bass guitars

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Palm Bay

The Palm Bay Guitar brand has been around since 1991. The company was founded in the UK by Andrew Mackenzie, who initially made Palm Bay guitars by hand before adding Korean made models to the line-up. Their mainstay is heavy rock superstrat electric guitars but they also produce fixed bridge guitars, basses and electro-acoustics.  Models include:

  • Typhoon 1991-1999. Models: 1, 2, 3, S, Cyrka (Hoodlum)
  • Tidalwave 1991-2002. Models: 1, 2, 3, Custom, R, EXP
  • Cyclone 1995 - onwards. Models: P6, P7, SE, SE-X, SD-X, P7XR, P7XS
  • Pacific Bass 1999-2001. 4 String
  • Atlantic Bass 1999-2001. 4 String
  • Lightning 1999-2002. Models: F-3, F-2, F-1
  • KG-20 1995-1997
  • WG-30 1997-2002
  • FC-8 2012-2014
  • Tempest 2014 - onwards
  • Avalanche XX 1 and 2 2015 - onwards

Source: Palm Bay Guitars website (2 November 2018)


Otwin was established in 1886 in Shilbach, Germany by Franz Otto Windisch (born in 1866). Franz Otto Windisch had previously apprenticed as a violin maker and worked in Markneukirchen for Gläsel & Herwig. In 1903 Windisch opened another Otwin factory in Schöneck. This branch quickly became the main factory, with up to 120 employees making stringed and plucked instruments. Franz Otto died in 1935 but his son Johannes took over the company, and his cousin Friedrich Paul Windish joined him as a partner in 1937. Otwin also used other brand names including: OW, Owi and Owophone. The company carried on until 1973 when it was taken over by  VEB Musima. In 1984 the Schöneck Otwin factory was closed, and Musima itself filed for bankruptcy in 2004.

Source: Schlag Gitarren - Otwin (31 October 2018).


Osmond Guitars have been made in Taiwan since 1978. The range includes classical, acoustic, electric and bass guitars.

Osborne (Guitar Co. & Sound Labs)

The Osborne guitar Company was established in the mid 1970s by jazz guitarist Mary Osborne and her husband Ralph Scaffidi, a jazz trumpeter. Scaffidi had previously worked as a sales rep for Mosrite and also founded his own company,  Rosac Electronics which made fuzz pedals. The Osborne Guitar Company was founded to make solidbody electric guitars and basses. They hired experienced guitar builders and Mary Osborne was involved with the design of the instruments. They had trouble breaking into the electric guitar market so Scaffidi took a new direction and focused on making amplifiers and PA systems and the company became Osborne Sound Laboratories.

Source: Vintage Guitar Magazine, Mary Osborne - Charlie’s Angel. By Jim Carlton. February 2011


Ortega was established in 1994 by the German musical instrument distributor Roland Meinl (Meinl Cymbals & Percussion). At the beginning Ortega Guitars was a classical guitar company with a range of 6 classical guitar models all made in Spain using traditional methods. By 2018 their product line had expanded considerably and included acoustic & classical guitars, acoustic basses, mandolins, ukuleles and banjos as well as accessories and effects for acoustic instruments. By this time most Ortega instruments were made in China although there was still some Spanish manufacture.

Source: Ortega Guitars website (25 October 2018)


Orlando acoustic & electric guitars, basses and ukuleles were made in Japan in the 1970s. Some also made in Korea. The electrics at least were supposedly made by Matsumoku.


The Orpheum brand started in the late 19th century as American banjo company. In the 1930s Orpheum added acoustic guitars and other instruments to their line up, but the brand was discontinued during World War II. From the late 1940s to 1960s the Orpheum brand was owned by Maurice Lipsky Music Company Incorporated of New York who sold Orpheum electric and acoustic guitars as well as mandolins and banjos. At the start of the 1960s Orpheum ceased manufacture of American instruments and production was moved to Italy where Wandré made Orpheum branded Tri-Lam, Rock Oval and other guitars. From 1963 manufacture switched to Egmond, then from 1967-1968 Welson made a violin shaped Orpheum model.


The Orville by Gibson brand was launched in 1988 when Yamano Gakki (Gibson's Japanese distributor) and Gibson decided to expand the Epiphone Japan model range to include solid body models. The Orville brand was used for these new solid body electric guitars, in honour of Gibson's founder Orville Gibson. These models were a step up from the Korean made Epiphone models but cheaper than the Gibson USA guitars. By 1992 the Orville range include electric, bass, acoustic and classical guitars. The Orville brand was discontinued in 1998, when the Epiphone range was epanded.

Source: Orville by Gibson catalogs 1988 - 1992.


Jeff Senn founded Senn Guitars in 2003. His Fender inspired double-cutaway Fullerton and single-cut Pomona guitars are played by Tom Bukovac, Jedd Hughes, Rob McNelly, John Fogerty, Steve Wariner, Bruce Springsteen, and Audley Freed. In 2016 Senn introduced the Guyatone / Silvertone / Teisco inspired Original Senn Model One guitar. Senn also licensed his Model One design to Eastwood who make "Senn by Eastwood" models.

Source: Making Perfect Senns. Zac Childs. Vintage Guitar Magazine. April 2016


Diego Grinfeld and Dan Orr founded Orfeld Guitars in 2016.  Diego Grinfeld began designing guitars in 2008, focusing on a composite electric guitar design - which he later patented. Dan Orr has been building musical gear since 2006 with an emphasis on guitar electronics, effect pedals and pre-amps.

Source: Orfeld Guitars website (18 October 2018)

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.


Don Oriolo founded the Oriolo Guitar Company in 2010. Oriolo had worked in the music industry for most of his career as a musician, songwriter, producer and execuitve at music publishing companies. More recently Don has been the CEO of Felix the Cat Productions, Inc (his father is cartoonist Joe Oriolo -  creator of Casper the Freindly Ghost who also bought the rights to Felix the Cat). He brought his acoustic and electric guitar sketches to the Felix the Cat art department, who developed his concepts into finalised designs. Oriolo’s cartoonish and colorful designs – many of which featured a Felix theme were indtroduced at NAMM 2010. Since then the line up has been expanded with more conventional looking models including acoustic guitars and Kahuna ukuleles.

Source: Oriolo Guitar Company website (16 October 2018)


J. Rusty Shaffer  founded Optek Music Systems to manufacture and distribute the Smart Light (later Fretlight) Guitar and learning system which he invented in 1987. These guitars have LED lights embedded into the fingerboard to show learners where to put their fingers. The earlier models were branded Smart Light (SL) and in 1998 Optek went into partnership with Washburn International to market the Washburn SmartLIGHT Guitar. Some of the SmartLight guitars were manufactured by Samick. Optek Music Systems has now discontinued the SmartLIGHT brand name in favour of the Fretlight brand.

Source: Fretlight website (16 October 2018)


Onyx guitar brand was started by a Melbourne musical instrument distributor who sold Korean made electric guitars and basses from the early 1980s to mid 1990s. They range included the usual Fender and Gibson copies but there were also some Rickenbacker and Mosrite inspired models. The higher end ones were labelled Custom Craft. The early 1990s saw the launch of Onyx superstrats. The brand was discontinued for a while in the mid 1990s but has since been revived and there is a large range of Onyx acoustic, electric and bass guitars which circa 2018 are made in China for distribution in Australia.


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.


Ohio electric guitars and basses were made in France by Jacobacci from the 1950s until around 1966. The Jacobacci Ohio models were typically solid bodied whereas the Texas models were hollow-bodied. Some famous French rock and roll bands (like Johnny Hallyday, the Pirates and the Vatours) played the Ohio models, increasing the desirability of Jacobacci guitars with the French public.

Source: Jacobacci information site (4 October 2018)


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