Electra Comes Alive

Electra Comes Alive

Guitar Gavel podcast #11 is on the streets!

Beginning with a no-name classical guitar "purchased" with S&H Green Stamps to having a well rounded collection Rob Bernstein shows off some beauties in this Guitar Gavel podcast episode.

A sign of the times... Rob upgraded from the unbranded classical to a Harmony dreadnought and then to a 72 Telecaster he bought in 1974 for $210 with the case!

Several of Rob's teenage musical influences include Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, and The Monkees.

Rob is an absolute delight to talk guitars and music and some of his methodical collection we see in this episode includes: 59 Les Paul Junior, 1963 Epiphone Coronet, PRS 12-string, a stunning Duesenberg Starplayer, and a 1978 LP Standard he bought new.

Thank you Rob for being a wonderful guest and sharing your guitar journey with us all! And thanks to each of you for watching, enjoy!

Saint Louis Music Supply Co. (SLM) started the Electra brand in 1971, originally sourcing guitars from Japan wherever they could and putting out some hardcore Gibson replicas.   

In 1975, however, as Electra was starting to focus on original models and develop their Modular Powered Circuit (MPC) boxes they solidified a deal with Matsumoku Industrial Co. factory in Japan to build most of their guitars.

Matsumoku was an integral part of the Japanese guitar lineage and at times was a contract producer for Aria, Greco, Yamaha and Ibanez. Matsumoku also had their own brand of guitars- Westone. 

It is Electra’s MPC modules that are their claim to fame and this innovative feature debuted in 1976.  

The MPC line-up of guitars had two removable effects units inside the guitar powered by a 9-volt battery.  The modules were controlled with two intensity knobs and on/off toggles. 

Electra offered a total 12 different MPC modules compatible with 18 guitar models. 

On some models, such as the one pictured there was also a rotary dial to control the “Tone Spectrum Circuitry” which provided an array of pickup combinations.    

A few years later in 1981, SLM the parent company of Electra struck a deal with Matsumoku to import and distribute Westone branded guitars to the States. 

For a short while the brand became Electra-Phoenix in 1983 and Electra-Westone in 1984 and eventually just Westone. In 1987 financial troubles got the best of Matsumoku and the factory closed. Manufacturing moved to Korea and Westone lasted until 1991. 

During their heyday Electra enjoyed endorsements from the likes of Peter Frampton, Leslie West, Rick Derringer, and The Outlaws.  West (‘78) and The Outlaws (‘77) both had a signature model.

The Outlaws series X-710, 720, 730, & 740 were actually produced by Terada in Japan. That’s another can of worms, but Terada makes the pro series of Gretsch’s (among many other big name labels).


Electra X-710 specs: Mahogany body & neck, Rosewood fretboard, Super Magnaflux pickups, MPC modules, One volume and tone control, Two MPC intensity controls, 3-way selector and two on/off MPC switches

Electra Guitars were rebirthed in late 2012. Sourced overseas, they also have a custom shop based in Tampa, FL.

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