1960s Pleasant (Shinko-made) SEL-220 Electric Guitar

Shinko Gakki was a smaller Japanese guitar company from the '60s and went out of business in '66, so that's the latest this could have been made. Judging by the nice neck and competent build, the company was clearly trying to market a good-quality guitar. In Japan the Pleasant brand name was used a lot but over here they're more-often seen under the Cipher brand.

This one came via a repair customer and it received a decent amount of fuss, but now that it's done-up it's a really nice guitar. It has a short-scale neck and Jaguar-like pickups. They're a bit raunchy but also surfily clean and clear. The whole design feels like a mash-up between Mosrite and Jaguar design elements, really -- both designs that were wildly-popular in Japan at the time from their exposure via surf bands.

Repairs included: a board plane and refret with medium frets, new volume+tone pots and Switchcraft jack, replacement whammy (a real Bigsby now replaces a "Bigsby-like" original), replacement bridge (a one-piece aluminum Bigsby bridge hard-mounted to the body replaces a one-piece steel "Bigsby-like" floating original), and setup. It'd already had vintage Fender tuners installed at the headstock.

Setup notes: the neck is straight, the truss works, and the new frets feel great. Action is bang-on at 1/16" at the 12th fret overall and it's wearing 48w-10 gauges with flatwound strings on the EAD courses.

Scale length: 24 5/8"

Nut width: 1 11/16"

String spacing at nut: 1 7/16"

String spacing at bridge: 1 15/16"

Body length: 19 1/8"

Lower bout width: 13 1/2"

Side depth at endpin: 1 3/8"

Body wood: not sure

Fretboard: rosewood

Bridge: genuine Bigsby 3-plain, 3-wound comp'd aluminum

Neck feel: slim C-shape, 7 1/4" radius board

Neck wood: not sure

Weight: 8 lb 9 oz

Condition notes: one missing switch knob, replacement tuners, replacement bits in the wiring harness, replacement whammy and bridge. There's a little bit of use-wear on the body and the finish has some weather-check but overall it looks really clean. Oh! I also replaced the strap buttons with Gibson-style ones. The originals were not the best.


CM said…
There's a Cipher on shopgoodwill.com (natural finish) just like it going out the door at just under $500. In pretty good shape too. I'll email you a pic. Chris M