Gibson Melody Maker 3/4 Solid Body Electric Guitar (1966)

Gibson  Melody Maker 3/4 Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1966)
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Item # 11660
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Gibson Melody Maker 3/4 Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1966), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 550224, Pelham Blue lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original black chipboard case.

The is a very rare, slightly oddball and quite early example of the final iteration of the Melody Maker, Gibson's 1960s entry level solid body. This is the seldom seen 3/4 scale version of the new "rationalized" version that debuted in early 1966 and sold into the end of the decade. To simplify production, they were built from the standard SG body allowing any model from a 3-pickup SG Custom down to this one-pickup 3/4 Melody Maker to be made from the same pre-carved piece of mahogany. This was the most basic model in a line that eventually grew to include single, double and triple pickup guitars, a 12-string and a bass. The 3/4 scale version was only built in tiny numbers after the switch to the SG body; 158 were shipped in 1966, compered to over 3000 of the standard model. A total of 330 were shipped through 1970 in all finishes.

These later '60s Melody Makers were usually finished in one of two eye-catching metallic paint finishes; Sparkling Burgundy or in this case a beautifully faded Pelham Blue. This early example has a matching Pelham blue neck, an extravagance soon deleted. The architecture is subtly different from the standard model, with a much shorter neck resulting in better balance on the notoriously light body. It is marked as a factory second with a stamped "2" on the back of the headstock for no reason we can discern. The neck is very slim at the nut but noticeable chunkier than many as it moves towards the body and has a great solid feel.

This Melody Maker has an unusually good neck angle (which many of these do not) and the Vibrola actually works quite well. The visible pot date is to 1965; the month is soldered over. With its short but unimpeded access easy-playing neck, single coil pickup at the bridge and vibrato this is a lean little rock machine; not as dark or crunchy-sounding as an SG but surprisingly potent in its own right. These were a great value at the time, and even today a super cool looking and playing guitar, still a fine value in a 55+ year old vintage Gibson solidbody.
Overall length is 36 3/4 in. (93.3 cm.), 13 1/4 in. (33.7 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 23 in. (584 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/2 in. (38 mm.).

The Pelham Blue finish on this guitar has aged beautifully to the classic almost turquoise hue, due to yellowing of the clear lacquer overcoat. It remains fine overall with some light checking and small dings, dents and scratches, only a few deeply into the wood. The white plastic pickguard has also yellowed slightly, with a bit of mottling in the center.

The finish and hardware are 100% original including the oft-missing vibrato arm. The D-string tuner shaft is fairly well bent but fully functional, and there is a chip out of the lower plastic strap button. The frets have some light wear but nothing that affects playability, and this is a cool and very fun guitar to play, complete in the battered but functional original chipboard case. Overall Excellent - Condition.