1. #1

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    I've been curious about the oval sound hole Howard Roberts guitar ever since I saw a picture of one back in the 70's. Curious, but not driven to own one, especially with the current asking prices for Epiphone models made in the '60's or the Gibson ones made in the 70's. The Japanese copies don't come up all that often around here. There's nothing quite like it; it's a cool guitar.

    I recently came upon a Japanese copy for sale locally, apparently made during the so-called lawsuit era. This one is branded 'MANN', which was a brand owned by the Great West Import Co. in Canada back in the 70's and 80's. The MANN guitars of the 70's were apparently sourced from Fujigen Gakki who also made Ibanez branded guitars for Hoshino. The one I picked up appears to be absolutely identical to the Ibanez model 2453 offered in 1976 and 1977. There's no serial number or label on it. It's quite well made and plays well; electronics all good. It has the same Star Tuners found on Ibanez models from the same era, same headstock inlay and same hardware as the Ibanez models, etc. And the same headstock shape that was the subject of the Gibson/Hoshino lawsuit.

    Japanese MANN Howard Roberts guitar (Ibanez 2453 ?)-20210123_205324-jpgJapanese MANN Howard Roberts guitar (Ibanez 2453 ?)-20210123_205350-jpgJapanese MANN Howard Roberts guitar (Ibanez 2453 ?)-20210123_205549-jpgJapanese MANN Howard Roberts guitar (Ibanez 2453 ?)-20210123_212420-jpgJapanese MANN Howard Roberts guitar (Ibanez 2453 ?)-ibanez-1976-howard-roberts-2453-2-png
    Last edited by va3ux; 01-24-2021 at 10:39 PM.

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  3. #2

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    Cool buy! 60's Japanese guitars are very cool indeed.

    I always say, Ibanez, MANN, Greco, Firstman -- when only a Fujigen-Gakki will do!

    Congrats...

  4. #3

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    Congrats! Looks like a find.

    Sorry to digress a bit, but the Epi headstock inlay has always intrigued me. It's quite complicated, yet very common even on later, inexpensive Korean and Chinese Epi archtops (Emperor Regent, Broadway) and thin bodies (Sheraton). Their fretboard inlays and multiple bindings are also much more elaborate than on Gibson ES-175s or 335s, for example. Today's CNC routing / laser engraving technologies no doubt enable such detail on mass-produced items, so the contrast makes me wonder how old technology is Gibson actually using in its U.S. works? In terms of automation, the newer factories in the Far East appear to be from another planet, an apparent paradox given the opposite difference in labor costs.

  5. #4

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    Good buy, I had a Greco variant. Yours likely has a Maxon pickup.

    Play it in good health

  6. #5

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    Very nice score - congrats!

  7. #6

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    Va3ux de kc2xu... we have reversed end letters...cool! We’re moving soon so I’m all packed up and off the air. SSB voice. TS890s, TS440sat, TS830s, HQ180a(for heat)))

    Best of fun with that Mann it looks great. Fugijen rules!

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    Va3ux de kc2xu... we have reversed end letters...cool! We’re moving soon so I’m all packed up and off the air. SSB voice. TS890s, TS440sat, TS830s, HQ180a(for heat)))

    Best of fun with that Mann it looks great. Fugijen rules!
    KC2XU de VA3UX : good luck with the move JK. And get back on the air when time permits. I've been off the air during this solar minimum but looking to start-up again soon as our sun spots return (I hope). TS590G + TS-930S; no more amps; mostly CW.

  9. #8

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    Very cool guitar, indeed! Congratulations, and play it in good health!

    Does the mid knob work? Is it cut or boost?

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Very cool guitar, indeed! Congratulations, and play it in good health!

    Does the mid knob work? Is it cut or boost?
    Yup, it works. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure what I'm hearing with that control. Perhaps mid range roll-off. It's quite a noticeable although not huge change. Between the 2 tone controls, there are some very pleasing tones coming out of this guitar. The stock pickup sounds great as-is and I see no reason to change it.

    There should be an inductor on that middle pot. I'll eventually take this all apart and we'll see then if the inductor is still there or if it was replaced by a cap at some point in the past, which is apparently what people often did if the inductor went open.

    It's a cool guitar. It's 'its own thing'.