1967-69 Honey SG5W

Following on from the story of the amazing Honey SG5 here is it's more complicated sibling for those who love stringing up guitars and tuning them.

Honey ran from '67-69 in Japan and used the great Teisco Gen Gakki factory to make all their guitars, including this masterpiece.

They were more famous for their electronics and made great amps and effects (as well as PA's, microphones and accessories) and were the originator of the GREAT FY-2 fuzz that would later be branded as the Companion/Shen-ei/Unicord/Univox fuzz in the little wedge shaped enclosure.

But, during these short couple of years they made many US and European flavoured guitars including these Rickenbacker copies in 6 string and 12 string guitar and bass versions. Influenced heavily by the popularity of the Beatles in Japan they also made a Hofner bass and Gretsch Country Gent (more on them soon) and concentrated mainly on hollow body guitars.

 

Honey appear to have made their own hardware and electronics as similar guitars were sourced from the Teisco Gen Gakki factory for other brand names but fitted with different hardware. 

This is the same great quality as the SG5 and is basically constructed like a Ric of the time. Remember, Ric hadn't gone to the 24 fret neck set into the body yet so these copies had the high set neck ending at the body. 

This 12 string is essentially the 6 string version with the famous (and brilliantly designed) slotted Ric 12 string headstock and the vibrato has been drilled for 6 more strings. The neck width and depth is the same as the 6 string version and set deep into the body. 

 

This one has has a Ric bridge fitted which allows the strings to sit closer together like a real one and still runs the heavy string on top like Ric and Mosrite did, and I personally prefer. The string guide has been changed too, again, probably to get the string pairs closer together.

The pickups are chrome covered medium output mini humbuckers. They have a real jangle while keeping some depth and the noise away. They work realy well in this hollowbody construction and don't feedback easily. 

 

The vibrato is the same as the 6 string version with six extra holes drilled for the extra strings. A 12 string guitar with a vibrato can be a tricky beast to tame and this one stays in tune nicely until you start to go a little crazy with the whammy. 

This one has all it's original electronics and bottom scratchplate but the top half plate has been replaced. The original would have had a cartoon picture of a bee on it and may have been replaced to make it look more ... Ric?

 

Set up with a 10-46 set this thing plays and sounds great. The neck is thin and fast and reminds me of 60's Rics I've owned and played. The body feels well made and good quality as the higher end guitars coming out of this factory by the late sixties were. The set neck and semi solid construction gives a great impression of a Ric 12 string.

 

The stick inside the slash F hole is starting to deteriorate but you can see the "Custom Guitar" and "PRO ONLY" that Honey used in the advertising from '68-69 before they went bankrupt. 

Being a huge fan of both Rickenbacker AND vintage Japanese guitars these are like the perfect storm for me. Not so much as anything Mosrite inspired but I still love these, especially when they're great quality and sound and play so good, and look GREAT. 

Jan 17 2018 Written By: Tim Brennan