1967-69 Honey SG5

Honey were a Japanese manufacturer more well known for amps and effects pedals and made some awesome fuzz pedals between 1967 and '69, which was the short period this company existed.

Born from the ashes of Teisco after the Kawai buyout in '67, many brands kept using the Teisco Gen Gakki factory to make guitars under many different brand names for the domestic and export market. Some Teisco employees stayed on to form Firstman (one of my personal favourites who morphed into Mosrite Japan) while others formed the IDOL brand which were all made in the Teisco Gen Gakki factory. 

Honey was purely Japanese domestic market guitars made in the same factory and mainly made copies of popular US brands like Rickenbacker and Mosrite, but also made copies of Hofner and Vox guitars among others.

While their pedal and amp market was strong with fuzzes like the Special Fuzz, which was a Super Fuzz and Univibe in one pedal, when the company went into bankruptcy in '69 the pedal/electronics division formed into Shen-ei and made essentially the same pedals now branded as Shen-ei (and Univox/Unicord in the US). The Shen-ei Psychedelic Machine was this Super Fuzz/Univibe in an amp top box.

The Teisco Gen Gakki factory made some great quality instruments around this time and into the early 70's and this guitar is no exception.

 

Construction is just as the aesthetics would suggest. It's a hollow, solid timber guitar made in two parts rather than the original Ric way of routing out the "top" from the back and gluing on a back.

 

The body is exactly the same as a 330 in size, shape and thickness, much like Excetro Mosrite copy made in the same factory was traced straight off a Mosrite Ventures. 

This has a set. 3 piece neck with a heel the same as a 60's Ric ending at the body. The neck is VERY thin and feels like some mid to late 60's Rics I've played. The only real difference in feel is this one has a zero fret (which I love) and has the same tuners as the Excetro.

 

The pickups are single coils typical of several models made by this factory at the time and are great sounding with lots of output and sparkle. It's strange because this factory was using a "toaster top" looking pick up on some guitars but this model never got them? 

 

The vibrato is ... FANTASTIC with a big cast block mounting plate and essentially a Bigsby set up but is smooth and very cool.

 

Controls are standard Ric with volume and tone for each pickup and a master blend control. The bridge is one of the standard factory affairs which is actually quite similar to a Ric bridge and was used on many models around this time.

 

This guitar is all original and plays and sounds GREAT. It also looks great and has some amazing patina and checking and the white has gone a VERY beautiful yellow with white patches worn through from playing. It's hard to catch in these photos just how beautiful this guitar is.

 

Aug 26 2017 Written By: Tim Brennan