Renaissance Plexibass 1978 Black Plexiglass. Rare. High quality like Alembic work. Precision bass

Used – Good
$300 price drop
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About This Listing





All original



ANOTHER rare and unusual guitar from my personal collection. I have always been entranced by plexiglass guitars. They are so futuristic that I imagined one of them being on the first space station. This one is was hand built in Malvern Pennsylvania in October 1978. It was the 53rd guitar built by the RENAISSANCE Guitar Company.


This is an excellent example of a luthier, who was also a player, becoming a builder.  You play then you build what you think you want to be playing. That is what happened here with John Marshall. I consider this to be more of a hand “machined” instrument than a “handmade” guitar. It is space-aged from the start. But also, it is a solid professional high-quality guitar. The materials used are top rate. The metal is brass, and the woods are maple and ebony. Can’t argue with that composition. Thanks to the solid plexi body and the high output Di-Marzio P pickups, every note coming from this monster is thunderous. You feel it before you hear it. You lean on it and it pushes back. Reminds me of an Alembic crossed with a Veillette-Citron mated to a Fender P bass. Is it collectible? Sure. Fits the parameters of rarity in that only 285 Renaissance guitars were built with the bass line being about 100 of those. This one is number #53 built early in the company’s history and shows the craftsmanship of professionals who are working side by side on each guitar. No production line here.


THE COMPANY (history taken from online sources)

“The first production Plexiglas guitar was the famous Ampeg Dan Armstrong “see-through” guitar offered from 1969 to ’71. Indeed, some of the first Japanese “copy” guitars introduced in 1970 were knock-offs of the Ampeg, including versions by Ibanez, Aria, Univox, and St. Louis Music’s The Electra, which became their brand name in the ’70s, They were pretty close but didn’t have removable pickups or the weird Danelectro bridges. To be honest, those knock-offs were a little lighter and often played better than the Ampeg original!”

“Despite use by Keith Richard, the Plexiglas idea had limited uptake. But the notion didn’t die. The idea was revived in 1977 in the then pretty rural Philadelphia suburb of Malvern, Pennsylvania, in the form of Renaissance guitars and basses. The man who initiated Renaissance was John Marshall, a local guitarist who learned guitar making from Eric Schulte (from Koontz) and Augie LoPrinzi, both Philadelphia-area luthiers. He hooked up with two other partners, Phil Goldberg, who had a music store and was involved with a local recording studio, and Dan Lamb, a local studio guitarist. After some discussion, the decision was made to build in Plexiglas. Marshall designed the guitar and bass, which was a sort of cross between a Les Paul and Telecaster. Production commenced in 1978. Both guitars and basses had active circuitry with DiMarzio pickups. They were offered in Clear, Smokey Grey, and Black Plexi.”

“Renaissance had big plans for national distribution, but progress was slow, and the brand never got much further than the Mid-Atlantic region. After about a year, trouble began to brew. Marshall, disgruntled, left the company to become a luthier for Martin. Renaissance began to have financial troubles.”

“In 1979, Renaissance recruited another area guitarist and music store owner from Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, John Dragonetti, to invest in the company. It proved a disastrous financial decision!”

“No sooner had Dragonetti been convinced to put in some hard-earned cash, the business exploded. His money had gone to pay bills and the I.R.S. was zeroing in. By 1980 he found himself in complete control of the company – but not in control of much. And the guitars were just too expensive to make given their wholesale price, which was around $350. The company soon went out of business.”


THE GUITAR. SN: 1078-0053

1.       Body made of Rohm & Haas plexiglass in black.

2.       Body is 1.5” thick.

3.       Total weight of guitar is 11.8 pounds.

4.       Bolt on maple laminate neck (machine screws).

5.       Ebony fretboard.

6.       Brass dots on side of neck as fret markers.

7.       Hand tooled brass nut.

8.       Active circuit system designed by Dan Lamb who had worked for Musictronics.

9.       Di-Marzio “P bass” pickups.

10. “BADASS” custom bridge.

11. Jumbo frets.

12. Grover tuners.


1.       Guitar is in good condition. Shows slight signs of playing (scratches on body that only show in different lighting conditions). All electronics work well.

2.       Comes with original case.


Buy this guitar. When you get it, play it, look at it, take a walk with it; whatever you need to do to decide if it is right for you. If it is, then good playing to you. If it is not, then please ship it back for a full refund-no questions ask.  Per Reverb terms, you will need to pay the shipping cost to get it back home.

SHIPPING IS $55.00 via UPS to any US Continental location. Buyers outside this area must contact me for a shipping quote before buying this instrument.

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Product Specs

Listeda year ago
ConditionGood (Used)
Good condition items function properly but may exhibit some wear and tear.learn more
Made In
  • United States

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