Westone Guitars

Westone Guitars on Ebay
Westone guitar Westone is a brand of guitars and Basses started in the late 1970's. Saint Louis Music acquired an interest in the company in 1981 and began importing the brand to the USA as a replacement brandname for the Custom Kraft-brand instruments manufactured by Kay and Valco in the mid-1950's. Electra was also a brand of Saint Louis Music. In 1984, they merged the brands to make the Electra-Westone brand. From 1985 onwards, the guitars were branded as Westone. The majority of the Westone guitars of the 1980's were made by the famed Matsumoku factory in Japan and imported by Saint Louis Music. After about 1988 production moved to Korea, most of the innovative models disappeared and the brandname was replaced by Alvarez in 1991.

Notable musicians who endorsed Westone models include Trevor Rabin of Yes, Leslie West of Mountain, Kirk Pengilly of INXS, and Nashville guitar ace Paul Yandell. Guy Thomas of the Volcom Creedlers uses a 1984 Thunder-1a bass, drop tuned to B E A D. Dave Brock of Hawkwind, uses a Spectum LX, custom painted by Alan Arthurs. Incidentally, Dave Brock used to play a Paduak-1, that was custom painted by Guy Thomas back in 1984 with the LP cover of Warrior on the Edge of Time, prior to its recent sale. Thomas has the twin of that Paduak, converted to a bass, with a Thunder neck, and customised with Hawkwind's Doremi Fasol Latido LP cover.

Matsumoku made Westone guitars are known for their quality construction, attention to detail, and innovative design ideas. The Westone Magnaflux UBC (unbalanced coil) humbucking pickups used different magnet structures on each coil and asymmetrical windings that, when split, produced single coil pickup output and tones that matched well with the other standard single coil pickups on the same guitar guitar and produced standard humbucking tones when not split. Standard humbuckers typically sound thin and weak when split and do not have the same output or tonal qualities of true single coil pickups.

To this day, only a few boutique pickup manufacturers employ this concept. The heelless built-in or bayonet mount neck was innovative in that it was a set neck and had the good sustain qualities associated with set necks, but the heel was contoured to resemble a neck through design, resulting in comfortable access to the upper frets. Typical set neck guitars, like the Gibson Les Paul, have great sustain but access to the upper frets is difficult because of the large neck-to-body heel. The Pantera X-390 guitars and X-790 basses featured unique contoured bodies with convex or arched tops and concave backs that were very comfortable to play.