Gibson Melody Maker D Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1964), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 243236, sunburst top, dark back and sides finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original brown alligator chipboard case.

This is a superb example of the Melody Maker D, Gibson's 1960s offering in a high-quality student/amateur level guitar. These fine playing if basic instruments offered the hordes of aspiring players in 1964 the feel of the company's more expensive solid-bodies at a comparatively budget-friendly price. While unadorned with some basic economies (single-layer pickguard, strip tuners, single-coil pickups with unshielded wiring and a narrow headstock with a decal logo) in the important ways this is still a real Gibson instrument. The two-pickup Melody Maker D is actually a fine playing guitar with a fairly versatile sound; the thin single-coil pickups are bright and full sounding but lower in output so lack the natural overdrive capacity of the hotter P-90 and Humbuckers.

This late-1964 example is an interesting transitional instrument. It has the new-for-1965 style body, somewhat broader than earlier Melody Makers made from 1959 through mid-1964 with more substantial cutaway horns. This mahogany body is however finished in the older style brown-yellow sunburst instead of the cherry lacquer that became the standard finish on larger-body '64-5 Melody Makers. The neck is slim and comfortable, with the 1 5/8" nut width that is generally thought to be a 1965 and later feature but actually slipped in earlier on many guitars. This one is fairly chunky feeling with a solid 1 5/8" width, not the super slim later '60s variant that can be as skinny as 1 1/2". All the hardware is nickel plated including the stud-mounted tailpiece/bridge; this guitar is a factory Stoptail with no Vibrola tailpiece and the better player for it. The pots are coded to the 36th week of 1964.

This new style Melody Maker was only offered in from the end of 1964 through 1965; by early '66 the model was redesigned yet again using the SG shape. This is likely one of the very first "new" ones made. While only in production for about 14 months, this version of the Melody Maker-D is not exactly a rare guitar -- production figures show over 2500 shipped in 1964 and 4700 the next year. Nevertheless, the combination of the venerable 1950s style sunburst finish on the newer body IS rare compared to the cherry version; we have had two from this exact batch with serial numbers only a few digits apart.

Many of these originally inexpensive guitars have been used heavily or extensively modified over the years, so finding a really clean one in all original condition is always a treat. Probably the single most famous MM-D is the '65 used by Eric Carmen in the Raspberries and subsequently owned and played by Joan Jett for the bulk of her career, which is refinished in white with two humbucking pickups. This original 1964 sunburst guitar is a cool and great-playing 1960s Gibson: light, easy to handle, and extremely responsive with a great sound and vibe.

Overall length is 39 in. (99.1 cm.), 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This is a very clean, all original and great playing original example of this budget Gibson classic. The finish still has very strong color and shows only very light checking, some small dings dents and scrapes and no major wear. There is a feelable dink to the back of the neck behind the 7th fret, and a couple smaller ones higher up. There is some strum wear to the tops of the plastic pickup covers, but again nothing major. The single layer pickguard has scuffing on the top surface but no cracks, the "Melody Maker" logo below the fingerboard is still fully legible.

All hardware is original and complete, even the fragile plastic strap buttons. The nickel plating on the stop tailpiece shows some light typical corrosion, and the G string tuner is slightly bent. The original frets show some light wear and this is a superbly playable guitar, with a better range of sound than many expect. The original 1950's style alligator grain chipboard case is still intact and functional; this must have been one of the very last of these ever issued! Inside the pocket is the original hangtag (warranty card detached) with the matching serial number and a receipt from Fortuna's Music & Dance Studio for purchasing this guitar with a Skylark amp on December 13, 1964 for $235; it doesn't get any more authentic than that! Maybe somebody got it for Christmas. Overall this is a simply superb package of relatively affordable 1960's golden age Gibson goodness! Overall Excellent Condition.

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Listed2 months ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.Learn more
Brand
Model
  • Melody Maker D
Finish
  • sunburst top, dark back and sides
Categories
Year
  • 1964
Fretboard Material
  • Rosewood
Color Family
  • Brown
Pickup Configuration
  • SS
Body Material
  • Mahogany
Neck Construction
  • Set-Neck
Body Shape
  • Double Cutaway
Right / Left Handed
  • Right Handed
Number of Strings
  • 6-String
Neck Material
  • Mahogany
Bridge/Tailpiece Type
  • Wrap-Around
Finish Pattern
  • Sunburst
Finish Style
  • Gloss
Body Type
  • Solid Body
Scale Length
  • 24.75"
Model Family
Number of Frets
  • 22

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