Retro guitars ads rule!


Aah, the 80’s. How I love you so.

After going on tour a few times, you find that you start getting into little routines to break the boredom. Drinking all night and waking up at 4 in the afternoon gets boring after a while. My routine is to scout out the nearest thrift stores. I’ve found some cool leather jackets and stuff through the years. But the real GOLD are the vintage guitar mags. Most guitar players sniff their noses at the articles (Neil Schon?! Who the hell is that?) but I actually only buy them for the amazing ads.

Let us disect my latest purchase, the July 1985 issue of ‘Guitar Player’ magazine.


This particular issue was centered on Eric Clapton. I’m not a massive Slowhand nut, I honestly paid 5 bucks for the ads… here’s the first one.


I’ve always known Carvin to make those cool koa-bodied superstrats and other various strat type guitars. I never knew they made anything this cool. I love the Gibson Flying V headstock and Dean ML style body. What happened to these guitars? Someone must of bought them. I never see them on eBay. Carvin was never really big in Australia, so I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen one. If I found one of these at a pawn brokers… it would be MINE!


Next up is a hilarious ad by Aria Pro II. ‘Bladerunner’ the movie had been out a few years before, so I guess Aria were cashing in on the sci-fi look of their new guitar. I don’t know how the guy can see out of his sunglasses, as the Aria logo is smack over his right eye! And the girl standing behind him is lucky the guitar is there, covering her lack of sci-fi clothes. The guitar itself isn’t too bad. It’s a Jackson-type Explorer with a Kahler trem and blade humbuckers… (hence the ‘blade’ runner ad. GET IT?!) … again, if I found one cheap, I’d grab it.


Next up is a range of guitars from Kaman called ‘Mako’. As a graphic designer, I love this ad. It’s so cheesy. The artwork is airbrushed!!! If I owned a Dodge van, this is what I want painted on the side. The guitars themselves look pretty rubbish. The V is a Randy Rhoads clone with a strat tremolo… the blue guitar is a BC Rich clone with a strat tremolo. Funnily enough, the Strat clone has a Kahler on it. I bet they’re made out of plywood.


Here’s an ad from Hamer. Nowadays Hamer make guitars out of the most exquisite woods and look like coffee tables. But in the 80’s they were as hair metal as anyone. I absolutely love the red flying V with one pickup. Actually, even the mutant Explorer/amoeba guitars look cool. Especially with the spandex inspired paintjobs.


Next up is a range of speakers with the best name ever… PYLE DRIVERS! I bet that guitarist in the ad does his share of pyle driving after the show. And is it just me, or does he look alarmingly like Paul Weller?!

Paul Weller – pyle driver…


Next up is the ad Richie Sambora probably wishes everyone would forget about. I don’t actually think he’s wearing pants… his legs are shaved and painted black. And the beehive hairdo is traight out of the B-52’s. And what’s with the tag line ‘Heavy Metal Thrashing’?! Bon Jovi… Thrash Metal?!!! The Les Paul Deluxe he’s holding is beautiful though. Probably the nicest looking guitar he’s had in the last 20+ years since. And whatever happened to Pearl pedals?! The price of the distortion pedal in the ad is $99.50! In 1985, wasn’t that like 5,000 bucks?! Richie was obviously a fan though. He’s pointing at you… demanding you to buy them!


Westone are not known for their coolness. I mean, even though they’re solid, well made guitars… a Westone is a guitar you own until you can afford something better. But if I had one of these beauties in my monkey-like paws I would NEVER let it go. That ‘Dynasty’ is just nasty looking. And the ‘Dimension IV’ would look great strapped on me. It looks like something Diamond (pre-Dimebag) Darrell would’ve played in Pantera’s early ‘Power Metal’ days. Plus they’ve got that quality piece of  hardwire… the Bendmaster String Lock! Now my bends can be locked somehow! Yeah, I’ve never heard of it either.


Lastly is the ‘Lazer Techno’… made by Hondo. It’s computer designed! (oooooooooooooooh!!!) It’s designed by Mark Enewine from AUSTIN, TEXAS!!! (who????)  It offers maximum guitar in minimum space! (I guess for people who live in small cardboard boxes.) It’s the preferred guitar of robots! (I made that bit up.) It also looks like a Steinberger. A lot.

Anyway, there was more but you get the idea. These guitars are just plain awesome. Somewhere out there, hidden in dusty attics and damp garages around America, these forgotten beauties lay in wait. Waiting to be cool again.


I was browsing on eBay this morning and found this beauty… a 1985 Westone Dimension IV! Complete with the magical Bendmaster String Lock!!!

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If this puppy was in Australia rather than New Jersey, it would be mine. Oh yes. It would be.

***UPDATE V2.0***

*choke* … here’s a freakin’ BASS VERSION!!!

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I think the guitar gods are trying to tell me something… “TONY… YOU MUST BUY THESE AND LOOK COOL.”

Yes, that is what the voices in my head are telling me.