1965-66 Pleasant SEL-220

I've written about these Pleasant guitars before and this one didn't last long in the shop but I thought I'd do a quick blog about it anyway as I do love these things. 

The SEL-220, along with the SEL and the SEV which we sold recently are some of my favourite offset shapes from any Japanese manufacturer. They are a great take on the Fender shape and to me, are such an organic shaped offset while looking different enough to not be a Jag/JM.

 

As I've said before Pleasant electric guitars were made by Shinko Gakki and the solid body electric range only lasted from early '64 to late '66 so these examples I've had through the shop was almost the complete range available at the time. They also sold a very Burns inspired 12 string (S-12S) and a single pickup six string version (maybe S-6S?) but the SEL and SEV were the more common in the line, being sold in the US as Lafayette.

 

I'm a sucker for a nice red burst like this and it suits this shape well. I did like the orange one I sold recently too. 

The aluminium scratchplate houses an array of switches and the three Shinko made pickups with small blade style pole pieces assembled in squares running through the bobbins. They're a great sounding pickup with great output and clarity.

 

The switches are self cancelling sliding switches marked M/1/3/1+3/2/0 with "M" being all and "0" being none. As you push one switch down, the switch that is on slides up and disengages. It's quite a wonderful system.

 

The bridges are rudimentary with no adjustment for intonation (the orange one had a JM bridge fitted) but it plays in tune most of the way up the board. The vibrato is ingenious and like all the other hardware on these guitars, only appeared on Pleasant guitars. 

The neck is attached with a five bolt neck plate and is thick without being uncomfortable with a nice bound rosewood fretboard. The headstock is oversize (common on early to mid sixties Japanese guitars) and is obviously very Fender influenced. This one has the original tuners and printed aluminium Pleasant badge still attached.

 

While the SEV is probably my favourite Pleasant, these are definitely a close second. My love of vintage Japanese "Bizarre" guitars is well known around these parts and lots of these wonderful shapes can still be had for a fraction of the price of other vintage guitars of comparable quality and age. 

Sep 03 2018 Written By: Tim Brennan