Friday, February 15, 2008, 04:56 AM - Catalogs
This is the earliest known Electra catalog and source for Electra model numbers, published by Saint Louis music in 1972. Also included are Apollo guitars, which were dreadful entry level with thin bodies and all the worst of early japanese guitars. By contrast, Electra guitars were serious, professional instruments.


Be sure to click on the images, they're actually quite large.


Credit and thanks to Leia for supplying these essential scans.


























Wednesday, January 23, 2008, 03:00 PM - Models
Set neck double cutaway with maple body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, black hardware, graphite nut and Bendmaster FT two-post bridge, locking nut, two humbuckers, one single-coil pickup with three pull-switch knobs (V-T-T) for coil tap, fat (center on) and phase; and 3-way selector switch.




X199CR (H-S-H)(Candy Red/black stripe)

X199SS (H-S-H)(Silverstone/black stripe)

X199W (H-S-H)(white)

X199BL (H-S-H)(black)




The Spectrum FX carried on as flagship model under the new naming system. Still set neck, it carried like the LX an updated Bendmaster FT bridge that added fine tuners to a slim cast body plate, and a matching locking nut. This system is indeed bulletproof, I’ve shipped tuned locked FX’s across the country and stored them for months in varying humidity and they’ve stayed dead in tune.


Dive-bombed with abandon, they return effortlessly in tune, and if that’s what you need, they do it. Beyond this, they play wonderfully and sound fantastic. They truly are the best of a great line of guitars, and deserve to be preserved and enjoyed.


Ironically, the FX was the only model to carry a flat black stripe along the center of the body. Although it looked sleek, it also resembled a neck-through guitar, which it is not, and upon looking more closely some people respond as though it were a phony, rather than the good guitar that it is. An unfortunate styling note, perhaps, but not a reason to scratch off the black paint as some owners did. Years later the original paint looks really good, both intact and with moderate wear, as the flat black is an ideal surface for the beautiful patina of handling even without serious abuse.


In 1986 a new neck joint was used, lacking the step of the previous joint, which resembled similar neck joints of other Electras. The new joint was deeply countoured, allowed unprecedented access to upper frets, and it was in most respects the same neck joint offered as a new feature in Matsumoku’s own Westones in 1983 in the UK and abroad.


As far as I have seen, all fours colors are listed as though all were available, but it appears that red and bronze (Silverstone) were available in the US with the old neck joint in 85, and white and black with the same neck joint were available at the same time only in the UK and abroad. In 1986, the neck joints changed and the colors switched- black and white on in the US with the new joints and red and gold the same way abroad.





Wednesday, January 23, 2008, 02:54 PM - Models



Set neck double cutaway with maple body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, black hardware, graphite nut and Bendmaster two-post bridge, two humbuckers, one single-coil pickup with three pull-switch knobs (V-T-T) for coil tap, fat (center on) and phase; and 3-way selector switch.



X199CR (H-S-H)(Candy Red)

X199BL (H-S-H)(Blue Burst)


In 1984 the X199 appeared as the new flagship of the line, replacing the X149 and X150. Alice Cooper had told us we were all clones, and laminated wood tones and brass hardtail mellowness had to go in favor of candy apple red and black hardware. The X199 was all of that, and not only was its set neck smoothly integrated into its body, its Phoenix lines had been massaged and smoothed. Every X199 feels like it’s had personal attention- today we’d call it ‘custom shop’ treatment and the intention was clear- show a premium model to attract attention and build reputation for quality, and then sell them the cheaper model which is still good quality but oh such a value.


The X199 also had a new generation of MMK45’s that are a noticeable difference from the already excellent MMK45’s. Beyond saying they sound better, they have more dynamic range, more headroom, and a richer tone in-between. Whatever Tom and his buddies had done in the latest generation of pickups, it was good mojo, and all the flagship models got them, including also the Dimension IV and Monark when they appeared.





Wednesday, January 23, 2008, 02:05 PM - Models



Bolt neck double cutaway with maple body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, black hardware, graphite nut and Bendmaster two-post bridge, one humbucker, two single-coil pickups with three pull-switch knobs (V-T-T) for coil tap, fat (center on) and phase; and 3-way selector switch.



X195BL (S-H-S)(Blue Burst)


The X195 is arguably the oddest model in an already remarkably varied lineup of guitars. When it seemed that just about every other pickup configuration had been released, its S-H-S configuration left everyone guessing (and still does). The unusual blue burst finish added to its strangeness.


Designer Tom Presley is reported to have said he liked this configuration best of all, and upon playing it, it’s easy to see why.


The controls are intuitive, like the H-S-H, and immediately offer a wide range of tones. The difference is that the X195 offers a wider range of single coil tones, and then adds a humbucker in the middle to add a warmer tone- rather than the other way around. As a result, an X195 can do a better job of ‘passing for a strat’ although its tonal range is much wider than that.


It was the last of the new variations in Electra Phoenix. By 1984 its tekglide trem was superceded, leaving the X195 discontinued in favor of more familiar configurations.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008, 02:03 PM - Models
Bolt neck double cutaway with maple body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, black hardware, graphite nut and Bendmaster FT two-post bridge, locking nut, two humbuckers, one single-coil pickup with three pull-switch knobs (V-T-T) for coil tap, fat (center on) and phase; and 3-way selector switch.

X198CR (Candy Red)
X198MBK (Metallic Black)
X198PB (Pearl Burst)
X198CB (Candy Blue)
X198BB (Blue Burst)
X198SWG (Snow White Graphic)


In 1985 the X198 replaced the X189, upgraded not only with a new brand and model name, but a new tremolo system with locking nut and Bendmaster FT bridge, whose cast plate held fine tuners. The tremolo frenzy had continued, and although reasonable minds might have argued that a correctly adjusted full-floating bridge out to offer plenty enough tuning stability if used carefully, wilder voices insisted that the only way to go truly crazy and return to tune again was a locking nut, and that meant a bridge with fine tuners. Unlike the cheaper Bendmaster DX, which used a stamped plate which protruded rather far from the guitar body, the FT was slim and low profile.


In the new letter designation system for model ranges, the LX was considered the full professional line, and had the best of everything, excepting only the set neck of the FX series.


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