1968 Honey AG-9
That's right folks. Another Honey, but this ones not a Ric copy ....
The last two Honey guitars I've had through were Ric 330 copies in the form of the SG5 and SG5W and those blogs went into a lot of detail about the company and factory that made these VERY short lived guitars in Japan in the late sixties.
Honey were of course a domestic Japanese brand and very few have still made it out into the wide world, despite me having had a few of them. They were manufactured in the Teisco Gen Gakki factory from early '67 to the closure of the brand in early '69.
Honey were probably more famous in Japan for their electronics and made some great amps and of course the AMAZING FY-2 Fuzz that would become the Shen-ei/Unicord/Univox Superfuzz.
While Honey was essentially another spin off from the Kawai takeover of Teisco in '67, just like Idol, Firstman and Burns of Tokyo among many others, they made a lot of different guitars in their short time including this obviously heavily inspired (some would say complete copy) version of a Gretsch Country Gent.
Constuction is all typically late sixties Teisco Gen Gakki with a light laminated arch top and back double bound body with a bolt on neck.
The quality of the two Ric copies recently was outstanding being set necks and VERY Ric construction. This however is more in line with other good quality Japanese guitars from this period having a bolt on neck on a copy of set neck guitar. The neck is nicely fitted into the bound sides giving it the impression of being set which is higher quality than the simple bolt on necks on cheaper end instruments.
It is however VERY accurate to an original Gretsch and has the "fake" painted on F holes, the string mute and the thumbnail inlays and zero fret, all just like an original.
This guitar uses the same great mini humbucker sized pickups as the SG series which are clear with great output and response. All the hardware here is gold which I'm personally not as big a fan of but isn't too overdone on the red finish. The body, neck and headstock are all finished in a great coat of a Monza red (doesn't really come through in the photos) with all the binding still intact, unlike many Gretsches from this period.
The headstock is a bound three a side Gretsch clone with the Honey badge proudly still attached to the top. This, like the SG5's, and all guitars built in this factory during this period, has a zero fret and plastic string guide. As I've mentioned many times I'm a huge fan of zero frets and Gretsches used these from around 1960 so this fits perfectly with this copy.
The vibrato is typical of this factories hardware at the time and works well. The bridge saddles are the non roller type with spacing slots to set your prefered string spacing and the mute works exactly like the original Gretsch unit.
This plays and sounds amazingly like an old Gretsch with a nice comfortable thin neck and 24.75" (slightly longer than the original) scale length.
The electronics were originally multiple tone switches, a three way selector toggle and a master volume and tone control. Someone has disconected the tone switches here, probably to stop bumping them while playing, but all the switches are still in working order so these could be reconected if wanted.
I'm a huge fan of this Honey and late sixties Teisco Gen Gakki stuff. While they made lots of big US brand inspired stuff, they didn't actually make Les Paul and Strat/Tele/Offset copies like so many others were at the time. They tended to concentrate on more neiche US makers like Ric, Gretsch, Mosrite and ES135/175 copies along with European influenced Vox and Hofner copies.
More sweet Honey action coming when I get time.