Star Fire

StarFire was a budget guitar brand of EKS Technology (Nagoya, Japan) for electric and bass guitars. More recently the StarFire brand has been used for budget acoustic guitars made in China by the Eikosha Musical Instrument Manufacturing Co Ltd for distribution in the UK. Neither is related to the Guild Starfire models.


Oni was started in 2005 by Daniel Memory, who had around ten years experience of repair work at that point. The first Oni instruments were extended range 7 and 8 string electric guitars. In 2012 the e-scale Oni concept was born and previous options were dropped due to the build complexity of this design.As of 2018 this model is now known as Essi and is available in 6, 7 and 8 string versions. The Brute model was introduced in 2017, with a more straightforward design than the Essi. Daniel also occasional builds "Specials" which are guitar building challenges, driven by an initial idea and improvised from there.

Source: Oni website (15 October 2018

Ellis (Tom)

Tom Ellis of Ellis Mandolins, builds one of a kind, hand made mandolins in Austin, Texas.  Ellis has been making mandolins since 1977, when he opened a workshop in Austin. Business was boosted in 1981 when Dave Grisman listed Ellis in the top 5 mandolin makers in an interview for Frets Magazine. Ricky Scaggs was also an early endoser of Ellis mandolins. In the 1990s Tom Ellis branched out into making pearl inlays for the guitar industry using CNC when he founded Precision Pearl Inc. Tom has also used this CNC technology to help in the rough cutting of mandolin parts since 2004 (these pieces are then hand finished and assembled by hand).

Source: Ellis mandolins website (13 October 2018)


The PHRED brand began in 2011 when founder Freddy Rose collaborated with an international guitar maker on the design for the TA-01 prototype.  PHRED instruments are made overseas to designs inspired by the guitars of Phish, The Grateful Dead and String Cheese Incident.

source: PHRED website (12 Octoboer 2018)


OLP (Officially Licensed Product) was a division of Elite Music Brands and HHI Music (Hanser Holdings International). The OLP website launched in 2002, displaying OLP guitars and basses which were licensed copies of Ernie Ball Music Man models. OLP also worked with other brands like Traben Bass Company, Orange County Choppers, McSwain Guitars and Coffin Cases to produce lower cost licensed copies of their products. OLP guitars and basses were made in China and had a good reputation for quality - typically using Korean hardware. OLP Guitars were sold exclusively through a network of authorized OLP Dealers. The OLP brand was retired by HHI in 2009 when Music Man launched the Sterling brand for its entry level models.


Malcolm Weaver studied classical guitar making at Newark and Sherwood College in Nottinghamshire (UK), under the tutelage of Roy Courtnall Summerfield and Tony Johnson, where he qualified with distinction. During this time, he developed a particular interest in small bodied steel-string guitars, which inspired him to explore different possibilities of sound by experimenting with woods, techniques, bracing methods etc. He started making parlour guitars in 2001 and used the Olivewood Guitars brand. His workshop was in Newark, Nottinghamshire. The design of the Olivewood parlour guitar was inspired by the Martin 0045, but was complimented by subtle design features and a distinctive Spanish Olivewood rosette. Although acoustic guitars were his main focus, Malcolm Weaver also produced custom electric guitars and basses. Weaver closed down Olivewood Guitars in 2011.

Old Scratch Fabrications

Old Scratch Fabrications guitars and basses are hand made by Markus Schaffer. Schaffer has been making instruments since 2001 and founded the Old Scratch Fabrications brand in 2006. Originally located in Manhattan, New York City - Schaffer moved his workshop to Brooklyn in 2015. Old Scratch instruments are made from figured wood, often using pieces with interesting knots.

Source: Old Scratch Fabrications website (9 October 2018)

YAMAHA RGX 420S D6 (Drop 6)

Yamaha RGX-420S D6 (gray) electric guitar

YAMAHA manufactured the RGX 420 SD6 (Drop 6) between 2001 and 2003. It was a baritone (longer scale) version of the RGX 420 S, which allows for a lower tuning. The RGX-420S D6 had a solid alder super-strat body (Satin Black, Satin Gray or Metallic Green finish). Pickups were 2 humbuckers with 1 selector switch and a bypass "blower" switch. The black hardware included a double locking tremolo.

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Gibson Les Paul Old Hickory

Gibson Old Hickory Les Paul electric guitar

The Gibson Les Paul Old Hickory guitars were made around 1998 from historic trees downed by a tornado at The Hermitage.  The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson (AKA Old Hickory), suffered extensive damage in the storm, especially the loss of a 275-year-old tulip poplar tree - a state record holder in age and size. This poplar tree was already an old tree when Andrew Jackson lived at The Hermitage from 1804 to 1845.

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The Jacobacci brand was founded in the Parisien district of Menilmontant during 1920s by Vincent Jacobacci. Jacobacci was an Italian immigrant from Catania, who began by making banjos and  guitars. Vincent's son Roger Jacobacci, decided in the early fifties to start making  electric guitars, initially by adding pickups to the existing Jacobacci acoustic guitars.

Jacobacci built guitars for the Major Conn Paris store following an agreement in 1956, and these guitars have the brand name Major. Major models included the Royal, the Soloist and the Super Deluxe. Other models included the semi-hollow bodied Texas and the solid bodied Ohio. Some famous French rock and roll bands (like Johnny Hallyday, the Pirates and the Vatours) played the Texas and Ohio models, increasing the desirability of Jacobacci guitars with the French public.


Occhineri electric guitars are hand-made by Peter A. Occhineri in Connecticut.



Ron and Susan Wickersham founded Alembic in 1969 as a consulting firm that worked with the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills Nash & Young to improve the quality of their live sound and live recordings. After improving the technical aspects of the PA systems and live recording techniques, Alembic turned their attention to the electronics used in the guitars and basses the musicians were playing  to further improve the live sound. Touring bands were experiencing was too much electrical interference and unreliability with their instruments. Ron Wickersham designed low impedance pickups to increase the bandwidth. This also made the pickups low output and so he had to design an active on-board preamp to boost the signal. These were the first guitars with active electronics.


.strandberg* Guitars grew out of a project called the Ergonomic Guitar System started  in 2007 by Ola Strandberg.  Ola had been making guitars since the mid eighties, but his innovative Ergonomic Guitar System designs quickly gained momentum through Internet forums. Soon he was able leave his day job in software, patent his EndurNeck™ neck shape and devote his time to making .strandberg* Guitars.  .strandberg* Guitars focus on egonomics with a headless design, comfortable EndurNeck profile, fanned frets and ergonomic body shape that enables multiple playing positions. .strandberg* Guitars' use proprietary hardware and often come in 6, 7 and 8 string models as well as basses.

Source: Strandberg Guitars website (17 September 2018)


Fender SJ-65 S acoustic guitar

This information comes from A.Myers an owner of a 1999 Fender SJ-65S. He was curious to find out more about the history of these Fender SJ models so he emailed Fender, and they replied with the following information:

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Jaakko Noso (1913 - 2013) was a Finnish instrument maker. Noso made his first violin while in the army in 1933 and following the second world war began to sell his violins and guitars in local music shops. He opened his own factory in Järvenpää in 1945 where it ran until 1965. The factory was situated at Setulantie 13 - opposite the current music school (Keskisen Uudenmaan Musiikkiopisto), but was replaced by a block of apartments in 1973. At the peak of production in the late 1950s there were 12 people working there and it produced around 10,000 instruments in total - making Noso second only to Landola as a Finnish guitar maker. With success came large tax bills which led to the eventual closure of the Noso factory in 1965. Jaakko Nosos left Finland and moved to Vancouver, Canada. Noso made some instruments in Canada but it was difficult to compete with cheap Japanese instruments in the late 1960s.


Steve Hinde (Hinde Custom Instruments) has been building custom made instruments since 2002. Hinde makes: mandolins, mandolas, octave mandolins, acoustic and electric guitars, resonator guitars, electric mandolins and electric bass guitars. Hinde has earned a reputation for building great custom mandolins and guitars.


Dallas was a UK musical instrument manufacturing and distribution company, founded by John E. Dallas. Dallas began making banjos in 1873, eventually moving to premises at 415 Strand. In 1905-1906 Dallas' three sons were given directorships and the firm's title changed to John E. Dallas and Sons.

By the late 1920s, Dallas instruments were being mass produced under the brand name "Jedson." derived from Dallas' initials, "J.E.D", and "Sons". When John Dallas died in 1921 the form became a private limited company

In 1926 The firm moved to larger premises, at 6-10 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2, and became a wholesale importer and distributer of musical instruments. They moved again to Dallas moved to Ridgmount Street in 1937 (concinding with the introduction of the Ridgmount brand), before eventuallu settling in Clifton Street, EC2.

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