Retrofret Stock # 7317. Magnatone Zephyr X-5 Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1965), made in Torrance, Ca, serial # 050965, Blonde lacquer with sparkles finish, Appalachian poplar body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original molded black plastic hard shell case. This Magnatone Zephyr is a very interesting 1960's solidbody, from the last series of guitars to carry that venerable California brand. This line was launched in summer 1965 and were out of production within a year or so. These were sleek little twangers dubbed the "Incomparable Magnatone Starstream Slimline (of) personalized electric guitars" The X-5 was the student-level guitar and combines 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 major selling point. The single-sided headstock is fitted with strip Kluson openback tuners. 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 but actually better designed and much more reliably functional. The floating bridge has blade on the bottom that rocks in a "V" shaped piece of metal sunk into the body and individual saddles adjustable for intonation. The trem design is a simple flat plate design instead of the fancier unit used on the higher end models, which was basically a Jazzmaster knockoff. The single coil pickups are similar in size to Rickenbackers, with a metal outer casing and black 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 lower switches are not simple on/off selectors, but include tone-modifying resistors and combine the pickups in sometimes unexpected ways, with a master volume and tone knobs. 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 24 in. (610 mm.). Width of nut is 1 in. (25 mm.). Very clean overall and all original, showing some dings to the bottom edges of the body and light flaking to the back finish. A very nice sounding and playing guitar, complete with the original molded plastic HSC. Excellent Condition.
|1965||Excellent||Blonde lacquer with sparkles||Original Hard|
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