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 was 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 a 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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