1979 Greco GO700

I've written a lot about how much I love the great Fugigen factory in Japan who made guitars for many brands including, along with Matsumoku, Greco guitars.

In the mid 70's Greco started making guitars in a slightly more expensive market called the Project series. These included the amazing BM900 along with others and included the GO series here which was introduced in 1977.

There would eventually be a GO, GO II and GO III all in similar construction but in different double cutaway shapes and a GOB series for the bass models. The GO here was the first on the scene and was obviously heavily influenced by Alembic in the US in both design and construction.

Construction of these GO series was very high quality with multi laminated bodies and necks using all high quality timbers. They were squarely aimed at professional working musicians and ranged from the GO700 to the GO1400 with brass hardware and full active electronics. There was also a GOW1500 which was a 12/6 double neck. 

 

Even though this GO700 was the "cheapest" in the line it was still a very considerable 70,000 yen in 1978, and with good reason. It's an amazing guitar.

 

The solid body is constructed of three layers of stained ash and walnut with a through neck construction of seven pieces of rock maple and walnut. It's an amazing construction and gives incredible sustain and high volume feedback with a neck heel that blends beautifully into the body. The series was available in a few different options of laminates giving completely different looks depending on weather dark or light timbers were used. They were even offered in custom colours like red stain which looks great.

 

Greco called this through neck construction "Speed Way" and blazoned it on the trussrod cover. Fugigen decided to utilise a volute even though this laminated method of construction is stronger and more stable than a one piece neck construction. The first versions had a black headstock face and trussrod cover which went to this timber laminate and brass trussrod cover by '78. At some stage in '79 the lower models went to a 22 fret neck, not the 24 like these earlier ones.

 

Earlier versions also had the white/cream covered humbuckers which changed to brown in '79. These pickups are around 8K output and have an amazing frequency response with lots of ... everything. They're a really nice output and the GO1000 had phase/coil splitting while the GO1400 had an active pre-amp with active tone circuit both of which could be switched in for active or passive use. The pickups are screwed directly into the body with adjustment for height and angle.

 

While the whole series was essentially constructed the same the hardware changed as the series went up. The GO700 has chrome hardware with a heavy fully adjustable bridge and tailpiece much like the ones used on the Ibanez artist of the period. The back control cavity plates are all heavy chrome steel which changed to brass on upper models. There was also a unique vibrato design offered on some models called the TS Vibrato which was a two anchor pivot with a unique single spring anchored in a back cavity of the body that uses compression tension instead of the more common expansion like a Strat.

The nuts on these were a laminate of brass and plastic whereas the original early ones had a full brass nut. It's not clear why they went to this laminated style but maybe the brass was too bright and the addition of plastic calmed down that "zing"?

The tuners are Greco branded and have a VERY tight ratio. They are also unique to this era in having the centre shafts hollow so you can run the string right down the centre and out the back of the headstock before winding and then cut the string after. 

The electronics on this model is pretty standard but is all high quality. It's the basic "Les Paul" set up of two humbuckers, a volume and tone for each and a three way toggle switch. 

This is an amazing guitar and must have been a real treat to play in the late seventies when Gibson and Fender were making (mostly) inferior versions of their once great stuff. The second you pick these up you feel the quality and once you plug them in you know they were an extremely well made guitar.

 

Fugigen and Matsumoku were making incredible guitars by this stage in the game and Matsumoku made versions of these, like the similar vantage models were of a similar quality. It was a time for through neck, multi laminate construction and these guys did it as well as anyone. 

 

The others in the GO series were the GO II which was a more Fender aesthetic with longer top horn and six a side headstock and the GO III which was an equal double cutaway more reminiscent of an SG. The multi laminate construction was the same on all models and in '79 the GO series got a carved top just to add to the quality. 

This one is all original and will be in the shop for sale soon. 

 

Nov 16 2017 Written By: Tim Brennan