Click on main image above for full size pictures
This is a 1982 Greco SA59-120, Greco’s top SA model, built to be a highly accurate copy of a 1959 ES-335. This model was only produced from 1982-84 and took me several years to find one. To understand this model requires an explanation of the 1980-81 Super Real SA 1200, which was one of the four models equipped with Maxon DRY Z pickups, widely regarded as outstanding PAF clones.
In 1980 Greco introduced the Super Real line, in which they took huge steps forward in producing highly accurate copies of vintage original models. For the 335, the pinnacle model is the Greco SA 1200 which is a copy of a ’59 ES-335, leaning towards the earliest Gibsons with three ply maple-mahogany-maple bodies, center block without any relief in the bridge cavity and of course a full-length maple center block sandwiched between kerfed spruce above and below. Two standout features of the model are true nitro cellulose finish and the legendary DRY Z pickups. The SA 1200 is easily the most sought-after vintage Japanese 335 model and lives up to its reputation.
In 1982 Greco introduced the Mint Collection. The SA59-120 was the model the Mint Collection era version of the SA 1200. I’d long wondered how this model may have differed from the SA 1200 and wanted to compare them side by side. But I was never able to find one as it seems very few were produced. Less and less of the high end Grecos going into the mid 80’s, with all the top models disappearing completely from the catalogs by 1985.
So I jumped on this guitar when it became available in Japan and have compared it to an SA 1200. I was pleased to find the construction is virtually identical to the SA 1200 including the non-relieved center block and nitro-cellulose finish, all still looking pre-CNC Fujigen. Dot markers are real mother of pearl, whereas most Mint Collection models went to pearloid. Some minor differences, the tuners are single ring, double line Greco Deluxe rather than real Kluson double ring, double line Kluson Deluxe and the shield is changed on the headstock.
Pickups are stickered DRY 1982, which changed from DRY Z when Fujigen took over Maxon’s pickup manufacture in 1982, bringing the process in-house. Playing this guitar back-to-back to an all-original SA 1200, both guitars sound equally glorious to my ear with the DRY 82 pickups still being a fantastic vintage PAF copy with only subtle differences tonally.
The guitar had a Bigsby installed when I purchased it, so I had a luthier remove it, install maple plugs in the mounting holes and touch these up with amber nitro as well as install an aged Gotoh aluminum stop tail piece. The guitar is otherwise all original, the only other part requiring replacement being a new input jack. The DRY 1982 pickups are unopened with original solder and covers in place.
Condition wise the guitar is in very good condition, with many signs of play wear including scratches and small nicks and chips. Hardware is well aged, the overall condition being as one should expect from a well-played instrument just shy of forty years old.
The guitar has been completely gone through with the harness pulled to clean the pots; fresh level crown and polish of the frets; relief (truss rod), action, intonation, tail piece height and pickup height all adjusted; nut relief checked; fretboard and nut slots cleaned. The body has also been cleaned and polished. It plays and sounds fantastic, with no dead spots or buzzing anywhere on the neck.
The case is identical to the Greco Super Real era cases, less the Super Real badge, so I believe it is the Greco hard case original to the guitar and will be included with it.
Offered at USD $3,500
This guitar is located in the US.
© 2020 GuitarsOfJapan.com