems in 1998 and focused solely on pickup making. A few years later, he expanded and began once again producing complete instruments using his futuristic pickup system. He has now gone back to putting his name on his instruments - Willcox Guitars.

Source: Willcox Guitars website (3 January 2018)


Heaven Guitars are made by Alex who studied at the Newark Luthiery School before establishing his own workshop in 2009 in Yvelines, Fance. Alex makes electric, acoustic and bass guitars.

Source: Heaven Guitars website (22 December 2017)


Picador guitars were relabelled Martin or Sigma acoustic guitars - that failed cosmetic quality control checks. Underneath the Picador headstock label is typically the Sigma or Martin logo. C.F. Martin first trademarked Picador brand and logo in 1974, but the trademark expired in 1996.


Le Domino

The Le Domino line of instruments was made in Chicago by J.R. Stewart from 1926 to 1930 and included ukuleles, banjos and guitars. JR Stewart had worked for Harmony in the 1920s before starting his own business in 1925. In 1928 Stewart bought the rights to manufacture Washburn instruments from Lyon and Healy. The best known Le Domino instruments are the banjo-ukuleles which had inlaid dominos in a circle on the back of the resonator, the sides of the rim, and the fingerboard. Regal took over the Le Domino brand in 1930 following the bankruptcy of JR Stewart, and made Le Domino instruments for a while.


Sano was formed as an accordion company in 1951 in New Jersey by Nick Sano, an accordion player; Joe Zonfrilli, an electronics technician; and Lou Iorio (Zonfrilli's brother-in-law) a music teacher.  Stanley Michael provided electronics consultancy services to Sano but was not officially part of the company. Michael developed an accordion pickup for Sano around 1951 and in 1953 Jack Gentul joined the company as an electronics designer. From 1953 until 1964 Gentul designed the circuits for all Sano's tube amplifiers. Being primarily an accordion company Sano's tube amps were initially voiced to fit accordions and vocal microphones but soon they developed amps for guitars as well. Sano mainly made amps under their own brand name, but they also made  Hohner and Excelsior branded amps. Sano amps are developing a reputation as an affordable option for great vintage tone. Sano also sold guitars - these were imported from Italy (and possibly Japan).


Orbra Wallace "App" Appleton (1902 - 1994) was a musician and inventor, who reputedly made the first solid bodied electric guitar in 1941. Appleton showed his design to Gibson in 1943 but they did not take up his idea at the time. The 1941 App guitar had a single cutaway solid pine body (remarkably similar to the later Les Paul design) combined with an unfinished Gibson neck and single pickup. This first model even had fine-tuners on the tailpiece. This APP guitar was displayed in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Appleton ran a music store in Burlington, Iowa and claimed that salesmen for the major guitar makers had come by his store and seen his invention before coming out with their own solid-bodied electric guitars.


French luthier Paul Lairat started making instruments in 1991 and opened his own workshop in 2000. Lairat is best known for his bass guitars. By 2012 he had made 108 instruments, including electric and acoustic guitars and basses.

Source: Paul Lairat website (7 December 2017)

Larson (Brothers)

Carl (1867-1946) and August Larson (1873-1944) emigrated to Chicago in the late 1880s from Sweden. They worked for various Chicago guitar makers before buying Maurer & Company in 1900 when Robert Maurer retired. They established a workshop on Elm Street, and sold their guitars directly to the public. Their guitars were sold under the Maurer brand name but also as Euphonon, Prairie State, Stetson and Stahl. Larson Brothers flat-top acoustic guitars were popular with recording artists as their clear tone was well suited to the radio.

In 2013 the Larson brand name was revived for a range of acoustic guitars by Maurice Dupont in Boutier Saint-Trojan, France.

Source: Larson Brothers Registry (4 December 2017)


William C Stahl was a Milwaukee sheet music and instrument retailer. Some Stahl labelled guitars and mandolins/mandolas/mandocellos were made by the Larson Brothers of Chicago.

Source: William C Stahl mandolin label - Reverb.com

Source: Larson Brothers - Stahl registry


Delwyn Langejans started making guitars in 1971 in Holland, Michigan. From that time until his retirement in 2012 Langejans made over 1200 instruments, including acoustic guitars, banjos, harp guitars, and a few electric guitars. He is best known for his dreadnought and grand concert acoustic guitars.

Source: Langejans Guitars website (1 December 2017)


Brad Lowe started Lowe Custom Guitars in 2009 in Oldsmar, Florida with the aim of combining his interests in the music, visual art and industrial design. Lowe Customs solid-body electric guitars and basses with unique elements of body style, finish or textures while combining a wide variety of materials and finishes.

Source: Lowe Custom Guitars website (1 December 2017)

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