Supro Clermont S667 Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1968)

Supro  Clermont S667 Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1968)
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Item # 8708
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Supro Clermont S667 Model Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1968), made in Chicago, serial # 2-20576, cherry lacquer finish, laminated maple body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard.

This somewhat atypical Supro-branded guitar dates to the tail end of the 1960's "Guitar Boom" era, when the boom was going bust. As the decade waned, many American guitar makers found themselves financially overstretched from meeting the frantic demand for instruments in 1964-66 and forced to re-trench. Increasing Japanese competition and a suddenly stagnant market affected many of the familiar names in the business, including Chicago-based Kay and National/Valco.

As these two former crosstown rivals collapsed, for a brief time in 1967-8 both companies were under the same ownership and built guitars with features drawn from both lines. This Supro-branded guitar is typical of the final last-gasp Valco product, using mostly National/Supro components but showing some Kay heritage as well.

This guitar appears to be a very late example of the S667 Clermont model but is fitted with pickups with adjustable poles-usually found on the slightly higher price Carlisle model that was a bit fancier overall. At this point the distinctions were likely hardly important, as guitars were being assembled from whatever was at hand. It is built on a double-cutaway laminated wood body that had been seen on National instruments for the last couple of years, a retreat from the fiberglass frenzy of the early 1960's. The neck with its Fender-like headstock bears a large Supro logo but is built more like a Kay-style piece, with incidentally better fretwork than that company usually managed. Pre-Merger Clermonts used the traditional Supro neck with the 2-sided "Gumby" headstock.

The two pickups are the best part of this guitar, being the familiar raunchy-sounding National/Supro units dating back to the 1950's. The tuners are Kluson Deluxe in an integral strip while the quite functional adjustable bridge/vibrato tailpiece unit is Japanese made. The wiring rig is the standard Gibson-style double volume/tone with 3-way switch; by this point the eccentric classic National multi-knob formats had been abandoned. The body is single bound with a bright cherry red finish, conventional F-holes and a white pickguard raised over the top.

Despite its mixed pedigree and fairly austere look this is a well designed, functional guitar, although aesthetically one of the most conventional of Valco products. It was also rather out of step with the 1968-69 market, and these were sold in small quantities at the time. While not one of the better-remembered or retro-hipper Supro guitars is still a good playing and sounding instrument in its own right, and a very affordable vintage American-made guitar.

The Supro pickups are the same ones used since the early '50's and still roar
Overall length is 42 3/4 in. (108.6 cm.), 16 in. (40.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 1/2 in. (622 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.). This guitar is all original with a decent amount of incidental wear including dings, dents and a lot of small chips to the finish. There are some larger scrapes on the sides and a crunch to the plywood around the jack in the top that is solidly repaired but visible. It remains in good playing condition with some light wear to the frets and fingerboard but the neck itself is in much better shape than most of these later Supros. Two of the neck anchoring screws appear to have been replaced with longer ones to help with neck joint stability. There was once a snap-on tailpiece cover that is now missing, but otherwise the guitar is original and complete. While not one of their classic designs the Clermont is neat and even surprisingly good instrument from Valco's dying days, the last bearer of a great funky guitar legacy. Very Good + Condition.