GEAR- My first guitar. Or Life Lesson #7 - choose quality

My first guitar was purchased at the ubiquitous Consumer's Distributing chain of catalogue stores. Anyone in Canada of my age remembers Consumers (as we called it). They were kind of like Sears only without the clothing. They sold small appliances, jewellery, electronics, sports equipment and toys.
This description partially sums up the buying experience.
Consumers Distributing aimed to reduce costs for customers by storing goods in a stockroom, instead of displaying them in a costly showroom. Customers made their selections from a catalogue, filled out a slip with product identification, and waited for staff to retrieve the items from the warehouse.
Of course half the time the stuff you wanted was not in stock that day and if it wasn't in stock that day you likely weren't going to get it EVER because a check of their main warehouse would always prove fruitless.
"Oh by the way," the woman behind the counter would say. "We have a similar product here at 5 times the cost of the one you wanted. It's definitely in stock. Would you like to buy it instead?"
"Would you like to be jailed for bait-and-switch-style fraud?" I would say in my precocious 13-year old way.
They never liked me much there. I'm sure they called me names as soon I left the store.
On this day though the guitar was in stock, and it was exactly like the guitar pictured here.
What kind was it? It was definitely a Japanse guitar. But it had no name of course. The one pictured here is identified as a Teisco, however by the early 80s Teisco had long been bought out by Kawai, so it may technically been a Kawai. Japan was making some very cool guitars at the time, This was not one of them
I wish I could say more about what the guitar felt like to play or what it sounded like. All I can remember was that it wasn't quite what I expected (a feeling that was eerily similar to what I'd felt every other time I bought anything from Consumers)
I also bought a cheap plastic amplifier with it. Actually I still have that amp and will feature it in my next blog post.
I bought the guitar for about 70 dollars (not an inconsequential sum back then). I had no idea how to play it or even tune it. I took it to the music store to get the guy to tune it up for me. He looked at me and said for the money I had spent I could have gotten a much better guitar from his store.
He pointed to a Harmony Stratocaster copy hanging from one of the racks and said that it was the same price. Later that night i took the catalogue guitar back to the store and got my refund. The following day i went back to get the Strat.
Oh, that catalogue guitar is now "vintage" and would probably cost about $200 in good condition. Adjusted for inflation that's about $40 more than I paid for it. This guy thinks people are paying way too much for these guitars now. I agree.


  1. It was such a nostalgic thing reading this article and seeing the picture! I too bought this as my first guitar 22 years ago...It served its purpose, but was FAR from a quality guitar....but I can say in all honesty that I don't ever recall having any issues with it...for $100 CDN, I had it for about one year, but I am happy I owned it and wish I could find more pictures of it...

    Thanks again for the blast fro mthe past!

    Ontario, Canada

  2. Dude, mine's sitting in the next room. In fact, I just bought new hardware for it and am going to resurrect the beast.

  3. Let me know how it goes. If you want, put up a video on Youtube of it when you've got it in good condition and we can put it up in the comments.