Retrofret Stock # 4817. Magnatone Tornado X-15 Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1965), made in Torrance, Ca, serial # 150166, red lacquer finish, Appalachian poplar body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, molded plastic hard shell case. This Magnatone Tornado is an interesting 1960's solidbody, among the last to carry the brand. This line was launched in summer 1965; they are sleek little twangers, Fender inspired, dubbed the "Incomparable Magnatone Starstream Slimline (of) personalized electric guitars" This X-15 Tornado combines some original ideas with Fender-like elements; the body is rather "Stratty" while the bridge, vibrato and electronics are more in the Jazzmaster/Jaguar mold. It's fairly certain that Paul Barth was involved in the Starstream design-the instruments share a "family resemblance" to guitars he marketed under the "Bartell" name. Whatever their pedigree,these are well made, light, handy good sounding guitars.The body is smoothly contoured, with a deeper center blending into a tapered edge. The neck is maple with a rosewood fingerboard; The quality of work is to a higher standard than many 1965 guitars. "American made, by American craftsmen" was a selling point. The single-sided headstock is fitted with strip Kluson Deluxe tuners with safe-T-slot posts. One nifty innovation is a screwed-down metal nutpiece fitted over the strings forcing them down over the zero fret, an interesting idea that works well. The guitar also features a very functional tilt neck adjustment, similar to what Fender used later. Magnatone helpfully put a sticker on the neckplate pointing this out! The floating bridge has blade on the bottom that rocks in a "V" shaped piece of metal sunk into the bodyand individual saddles adjustable for intonation. The trem design is indebted to Fender's Jazzmaster; Magnatone reversed the action of the spring and replaced the locking button with a flange. This "Lever Lock" facility was heavily touted, but functionally nothing Fender hadn't offered. The single coil pickups are similar in size to Rickenbackers, with a metal outer casing and white plastic center. These great sounding units are unique to the Magnatone Starstream, but similar to Bartell pickups produced by Barth in California. The electronics rig is wired to a top-mounted laminated plastic pickguard with the "Magnatone" logo cut through to the contrasting lower level, a nice cosmetic touch. Although the control layout appears straightforward it is oddly complicated. The two volumes are not for individual pickups, but each controls a separate circuit selected by the upper bout switch. The lower switches are not simple on/off selectors, but include tone-modifying resistors and combine the pickups in sometimes unxepected ways! The range of sounds is impressive, from some very funky combinations to a remarkably deep resonant purr for such a "surfy" instrument. One of our 1960's favorites and a great value in a vintage American-made solidbody.Overall length is 39 7/8 in. (101.3 cm.), 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 7/16 in. (3.6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.). Very nice overall-100% original with the original molded HSC. The finish has checked in a serpentine way peculiar to these Magnatones but otherwise a very fine example. A few chips and dings but no serious wear, this guitar has not been played very much. Even includes (in the case) what are probably the original flatwound strings. Excellent Condition.
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