Magnatone TORNADO (X-15)

  • Magnatone Tornado (X-15) electric guitar
    Magnatone Tornado (X-15)


Brand name: 


  • electric guitars

Series name: 

Dates of manufacture: 


The Magnatone X-15 Tornado was an American made solid body electric guitar, introduced in 1965.

BODY: Double cut-away ultra sleek hand contoured body, which is light in weight and precision balanced for comfortable playing.

VIBRATO: Features the “Lever-Lock" vibrato and the fastest playing smooth action neck.

ROCKER BRIDGE Specially designed adjustable "rocker" bridge avoids string breakage.

2 MAGNA PICKUPS: 2 super-sensitive magnetic pick-ups for greater tonal variations. Strings can be self-adjusted both front and rear for more balanced sound.

TILT LOCK NECK Exclusive preset "TILT-NECK" readjusts neck angle without removing neck from body.

STRING NUT Another Magnatone exclusive feature. Special string "NUT" prevents strings from jumping.

SLIDE SWITCHES 2 slide switches produce different rhythm and lead combinations. Lead/Rhythm switch then selects one of 8 different sounds, further modified by tone control and separate Lead & Rhythm volume controls. WOOD: Appalachian fine grained poplar bodies, Northwest Canadian maple necks, imported rosewood fingerboards.

METAL PARTS: All critical metal parts, including screws were made of fine highly polished stainless steel or aluminum, eliminating possible corrosion pitting or rusting.

FINISH: Bodies were hand, rubbed, seven coat processed lacquer (Magnatone exclusive), carefully worked to resist checking due to abrupt temperature changes. Guitar necks were finished with clear coats, except for the metallic black and metallic white models. Available in high lustre: sunburst, blue, red, black or white

PRICE: RRP $260 in 1965

Source: Magnatone catalog 1965.

Specifications (2)


Finish colorsblack finish, blue finish, red finish, white finish
Made inUSA

Prices (2)

1979$20goodThe guitar is red sparkle, but the finish is now seemingly losing its clearcoat, and is shedding tiny gold flakes. There are scratches through to the wood in a few spots. The neck is beautiful figured maple, but does show checking.
1999$100wornStripped and refinished (was black sparkle-now amber varnish). Cracked pick-guard.

Reviews (1)

Magnatone TORNADO (X-15) reviewed by Daniel

Average: 4 (1 vote)
I will admit, the things I've done to this guitar would make some vintage guitar purist cringe. I bought the guitar with a cracked pick guard and the finish stripped off, so the "original" nature of the instrument wasn't a big deal, and there are some "features" that I found irritating. The "floating" bridge is a pain--it moves around if you palm-mute or use the vibrato, which changes your intonation settings, so I stuck some corn dog sticks in the gaps that hold it in place. The unnecessarily complex tone switches and knobs were confusing and the three single-coil pickups were too weak for my taste. I "fixed" both of those problems by tearing out the electronics and putting in two humbuckers, with no switches or anything--just two pickups and two output jacks, and a whole bunch of empty holes in the pick guard. I never found an arm for the vibrato, so I stuck a long bolt that fits in that hole, and use that to operate the vibrato. The plastic knobs broke off the tuners, so I replaced the tuners with the tuners from another guitar whose neck I accidentally snapped. After my modifications and years of abusive guitar techniques, I have to say I love this guitar for how tough it is (unkillable) and it still sounds as good as a guitar I would handle delicately as a porcelain doll.

Gallery (0)

Players (2)

Famous Magnatone TORNADO (X-15) players: