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Q&A, discussion, and information for the labels covered by The Guitar Gallery (Specifically and exclusively guitars made by Matsumoku up to 1987)
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Apr 2010 08:23 AM 
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A brief history of VANTAGE guitars:
VANTAGE: 1978 - 1998
"Vantage" (and "Avenger") are/were registered trademarks for Jam Industries Ltd, Montreal/Canada

1977: registration of the "Vantage" trademark in Japan (Matsumoto/Nagano)
.......The Vantage concept was an initial motivation on the part of an established company
.......(matsumoku kogyo) to design and build a product line that would reflect its own pride and expertise
.......of manufacturing abilities
(From the 1980 "marketing manual", published by MTI).
.......The Vantage line was developed by Mr.Matsura, in cooperation with the canadian distributor Marty
..........Golden (Jam industries) and the US distributor Ernie Briefer (Music Technology Inc., NY)
1978: contract JAM industries/Erikson Music(CAN) - Matsumoku (JAP)
.......April 20, 1978: filing in for registration of the "Vantage" trademark in Canada
.......Vantage was developed for the north american market first
1979: "Music Technology Inc." (MTI) became US-distributor
........1979-06-08: "first use in commerce" for the "Vantage" trademark in the USA (registration filed in
...........1980-10-31)
.......(MTI was holding the rights for the US market until 1989)
....... first VANTAGE guitars at music stores (CAN, US)
.............Canada possibly earlier (early 1979 or late 1978??)
1980: worldwide distribution:
.............Jam Industries/Erikson Music (Montreal): CAN
.............Music Technology Inc.(New York): USA
.............Paiste Distribution (Hamburg): GER, Switzerland
....................(Mexo: Germany 1984 - 1986)
.............Dynamic Musical Enterprises (Chatswood, NSW): AUS, NZ
.............Stack Music (Bexhill, East Sussex): UK
.............Musik Hofrichter (Vienna): Austria
.............Codim-France (Lyon): France
.............+ Distributors in Sweden, Italy, Japan
.......Vantage slogan: "sound by design"
.......MTI slogan 1980: "The Must Line To Have For The 80's"
.......(1982 slogan: "Born to rock")
1978/79 -1984: all Vantage electrics made by Matsumoku/JAP
...................Acoustics made by Katoh, Terada, Ida (and other japanese companies)
1984/85: Chushin (Matsumoto/JAP) also started to build Vantage electric guitars for Erikson Music / MTI
1987, Feb.: matsumoku kogyo had to close after the Singer (sewing machines) company, who partially
...........owned Matsumoku, nearly went bankrupt.
.......Matsumoku couldn't afford to buy itself out of Singer. Land and equipment of the company were sold.
.......A memorial stone at a park in Matsumoto/Nagano reminds of the former guitar production
1987/88: Post matsumoku production in Japan???
1989: There seems to exist a gap between japanese and korean Vantage production! No 1989 Vantages!?
1990: Start of korean and (later) indonesian production of Vantage guitars by "Samick"
.......1990-11-31: filing in for the registration of Samick's "Vantage lettering" trademark (US)
1990 - 1998: amps, mixers, microphones, aso. wearing the Vantage label
1998: End of "Samick" Vantage production. Due to economical conditions and increased prices from Korea
............Erikson Music stopped international business

VANTAGE logos:
.......1978?/79: angle "Vantage" lettering (V-100 model only)
.......1979/80: horizontal "Vantage" lettering (vivaldi font)
.......1980 - 1996: Big "V" logo + vertical "Vantage" lettering (vivaldi font)
..................some slight variations of the "V" and the size of lettering over the years
..................Avenger models (6 tuner on one side) carry their own "Avenger" lettering
.......1992 - 1996: either Big "V" logo + vertical "Vantage" (vivaldi font) or (more often) Samick's
..................trembling "Vantage" lettering" (first commercial use: April 1992) or Samick's "Trembling V".
.......1997 - 1998: Late Samick's "uppercut V"/Vantage lettering (mainly for Indonesian made instruments)

VANTAGE serial numbers
(electric guitars/basses)
.......1978?/79 V-100 model: "V-100"-sticker, no serial
.......1979 models: VLP Spirit: six digit ser.nos. 05xxxx
........................Vantage Standard (VS): five digit ser.nos. 6xxxx
........................Vantage Performer (VP): five digit ser.nos. 7xxxx
........................Vantage Artist (VA): five digit ser.nos. 8xxxx
........................Ghost (VP 750): no or hard to read serial number, 1979 models: 4 digit serial number
.......1979/1980 (until 4/80): 6 digit serial numbers: 0xxxxx
.......1980 (April) - 1984 (June?): 7 digit serial numbers, first digit = year of production (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984)
..................................................................digits 2 + 3 = month of production
........................................6 digit serial numbers for VP795 models
.......1980/81: VA900 series: 6 digits: first digit (0 or 1) = year, 2+3 digits = month
...................................7 digit # for late '81 models
.......1981/82: "Special" series of VP and VA models: five digit ser.nos: 71xxx or 72xxx(VP), 81xxx or 82xxx(VA) (following the number system of
..........................their '79/ '80 predecessors)
.......1984 -1988: letter prefix serial numbers: (A-L)xxxxxx: letter=month, first digit=year of production (unconfirmed!)
.......1990 -1998 (Samick models): -

VANTAGE catalogs:
This is what we've got: (still searching for more...)

Made in Japan:
catalog 1: 1979/80 models http://www.matsumoku.org/models/vantage/catalogs/c1980s/catalog_th.html
catalog 2: 1980/81 models http://www.matsumoku.org/ggboard/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3295
catalog 3 "Born to rock": 1982/83 models http://www.matsumoku.org/models/vantage/catalogs/1982/pg1.html
catalog 4: 1984/85 models http://www.matsumoku.org/ggboard/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4985
Acoustic catalog 1982. http://www.matsumoku.org/ggboard/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=8393

Missing catalogs from the Japanese era: 1979 flyer?, probably a 1983 catalog for 83/84 models, a 1985/86 catalog or flyer?

Made in Korea:
1993 catalog: no link available
1995 catalog: available at vintaxe.com
1996 catalog: http://www.matsumoku.org/ggboard/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=5724#p34202
1997 flyer: available at vintaxe.com
1997 acoustic guitar flyer: available at vintaxe.com

Missing catalogs from the Korean era: 1990 - 1992 years, 1994 catalog, 1998 flyer!


VANTAGE electric guitars & basses:
MIJ ONLY!

1978?/1979:
........V-100: LP copy, open book headstock, angle-lettering-logo, sunburst + black + (wine)red
1979:
........first 3 Models with "Vantage headstock", horizontal-logo:
........600 VS, 700 VP, 800 VA(=800Artist)
........5 digit serial numbers (first = model)
....... late '79 : first Vantage catalog with 1979/1980 models:
.......... basic line renamed: VS 600 "Witch", VP 700 "Mystic", VA 800 "Phantom"
...................................VS 600B "Witch bass", VP 700B "Mystic bass"
......................colour: "mat brown"
......................Mahogany(VS)/Ash(VP,VA) bodies with maple/walnut center stripes, maple necks
.........................(early VS models were made with dark stained mahogany necks and without
.........................walnut stripes)
...........+ "traditional design" line:
...................................VLP 500/510/540/550 "Spirit" (Les Paul copies, bolt on neck, 4 colours:
...............................................tobacco burst brown, wine red, jet black, cherry sunburst
...............................................later(81?/82?): two more colours available: burgundy (VLP 520),
..................................................................................................brown burst (VLP 530)
...............................................mahogany bodies + carved birchwood top, mahogany neck
....................................750 "Ghost" (The Paul copy, mat brown colour only, mahogany)

1980: all models with 6 digit serial numbers (first digit=year) until 4/1980, then 7 digit Serials (004xxxx = April '80, 012xxxx = Dec.'80)
...........(most of the "Ghost" and "790" models are without or hard to read serial number)
.......VS 650 "Witch" (light variant of VS 600) in "natural", VS 650B "Witch bass" (light variant of VS 600B)
.......VP 710, VP 710B (light variants of VP 700/VP 700B, in "harvestash")
.......mysterious Peavey T60 copy (not in catalogs, no name so far, I call it VT 60)
............mysterious matching bass: "VT 40", maple fretboard, 2+2 tuners
.......790: set neck model, advertised in music magazines
.......Around May, 1980: introduction of the new top model VA 900 "Devil" (active circuit) with the new VANTAGE "Big V" logo
.......12-string version=VA 912 "Devil" (passive electronics)
.......VA 900B "Devil bass" (active electronics)
.......VA 900B-FL "Fretless Devil bass"
.......VP 790 "Demon"
.......changes in design and production throughout 1980: new Big V-logo, new edge routing, V-logo tuners,...
.......logo changes on all old models: VLP, VP 750, VS 600/650, VP 700/710, VP 790, VA 800/810
.......late '80: (second) catalog with following 1980/81 models:

1981: VS series extended with VS 600R rainbow series: VS 600R + VS 600RB
............all guitars and basses in 3 colours: "Sundown Red", "California Blue", "Midnight Black"
............Ash bodies instead of mahogany (VS 600)
............(early ' 81 ?) 2 knob versions, 3 knob versions
........VS 695 "Vamp", VS 695/12, VS 695B "Vamp bass", VS 695B/FL
....... VP series extended with VP 795 "Demon II", VP 795B "Demon II bass"
....... top of the line still: VA 900/VA 912/VA 900B/VA 900B-FL
.......... (produced only in 1980/81, 6-digit ser.no.starting with 00 or 01 = year)
...........2 colors: harvestash + "mahogany?"
....... Special: 24frets VA 800/VA 810 (5 digit ser.no: 81xxx or 82xxx)
........................as successor of the 22frets VA 800 Phantom
........Special: VP 700/VP 710 (5 digit ser.no: 71xxx or 72xxx)
....... new series introduced: Avenger (AV 310, AV 325, AV 325B)
...................AV 310: single HB, 2 knobs, natural finish
...................AV 325: 2 x HB, early ' 81 models: 2 knobs + natural finish, otherwise 4 knobs + translucent color finishes
.............VSH "Vantage semi hollowbodies" 435, 445 "Haunt", 455 "Specter"
....... VLP spirit stayed in program (discontinued 1983)
........late '81: introduction of the FV 575 "Voodoo" (flying V) and FV 575B "Voodoo bass"
..................(not to find in catalogs)
..................First as lim.ed.models (tru blue,apple red, jet black, nice white)
..................Later regular in black and white

1982: "Standard II"model introduced (SG-shape)(not to find in catalogs), black, 6-string + 4-string
........Lim.edition versions of the VS 600 in tru blue and apple red
........Special edition of a VS 690 "Super-witch" in blonde
........Lim.edition of the "Ghost": VTP 750 in walnut
........late '82: (third) 1982/83 catalog ("born to rock") - new products:
....... Avenger series extended:
................AV 315: HB/S pickup configuration, AV 315B
................AV 330: S/S/S pickup configuration
................AV 330MX (like above, but one piece maple neck, matching headstock, metallic colors)
....................limited edition colors available: purple, silver
....... introduction of the VE (vantage entertainer) series:
.............. semi solid VE 545 (chrome HW) bolt on neck, VE 565 (golden HW) set neck
...............solid VE 550 (chrome HW), VE 570 (golden HW), both with set neck
...............solid "Entertainar" with bounded headstock, block inlays (bolt on neck)
...............solid "Entertainar" with unbounded headstock, Dot inlays (bolt on neck)
........VS series: new VS 696 "Vamp II", 696/12, VS 696B (?)
............( brass nut, more contoured body than 695, colors:trans black, trans red, trans blue)
........VP series: new VP820, VP820B
........introduction of X-series models: X-77, X-77T (Tremolo), X-77B, X-88, X-88B
........mysterious FV-588 model (sunburst)

1983: VLPs "Spirit" (Les Paul copies) and FV-575 "Voodoo" (Flying V copy) discontinued
........Mysterious LTD: a VLP 540 with LTD written on the trussrod cover (not to find in catalogues) (?)
........new performer models : VP 825, VP 825B, VP830 (active electronics), VP 830B
........more entertainer models: semi hollow body VE 450 (chrome HW), VE 470 (golden HW),
.............late '83? or '84, both set necks, with pointy f-holes
........more X-Series models: X-99, X-99B

1984: matsumoku stopped producing "natural wood design" guitars
........X-35 (2 humbucker)
........X-33 (3 single coils)
........catalog No.4 : came out mid/late '84 for 1984/1985 models
........it's not confirmed if this catalog's models were made by Matsumoku, Chushin or elsewhere in Japan!!
........New serial number system: 6 digits + letter prefix: letter might be month, first digit might be year of production (not confirmed)
........completely new lineup: guitar world was demanding for metal axes+trem bars
........New Avenger series: 315, 315T(tremolo), 315B, 315 TX + 325 TD X(with graphlex neck), 325 B X(bass)
........New X-series: 33-TD, 33-TD X, 33B XF(fretless), 38-TD X, 77-TD X, 77 B X, 99-TD X (neckthru),
.........................99 B X, 99 B X headless
........economy price series ("basically hot"): 315 S, 315 ST, 315 STX, 315 SB (bass), 315 SBX (bass)
........Invader 1 , Invader 2 (both introduced: around october 1984)

1985: same models as (late) 1984

1986: slightly updated '85 models +
........Invader 5-TD (SSH)

VANTAGE acoustic guitars:
made at several japanese facilities, including Katoh, Terada & Ida

classical/nylon strings:

VC 100 (1979/80) (cedar top, mahogany back and sides)
VC 120 (1979/80) (cedar top, mahogany back and sides)
VC 150 (1979/80) (cedar top, rosewood back and sides)

steelstring acoustics:

VANTAGE WESTERN:
(1979 - 1983)

VW 80 S (198?)
VW 100 (1979) (natural finish)
VW 150 (1979) (natural finish)
VW 160 (1980) (same as 150, but tobacco sunburst finish)
VW 170 (1980) (same as 100, but brown sunburst finish)
VW 175 (1980) (same as 100, but wine red finish)
VW 180 (1979) (natural finish + abalone)
VW 190 (1980) (same as 150, but brown sunburst finish)
VW 195 (1980) (same as 150, but wine red finish)
VW 250 (198?) (same as 180, but with double goldplated hardware, natural finish + abalone)

(VW 100, VW 170, VW 175 with black celluloid binding)
(VW 150, VW 160, VW 190, VW 195 with white celluloid binding)
(VW 180, VW 250 with white celluloid binding + abalone purfling)
All VW models available until 1983

VANTAGE FOLK:
VF 110S (sunburst)


VANTAGE ACOUSTIC:
(introduced 1982)

VA 10 LT, VA 10 DK
VA 12 LT, VA 12 DK (12 strings)
VA 15 LT, VA 15 DK
VA 20
VA 22 C - R(red), VA 22 C - B(blue), VA 22 CE, VA 22/12
VA 25
VA 30 DOK (N), VA 30 DOK, VA 30 ACS, VA 30-12
VA 40, VA 40 E, VA 40 CE, VA 40 CET, VA 40/12, VA 40/12 C, VA 40/12 CE, VA 40/12 E
VA 50 S, VA 50 SLC, VA 50 LCE, VA 50 LCET


LTD
LTD CE

VANTAGE NATURAL:
VN 200F (1980), VN 200D (1980), VN 200-12 (1980)
VN 220D (1980), VN 22-12 (1980)

CL 15 LT (craviola style)

sources: "Fachblatt", "Int.musician & recording world", Vantage catalogues, PAISTE Germany, Vantage marketing manual (courtesy of GDK9), Erikson music, my guitars and the guitars of the "Vantage family", & finally the huge knowledge of this board's fantastic people.

O.K. guys, this is my personal time frame for all MIJ Vantage guitars.
I DO NOT claim to be right in every point. There's still a lot of open questions, mysteries and things that don't fit. Let's just take it as a basic for further discussion.

cheers, Johann :wink:

_________________
All vantage-branded guitars were lower-priced instruments aimed at the beginner-to-intermediate market. It has no interest to collectors and very little demand among players! (www.allexperts.com)


Last edited by mozart on Wed 19 Oct 2011 01:28 AM, edited 74 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: VANTAGE history
PostPosted: Sat 10 Apr 2010 10:56 AM 
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Virtuoso
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Real nice summary there Johann! Thanks for putting this altogether. :up:
Thanks also to Trevor, Kees, Jesper and Frenchy in particular, and anyone else I missed, who took the time to add their info and opinion. :up:
This is a great reference resource guys.
Now, sticky-fy it so it doesn't get lost! :goodjob:

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 Post subject: Re: VANTAGE history
PostPosted: Sat 10 Apr 2010 02:44 PM 
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Bloody :goodjob: and :thanks: for putting in the effort :up:


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 Post subject: Re: VANTAGE history
PostPosted: Sat 10 Apr 2010 05:58 PM 
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Barry wrote:
Now, sticky-fy it so it doesn't get lost!

Done :wink: . I'll consider this the first book of the Vantage bible (or the index, if you like), the gospel according to St. Johann (In the Dutch translations of the Holy Book, St. John is referred to as 'Johannes').
No insults intended, just trying to focus on one of the better books as a benchmark.
We'll need to find a place for some prodigal sons/daughters in the time line, like the FV's, Standard II and the 790. Still one catalog short?

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 Post subject: Re: VANTAGE history
PostPosted: Sat 10 Apr 2010 06:59 PM 
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Quote:
GDK9 wrote:
Still one catalog short?


possible. Usually new catalogues in music business have to be printed at the end of the year, because the following year is starting with the two biggest fairs for musical instruments: the NAMM show in Anaheim in January, and the FRANKFURTER Musik MESSE in March. That's the reason why I believe that the first (board's "early '80") cat is from fall/winter 1979.
The same for Corsair's NZ-cat: he bought his VA900 in (I'm sure: second half of) 1980 , and the cat with the new '81 models was already there.
Vantage has been very active until 1984. For 1983 all I've got so far, is the 1983 specs sheet from the Gallery. Maybe we're missing a '83-catalog !?
For 1985 I'm not sure if there have been changes in the line or even a 1985 catalog. But I've got some '85 magazines at my attic.
Will have a look at them soon!
No idea how to catalogize the flying Vs, the Standard and the 790 at the moment, :look: but time will come... :wink:

Edit, 9-20-2010: 790 is a 1980 model, Flying V's (575): 1981 - 1983. Still mysterious: the standard!!?

_________________
All vantage-branded guitars were lower-priced instruments aimed at the beginner-to-intermediate market. It has no interest to collectors and very little demand among players! (www.allexperts.com)


Last edited by mozart on Mon 20 Sep 2010 03:17 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: VANTAGE history
PostPosted: Sun 11 Apr 2010 03:28 PM 
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Just had a look at the serials of all Flying Vs I could find: found seven digit serial numbers starting with 1, 2 and 3 ! 1981 - 1983 that is. As they are not to find in the late '80/=1981 catalogue, I'd say the introduction of the FV-575 must have been mid/late 1981 !


EDIT:
From my point of view, catalogue 2 (late 1980/1981) has been valid for 2 years, until catalogue 3 (i.e. "Born to rock" came out late 1982 !!! (We've seen a german catalogue 2 with "1982" print !)
Catalogue 3 introduced the new 1983 instruments (some of them already available late '82 ).
So the introduction of the flying Vs might have been too late for cat 2 - and of no interest for cat 3, because of being discontinued.

_________________
All vantage-branded guitars were lower-priced instruments aimed at the beginner-to-intermediate market. It has no interest to collectors and very little demand among players! (www.allexperts.com)


Last edited by mozart on Mon 12 Apr 2010 12:45 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: VANTAGE history
PostPosted: Mon 12 Apr 2010 03:36 AM 
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some words to 1986: few changes only. Still the four lines of 1985 (=models from the late '84 catalogue):
new avengers, new x-series, basically hot-series, invaders
slightly updated for 1986 (FRANKFURT music fair review from "Fachblatt" 5/1986) + one new model:
Invader 5TD

new design(Kahler type tremolos)/low prices strategy

example: april '86 edition of "Fachblatt music magazin" presents the 315 STX model (avenger series), price: 270.-,
sent to the magazine for a test by German distributor MEXO. This model has been available since the end of 1984/early 1985!
The article starts with: " nothing new from VANTAGE since a long time..."
My conclusion : besides from a few updates there's been no new productline for 1986 !!!

Therefore the late '84 catalog must have been the last cat by Vantage Japan !
Looking at the second hand market, early Vantages are more often to find than models from this last catalog.
Less production numbers that means , and Vantage decline from 1984/1985 until Matsumoku closedown early 1987!

_________________
All vantage-branded guitars were lower-priced instruments aimed at the beginner-to-intermediate market. It has no interest to collectors and very little demand among players! (www.allexperts.com)


Last edited by mozart on Sun 23 May 2010 04:39 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: VANTAGE history
PostPosted: Mon 12 Apr 2010 01:18 PM 
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The more I clear my way through old mags, ads and threads, the exacter I can work out the VANTAGE time table. There are still some grey zones though: the US/CAN beginnings in 1979, the last vantage days 1986/87, and for 1983 I don't have enough infos yet.
But meanwhile I do believe that we've got all the official catalogues (unless a late '83 is coming up):

catalog 1 : publicated late 1979
catalog 2 : publicated late 1980
catalog 3 : publicated late 1982
catalog 4 : publicated late 1984

_________________
All vantage-branded guitars were lower-priced instruments aimed at the beginner-to-intermediate market. It has no interest to collectors and very little demand among players! (www.allexperts.com)


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 Post subject: Re: VANTAGE history
PostPosted: Mon 12 Apr 2010 05:42 PM 
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Sole Vantage importer for the UK, at least until august '81:
STACK MUSIC
9 Stapledon Road
Orton Southgate
Peterborough
Cambs
Tel. (0733) 232440

Nowadays, a company called 'Packhorse cases' resides at this address. Manufacturer of flight cases, instrument cases ... 'for more than 30 years'. They still use the same phone number. Looks like the owner(s) shifted business slightly. I'll throw in an email :wink: .

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of gathering info on guitars by non-commercial guitar lovers. Why?


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 Post subject: Re: VANTAGE history
PostPosted: Fri 16 Apr 2010 02:31 AM 
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Yesterday I've talked to a guy who was working for an Austrian Music shop in the late seventies/early eighties.
He does remember the Vantage brand very well ("mid price/high quality").
I showed him 2 of my NOS and with a big smile he immediately felt 30 years younger :D
The music shop (Hofrichter music) has imported VANTAGE guitars directly, he claims. Pre '80 !!
He is sure, they've had the guitars at their shop before 1980.
Ordered at the FRANKFURT music fair in spring '79 (or even '78), he says !

I'm searching for music-fair reports from Frankfurt 1979, 1980.
At the moment I cannot find music mags from that time in the germanspeaking aera, but I'll keep my eyes open :look:

Slylock's discovery of numbers at acoustic guitar bracings, might be another hint for 1979 as starting year....

_________________
All vantage-branded guitars were lower-priced instruments aimed at the beginner-to-intermediate market. It has no interest to collectors and very little demand among players! (www.allexperts.com)


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