New Listing - 01/08/2017!
Selling on commission for a customer, who is a long-established gigging Guitarist & Singer, now playing mainly other Stringed Instruments.
If you follow my listings you will know that, amongst all the other guitar types I sell regularly, Vintage Japanese-made guitars, both 6 string & 12-String, are a further speciality.
This is an excellent, and interesting guitar which the owner bought new....model is shown in the 1976 Ibanez Catalog extract included with the photo images. Described as "Full Reflection Braceless Construction", the guitar has been described elsewhere as "Swellback", but it is otherwise a traditional dreadnought acoustic, with superb mature sound, combined with great character and playability, offering so much more vibe, which you just don't get in any modern instrument.
Stock Number: VTGC1039.
The various Ibanez Serial Number guides indicate that serial numbers were introduced in 1975, with one letter character followed by a 6-number series. This guitar has the 6-number series, without the letter character, but in that it is the same as the details of the few other examples of the 952 model which I have come across, which have 77xxxx numbers, but this has serial number 760329, which combined with the 1976 Ibanez Vintage Guitar Catalog scan, included with the photo images, clearly dates the guitar. The model is also in the 1975 Catalog, but I could find no indication of later production of the model, so I assume the limited production run accounts for the present day scarcity of the model.
Although more typically dreadnought "square-shouldered" than the iconic Gibson models, the shaping of the tortoiseshell style scratchplate does give the guitar a similar look to the J45/J50 models which carry a scratchplate with similar outline.
The nicely coloured and grained book-matched Spruce top has smart Black-edged multiple binding, matching soundhole rings, Rosewood bridge, and that J45/J50 style original Tortoiseshell effect pickguard. I can see why at least one other seller has been deceived into thinking that the guitar has a solid top....the rim around the soundhole is shaped deliberately to make you think that, but professional guitar sellers like that one should not be mislead that readily....not even the maker's original catalog made that claim, with a description reading "Selected, well-seasoned Spruce top, for full, rich tone and volume".
However, it is the back which is rather special. Many of the MIJ guitars of this era do feature slightly arched backs, but this is something quite different. Catalog featured as "Full Reflection Braceless Construction", the bullet points then include, "Braceless Mahogany back provides incredibly powerful, natural sound". Seen elsewhere described as "Swellback", the degree of arch to the back is considerably greater. It's condition is testament to the long-term viability of this construction method.
The matching Mahogany sides have single Black binding, with chrome endpin strap button. Black-faced traditionally shaped headstock has individual enclosed machineheads/tuners & black/white bell-shaped trussrod cover.
Scale length is 640mm./25 1/4" with Rosewood fingerboard with dot-inlay position markers. The only significant dimension detailed in the Catalog description is in fact wrong! It suggests 1 3/4" "neck"....if neck means nut width (and I don't know where else they would be measuring it), then this is incorrect. In "old money" it actually measures 1 11/16" or 42.9mm. With quite a slim profile, the C shape neck is very comfortable.
There is much discussion regarding solid/laminate tops, in relation to Vintage Guitars. I have to say that it is not a subject that exercises me greatly, preferring to take the judgement from my ears! I should just say that if this guitar did have a solid wood top, it would probably be no longer with us! The major advantage of the high quality laminate woods used by the Hoshino Gakki factories at this period, which was key to their success, is that they combined exceptionally good sound qualities with strength and durability; particularly the freedom from cracking which has affected so many solid topped guitars over the years.
The guitar is in overall very good condition for a little over 40 year old! Inevitably it does have little nicks and minor scratches from honest normal usage, but very, very little and nothing at all unsightly or detrimental. Very little play wear is evident to the frets and fingerboard.
As far as I can see it is all original, and there are no signs of any past repairs. The guitar has been inspected with the highly-respected luthier I work with, and a repair carried out to the Rosewood bridge in his workshop, under his supervision.
It was noted that a fine crack was beginning to run through the bridge pin holes. Instead of a temporary repair, such as injecting glue into the crack, which would not have held long term, and any the crack was too fine, a permanent repair was completed, by routing out the affected section of the bridge and painstakingly shaping & glueing a new Rosewood insert, then re-drilling the pin holes....repair now only apparent on close inspection.
Otherwise only general clean-up & polish, followed by fitting new strings and set-up. The original individual enclosed machineheads with chrome winder keys show only a little age-related discolouration, work fine. I think you will see from the photos that this remains a very handsome guitar - but with that quality of sound, this is a player's guitar - it is no wall-hanging ornament!
For a full-size dreadnought guitar, it offers a really manageable, slim and comfortable, "C" profile neck, with approx. 42.9mm. nut width, therefore similar to many modern acoustics. It plays very nicely with an excellent low action around 1.75mm./2.5mm. at the 12th fret. It has been re-strung with a set of Martin Bronze Custom Light 11-52 strings.
There is no case included in the sale. I may have a traditional case in serviceable condition, or a gig-bag, which fits the guitar, or possibly I may be able to supply a virtually new Hiscox Liteflite hardshell case. If you need a case, and I can marry the guitar to a suitable one, I will be happy to discuss with you a combined price for the guitar and upgraded case, and to amend the invoice accordingly.