1960s Alamo Fiesta Semihollow Electric Guitar

I took this kick-butt Alamo in trade a bit ago and worked on it "after hours" around the holidays. These were made in Texas and have a bit of a cult following. Contrary to what it looks like on the outside, it's actually a semihollow instrument built a lot like a Danelectro -- it has pine or poplar "center and frame blocking" but in this case, the top and back are thin plywood rather than the masonite seen on Danos. This allows the whole instrument to clock in at just a little over 5 lbs even with the additional pickup and hardware I installed.

Unlike a Danelectro, though, the neck has a heavy-duty adjustable truss-rod installed with a peculiar adjustment nut that takes a big Allen wrench to turn. It works well and it will be a good, reliable piece of equipment. I'm always a little leery when I have to adjust old Harmony or Fender rods, but I would have no qualms over cranking on this one.

The neck is curious as it's a bit narrow at the nut like a mid-late '60s Gibson (1 9/16"), but the neck profile with its steeper board radius and fuller-C back shape reminds me a bit of some old Fenders and, for that matter, same-period, nicer-grade Kays. It has a Harmony-style 25 1/8" scale length. The neck does not widen-out substantially where it meets the body and I was worried that because of the more-crowded string spacing down there that it would feel bad but I actually get around on this guitar just as well as I do on my own old Fenders. I usually "choke up" a bit on old Harmony bolt-on necks with the same sort-of narrow heel section but for whatever reason this one is much more comfortable for me up there.

In its original configuration, with one single coil pickup in the "neck" position, it had a good sound but felt more or less like playing a nicer Kay Vanguard. After rewiring the harness and fitting/installing a fresh Alnico-magnet, Firebird-style, mini-humbucker bridge pickup, this guitar has found its voice. It goes from a sort-of sweet-but-chimey '60s neck vibe to a more sizzling-hot, twangier, roasty bridge bite. The middle position is especially good.

I replaced the bridge with a Gotoh "aged" ABR-style one, too, with custom string spacing, so it will be easy to keep it setup and adjusted properly vs. the original bridge design which was like an even more poorly-designed Danelectro bridge. I reused the original bridge tailpiece/baseplate, however.

Repairs included: fret seating and level/dress, side dots install, fresh wiring harness (500k volume pot, Switchcraft jack, good 3-way, grounded tail), bridge pickup install, modified bridge/tailpiece setup with new Gotoh Aged ABR-style bridge, cleaning, and setup work.

Body wood: pine/poplar core

Bridge: Gotoh ABR-style aged nickel

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: unknown

Pickups: 1x original single coil (neck), 1x "goldfoil" mini-hum (bridge, like Firebird)

Action height at 12th fret: 1/16" overall (fast)
String gauges: 46w-10 lights

Neck shape: medium-full C

Board radius: 9 1/2"

Truss rod: adjustable (plenty of adjustment left)

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium (modern)

Scale length: 25 1/8"

Nut width: 1 9/16"

Body width: 11"

Body depth: 1 1/2"

Weight: 5 lbs 5 oz

Condition notes: while much is original to the instrument, I've modified it where it lacked usefulness in its original configuration -- I added a bridge pickup, Gibson-style bridge, modified the tailpiece, replaced a missing strap button, and fit a new wiring harness. The tuners appear to be originals and, while the knob for the volume control is not original, it's period and fits-in with the aesthetic. There's finish wear throughout and some chipping/scratches in the back of the neck here and there. The guitar was refretted (wonkily) in the past and the fretboard got crudded-up on its top-layer "finish," apparently, when this was done. I saved the "new" frets via better seating and a heavy-handed level/dress job. They feel good, though -- nice and fresh and modern rather than the sort-of narrow, low, fussy original frets found on originals.

It comes with: its original chip case in a beat-up state only fit for storage, really.