Electra MPC Guitars

Electra MPC Guitars

Guitar Gavel Podcast with Brian Stoltz

In this episode I sit down with solo artist, faithful band member, and prominent session guitarist Brian Stoltz. This is the first of a few episodes we’re doing together leading into the debut of his newest album, “New World Rising”, out April 2nd.

Brian met the Neville Brothers in 1981, auditioned for the guys and got the gig and five shows later they were opening for the Stones on their Tattoo You tour. He finished out the decade with the Neville’s, did his own thing for a few years, and then started a multi-decade run with the Funky Meters in 1994 His resume reads like a fairy tale, recording with Dylan, Edie Brickell, Linda Ronstadt, and Dr. John to name a few.

For better or worse, I took Brian all over the place in this interview, but we had a blast! Brian is releasing one single each Friday leading up to the April 2nd record release.

You can find his music on Apple, YouTube, Spotify, and other major streaming services.

The audio version of the episode is available on all major podcast channels. Note- there is no “show and tell” in this one so listening to it as opposed to watching is just as good.

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 Epiphone, Aria, Victor, Washburn, Greco and Vantage. Matsumoku also had their own brand of guitars, Westone, which they started in 1975. 

For Electra, it’s the company’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 1985. 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). It was one of a handful of Electra guitars to have a completely original design

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 but their online store does not look like it’s been updated since 2014.

For an in depth review of Electra guitars check out these two websites: http://www.rivercityamps.com/electra/history.php and http://www.rivercityamps.com/electrapage/index.php

Guitar Gavel Lick Of The Week with Keith Amyx - Chromatic move over D

On the front porch in the swing... just a swingin. Not exactly John Anderson, but Keith has a simple chromatic lick over D.

Tab is at the end of the video, enjoy!


I love that you love it, thanks so much Pierre!!

David Still

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love reading the “Gavels”. The licks always provide more knowledge.

Pierre Moatti

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