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Greco's copies of Gibson®'s archtop ES-175® were given the model designation of 'FA', and judging from the original star tuners (same as Ibanez at the time) and no serial number, I'd say this beauty dates from around 1975, right at the end of the 'Gneco' era (when the logo had an 'r' that looked like an 'n' - see the detailed pictures of the pickup covers in the 'more pictures' link below). (subsequent investigation of the high-quality Maxon pickups show a code of 24521, which shows the pickups are model 2, made in 1974 (4) on May (5) 21st (21), which would make the guitar a mid 1974 production - the Maxon date stamp is shown in the last photo in the 'more pictures' link below)

The fact that the guitar has star tuners makes me suspect this guitar was made in the FujiGen Gakki factory, rather than the Matsumoku factory, both of which made high-quality 'lawsuit' copies at that time for the Greco brand name (mainly for the Japanese home market). The guitar carries all the hallmarks of the lawsuit era, with its accurate (blatant!) copying of the Gibson® open-book headstock, the tailpiece and even the embossed pickup covers, mimicking the Gibson®-embossed covers of the very early '70s.

This guitar has been well-played, but is in great condition, and is totally original. The original frets show some wear, but have plenty of life left, while the plated metal components show some nice ageing. The pickups (original Maxon - see note in italics above) are absolutely fantastic, with loads of output and bite, and the original wiring (metal-braided just like the Gibson® original) and pots are high-quality and faultless in operation. There are only a few small and inconsequential chips and marks on the original Sunburst finish, and some age-checking, which gives the all-maple body and neck some nice genuine vintage mojo. Likewise, some of the binding and the pointy edge of the Florentine cutaway show some minor shrinkage and cracking, but all is very firm. I have personally known this guitar since about 2007 (it was purchased by a friend just as I purchased a 1975 blonde example which can be seen here), and the guitar looks exactly as it did then! (Both these guitars were actually gigged together to great effect!)

These early Grecos are amongst my favourite guitars of all time, and represent a ridiculously good bargain for tone, playability, quality, sound and everything else. I am not exaggerating when I claim that these will hold their heads high in any company, and that they will probably overshadow the sound (particularly plugged in - I find 1970s Gibsons to be extremely variable and often very 'dull') of the guitar they blatantly copied.

The original (and very cool) hard shell case comes with this vintage made-in-Japan guitar, and it is fitted with a nice set of flatwounds. This guitar will impress!

Sold to Jesse

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