Prince (Tsushinkogyo)

Prince Tsushinkogyo Co. Ltd.  (Prince Telecommunication and Engineering) was founded in 1950  in Nagoya, Japan. They concentrated on making tuners and solid state musical instrument amplifiers which were sold under the Prince brand names as well as others (such as Memphis). The company began to use the Arion brand name in 1980 and began making guitar effects pedals. The company's fortunes declined in the 1990s and by 1997 Arion was sold to the Ueno Kaihatsu Center, who continued making pedals and tuners, but discontinued the amplifiers.


The Valco Manufacturing Company was established in the 1930s by the former owners of the National Dobro Company; Victor Smith, Al Frost, and Louis Dopyera. The company name was a combination of their initials (V.A.L.) plus "co" for company. Valco was a large scale producer of budget instruments including:  acoustic guitars, metal-bodied resonator guitars, electric lap steel guitars, and vacuum tube amplifiers under various house brand names including Supro, Airline, Oahu, Melofonic and National. They also made amplifiers for several other companies such as Gretsch, Harmony, and Kay. In the 1950s they started making solid body electric guitars. The Valco company merged with Kay Musical Instrument Company in 1967, but the new company soon ran into financial problems and went out of business in 1968.

Source: Supro catalogs 1948 - 1968

Andersen (Brad)

Custom classical guitar maker based in Old Town Albuquerque NM, USA. Also makes steel string guitars and ukeleles.

Music Drive

Music Drive (MD) guitars and basses were made in Korea by Sumer Musical Instruments Company Limited, from around 2000.

Source: Music Drive catalog 2000.


Glen McKerrihan made archtops from the mid 1990s to the early 2000s. McKerrihan made guitars to custom order and so there are relatively few around.

McKay (Joe)

Joe McKay started making acoustic instruments in the mid 1990s in a shed next to his house. He started by studying violin making with the late Robert Rife. McKay combined this luthiery training with the principles of engineering and physics learned from his college education to develop acoustic guitars with original bracing patterns and hand tuned tops. McKay Guitars produced a limited number of custom handmade guitars each year - but circa 2018 the website was inactive.

Source: McKay Guitars website (archived 2013)


The MCI Intertek brand was established by John Burkhead (as part of MCI, Inc.), and later aquired by Fred Gretsch. MCI Intertek guitars were budget low quality instruments, made in Japan between 1983 and 1985. Gene Fields worked on the research and development of MCI pedal steel guitars. Some players complained that the Saxon brand pickups used in these guitars were prone to microphonic feedback.


Guild Freshman M-65 electric guitar

The Guild Freshman M-65 was introduced in the late 1950s. The Freshman M-65 was a compact archtop electric with a hollow body and single pickup. It was available in both full sized (24.75" scale length, weight 5lbs) and three-quarter sized versions (22.75" scale length, weight 4.75lbs)

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Ibanez AE20N electric classical guitar (1994)

The Ibanez AE20N was produced from 1994 to 1996. It was the classical version of the AE20, made from the same materials but with nylon strings and a classical headstock & bridge.

Source: Ibanez catalog 1994

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Andrew White

Andrew White is a West Virginia luthier with nearly 20 years experience. He currently offers four distinct series of acoustic guitars: Luthier’s Collection, Deckers Creek Series, Signature Series, and Production Series. The Luthiers Collection is hand made by Andrew White as custom one of a kind models with luxury features. The Deckers Creek Series is designed by Andrew White using traditional designs with Andrew’s attention to detail and craftsmanship. The Signature Series uses White’s revolutionary body styles and traditional bracing. The Production Series guitars are more affordable being factory manufactured guitars (to the same specifications as the Signature Series).

Source: Andrew White Guitars website (8 March 2018)

Howard Model S

Howard Model S (Student Model) electric guitar

The Howard model S (Student model) was a solid body electric guitar with a fibreglass neck & reverse headstock. The single pickup had impedance of 7 KOhms, and was controlled by chicken head tone and volume controls. All electronics were mounted on the black finished aluminum pickguard. The guitar was finished using a speckle-tone effect in either black & white or tan & brown.

Source: Howard guitars flyer (late 1950s)

Source: Howard guitar advert

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Tom "Howard" McCormick was a Phoenix based electronics wizard who started making custom amplifiers for Duane Eddy in the late 1950s. McCormick's Howtronics company introduced a Howard brand of amplifiers which were some of the cleanest and loudest amps on the market at the time. These Howard amps had closed back cabinets and 15" JBL speakers - like the Fender Showman which appeared in 1961.

McCormick also introduced a range of Howard brand electric guitars. These had radical futuristic designs and used some unconvential construction features like fibreglass necks and reverse headstocks. These Howard guitars of the late 1950s and early 1960s are very rare. Howard even made a double neck model for Duane Eddy.


Riversong Guitars was founded by Mike Miltimore, who worked with his father Lee Miltimore at Lee's Music Store. The father and son team brought luthier Mike Trelenberg on board in 2006 to help them with their new acoustic guitar design and in 2012 they launched the first Riversong acoustic guitar. The Riversong guitars have removable adjustable necks, made from one piece of wood that extends down the entire length of the guitar to the end block. The fretboard is attached only to the neck and not the soundboard, which Miltimore claims eliminates various common problems such as a 14th-fret ‘hump’. This design reduces the need for soundboard bracing and kerfing. The guitar also has a adjustable neck angle which allows for optimum break angle over the bridge.

Source: Riversong Guitars website (5 March 2018)


Paul Tebbutt founded Pilgrim Guitars in the 1970s in Leicestershire, UK as a small scale producer of acoustic guitars. Production stopped n the mid 1980s. In 2009 JHS and Paul Tebbutt joined forces to bring the Pilgrim brand name back to the market. The range now includes Pilgrim banjos, G banjos, tenors, ukulele banjos, bluegrass models, resonator and long neck models. There are also Pilgrim Mandolin, Mandolas and acoustic guitars.

Source: JHS Pilgrim website (1 March 2018)

Burnet (Mark)

Mark Burnet studied stringed instrument making at Anniesland college in Glasgow and then worked with a classical guitar maker where he learned traditional Spanish construction techniques. He then studied at the Instrument making school 'Centrum voor Muziekinstrumentenbouw' in Puurs, Belgium. On his return to Scotland he established his own workshop in East Lothian where he makes acoustic and classical guitars by hand, as well as offering guitar repairs and set-ups.

Source: Mark Burnet Guitars website (28 February 2018)

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.

Matsuoka (Ryoji)

Ryoji Matsuoka began as a self taught classical guitar maker in post World War II Japan. The Matsuoka Musical Instrument Company Ltd. was founded in 1959 and was still active in 2014 as a classical guitar and acoustic guitar manufacturer.

T. Matsuoka classical guitars are made by the son of Ryoji Matsuoka.

Source: Ryoji Matsuoka classical guitar catalog 1976.

Source: Matsuoka Gakki website (archived 2014)

Martin lawsuit acoustic guitar logos

In 1970s Japan there was a healthy industry making copies of the popular Martin dreadnought acoustic models. These are often referred to as "lawsuit guitars" because Martin contacted these Japanese manufacturers in the 1970s (or early 1980s) asking them to stop copying their logo. I don't know whether there was ever an actual lawsuit. Many of these copies had logos that also copied the Martin style. Here are some of the ones I have found so far:


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