1979 Vesta Graham VGC 1000
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Vesta Graham was the first of many guitar brands started by Hidesato Shiino who was one of the founders of ESP. Shiino left ESP and founded Shiino Musical instruments Corporation and PACO studio to meet the needs of professional musicians. Vesta Graham was the first brand launched by Shiino Musical Instruments in 1978. Vesta Graham was a truly high end brand, hand made using the best materials and components, an attribute common amongst the brands Shiino was involved with.
This guitar is a VGC 1000, a semi acoustic model manufactured in late 1979. Original price of the guitar was ¥100,000 making it an expensive guitar at the time. As such it was made to a very high standard, featuring a one-piece mahogany neck with ebony fretboard and mother of pearl markers of a design unique to Vesta Graham. The neck is bound with the frets featuring fret edge binding, as well as fret over binding. Tuners are US made Grovers, an expensive addition at the time. The nut is somewhat unique as well, with an angled (rather than flat) bottom, as was done on Martin guitars prior to their going CNC. Neck profile is beefy, especially for 335 style guitars made at this time.
The guitar is built like a 335, with a full length center block and features a long tenon. The body is three ply laminate and flamed on all sides. The TOM style bridge is solid brass and the pickups are ‘S’ stamped Gotoh PAF, which sound excellent in this guitar. The body has a transparent wine red finish done in nitro lacquer with fantastic checking all over the guitar. I believe the guitar is all original.
The guitar has been completely gone through, frets polished and received a full setup. It plays and sounds fantastic with no buzzing or dead spots anywhere on the neck. The body has scratches and dings as can be seen in the photos. It also has heavy checking in the finish on the body and neck which I’ve tried to capture in the pictures.
Vesta Graham’s are exceptionally well made instruments, truly professional level instruments. It is easily among my favorite brands and I continue to track down more of these as I believe they are among the finest of 335/semi-acoustics ever made and a testament to the work of Hidesato Shiino.
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