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Real or Fake? - 1987 Spectrum III XA1330

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Real or Fake? - 1987 Spectrum III XA1330 Empty Real or Fake? - 1987 Spectrum III XA1330

Post by MarcusElden Wed Jul 13, 2022 3:59 am

I'm eyeing this used guitar, but I'm not sure if it's legit or not. The main thing that I'm uneasy about is the neck bolt plate, which looks nothing like you're expect. The tuners also seem to be missing the Westone logo.

Supposedly the black version was introduce in early 1988, whereas the 1987 was only three colors, none of which were black. 

Real or Fake? - 1987 Spectrum III XA1330 Cedc7210
Real or Fake? - 1987 Spectrum III XA1330 C1fc9f10
Real or Fake? - 1987 Spectrum III XA1330 D985fa10
Real or Fake? - 1987 Spectrum III XA1330 49a99610


Almost everything seems right here, except for the badges and lack of Westone logos and "Made in Japan" and whatnot. Any ideas?
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Post by corsair Wed Jul 13, 2022 4:45 am

Looks good to me… even still got the stringlock plates!! The tuners are Gotoh, so no issues there and the neckplate looks like my Clipper CL4112 and 2012…
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Post by MarcusElden Wed Jul 13, 2022 11:30 am

So the plot thickens - I asked the seller to remove the neck and take a photo of the area since that's where there's usually the inspector's info - and I see what looks to be a Japanese hanko stamp in purple, but over the top of it appears to be some very sloppy Korean writing (I speak both Japanese and Korean).

Real or Fake? - 1987 Spectrum III XA1330 E6uv9h10

Real or Fake? - 1987 Spectrum III XA1330 A4ufm610

The top picture is really hard to decipher what is written in the black marker but I'm fairly certain that the second photo is "미국/miguk" which means USA, but is further complicated because it looks like you can see a hiragana か/ka underneath the top marker. 

The top photo appears to be maybe more Korean but it's extremely hard to tell, though there is the purple stamp which appears to have some kind of Japanese kanji in it. 

Any ideas? corsair, wanna pop open your matsumoku clipper and see if it has any resemblance?
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Post by MarcusElden Wed Jul 13, 2022 12:19 pm

corsair wrote:Looks good to me… even still got the stringlock plates!! The tuners are Gotoh, so no issues there and the neckplate looks like my Clipper CL4112 and 2012…
What about the lack of branding? You can see that the 1987 model had a unique 65th anniversary decal and the standard Westone neck engraved plate:

http:// w w w dot westone.info/xa1330

The weird thing is, according to the Westone site, the XA1330/Spectrum 3 was never even made in Korea... Weird? At this time, the Corsair was being made in Korea...
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Post by MarcusElden Wed Jul 13, 2022 12:56 pm

Okay so even more mysteries:

Looking at the catalog - http:// w w w dot westone.info/cats/88ltded/index.html

It appears like the knobs are different as well. 

My guess? This guitar is Matsumoku made, but was shipped to Korea and basically stripped of the branding components either for profit or to be a donor guitar - the Westone tuners, the neck plate, the knobs, the nut (used to be black, see catalog) the back plate (missing the SLM Anniversary decal). With all that in mind I'm a little wary of this one, and though I could get a neck plate and vintage Westone tuners, the knobs will be difficult and the SLM decal back plate is going to be nearly impossible.

Thoughts?
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Post by Westbone Thu Jul 14, 2022 2:52 am

Apparently all the remaining parts were shipped to Korea when Matsumoku closed down.
Guitars were then assembled using those parts until all used up.

I'd say that is a legit instrument, totally!

Who would want to fake a XA1330 anyway?? It's no vintage Fender or the like and is on the side of cheaper Westones guitars.

They chopped and changed many parts around, 'subject to change without notice'

I wouldn't worry, if you like it buy it.
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Post by MarcusElden Fri Jul 15, 2022 12:12 am

Westbone wrote:Apparently all the remaining parts were shipped to Korea when Matsumoku closed down.
Guitars were then assembled using those parts until all used up.

I'd say that is a legit instrument, totally!

Who would want to fake a XA1330 anyway?? It's no vintage Fender or the like and is on the side of cheaper Westones guitars.

They chopped and changed many parts around, 'subject to change without notice'

I wouldn't worry, if you like it buy it.

Thanks for the insight. I could see that being the case, and this was essentially one of the last Matumoku dogs at the bowl, hence why it has so many funky parts.

For me, the most important thing is finding a Japanese-assembled Spectrum or Corsair that has as much original features as possible, so this one with a ton of random junk thrown onto it just won't do, as the mission to find the replacement parts needed to make it whole would be an odyssey. I'll just try to keep my eyes out for an XA1420 Corsair (made before Jan 1987) and and Spectrum IIIs that are all-original.

I think anyone who has seen something like Antiques Roadshow knows the importance of the little authentic original bits and bobs on a vintage item. It's often said the most valuable part of a Beanie Baby back in the 90s craze was the tag. I just bought an Aria Pro II RS Wildcat made at Matsumoku that is in near mint condition and has all the original parts and case - truly a rare find, but I want a nice Westone for the "wow" factor ("Aria Pro II? pssssh that's for normies!") and to complete my dream guitar collection.
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Post by corsair Thu Jul 21, 2022 5:22 am

My Clipper is MIK, no question about it… so is my Series II Spectrum 1012, so they’re outside your interest sphere. They both have Asian writing in the neck pocket, and on the neck heel.

If you hunt and peck in here somewhere, there should be a set of photos of both guitars disassembled …

However, they are both great playing guitars with one of the sickest necks ever made by a commercial guitar builder, and mine are both mildly modified with pickup changes…
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