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Thanks for the quick replies! $120 is throw-away money so I just need to figure out how to sneak the guitar in without my wife noticing hehe. I am having a bad case of g.a.s. lately (picked up a used Epiphone Dot last week for $190 with a hard case, and a Squier Double Fat Deluxe Tele 3 months ago!). I am just looking for a decent base to learn about modding guitars. I will keep you posted on what I do. I planned on using the Dot as a modding platform but it sounds perfect as-is for me so I need another guitar to be the guinea pig!

Emmsys
 

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So crazy story @jayoldschool . I was researching El Dégas guitars because somebody in one of my Facebook gear pages (All Buttons In, Toronto's best FB gear page) legitimately gave one away to get it out of his house. Nothing to write home about, one of those all black Korean Strats with even the fretboard dyed to look like ebony - pic attached. Anyway, I came across this thread in my research - and then came across the pic of the natural finish Strat just like yours (and mine).

Here's the kicker. I had NO idea what brand that good MIJ one was. I'd given up ever finding out and honestly figured it was some partscaster someone put together. If I hadn't scooped up this beater and started researching it, I never would have found out that other one is an ED. Good ol' serendipity. I honestly thought it might be yours - hatchet job done to shoehorn in a bridge humbucker and all plus cut between the singles to run wiring. Anyhooz - I just sent it to my luthier/tech buddy this morning :D Getting it wired up right (I'm pretty sure pups are 70s Dimarzios) and switching up the colour scheme - I'll be posting her when she gets back for sure. I seem to be blessed with El Dégas attraction - I paid $10 for it;)

As for this one - no sound even though I just opened her up and everything looks okay. I'll have someone check it out. I'll see how it sounds as is - if it's not at least slightly above average and giving some good quack out the 2nd and 4th switch positions, I'm actually going to drop in a random older EMG pickguard I have (again, $10). I'm not an active guy, but I like experimenting sound wise.

Question (sorry this became an essay) - anyone know if the Korean 3 single coil Strat bodies would be routed to fit a bridge humbucker? And if they shielded the pup cavity? Oh, and if the original pups were staggered like a true Strat? I doubt it, but I'm wondering if this may have been modded at all.

Novel done!
 

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So I picked up the El Degas today! $120 with a gig bag too. It is in freakin’ amazing condition aside from very tiny surface scratches on the pick guard and some of the screws are old/dirty. The previous owner is a guitar guy that sets up and cleans guitars professionally so the fretboard looks absolutely brand new and the guitar itself is setup perfectly! Beside a brand new guitar, this one is a 8.9/10.

It is much heavier than my Squier Classic Vibes strat but feels incredibly solid. All of the hardware works perfectly (including the switch for single coil/HB). The tuners are much better than I thought they would be. They are solid and don’t have much of a “deadzone”.

I only got to play it at home for about 10 minutes on my Jetcity JCM22H though. The neck single coil pickup has that Fender sparkle that we all know and love. The middle pickup is less so, but still has a nice clean sound. The HB sounds like a bridge HB but not as sparkly or bright as I hoped. In single-coil it sounds pretty good but I look forward to changing these pickups to see how a cheap guitar can sound with better pickups.

In crunch/distortion, the neck and middle pickups are a but dark/muddy but still better than I expected. The HB has a nice crunch sound at lower gains but becomes a tad buzzy/fizzy at the highest gains (as much because of tge Jetcity as the pickup itself). Honestly, I was hoping it wouldn’t sound perfect otherwise I would need another guitar to be my winter mod project!

As for the feel of the guitar, it plays great! No fret buzzing or cutout anywhere. It does not feel cheap at all. Best $120 I have spent! I am not sure which pickups to put on this El degas yet but will let you know soon. Really happy with how this guitar feels! Here are some pics!







 

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Hello friends

I'm french master luthier. I was surfing on the net when I discovered people talking about El Degas. I can give you the exact history of this brand, because I lived it.

- The brand was created in Paris by my boss Gérard Charnoz (Musicologist), who was owning a guitar shop and his brother Jean-Luc Charnoz was luthier and harpsichord maker and I learned lutherie with him. That was in 1972. Because the shop was specialized in acoustic instruments and at the same looking to new products at a time Japan was starting the guitar industry. The brothers created 3 brands : EL DEGAS, D'ANGELICA, MOUNTAIN. all amde in Japan, intially for the needs of the shop. years after, the shop closed, but the brand survived. As I worked in the shop and the workshop during years, I can confirm you all this. We have sold bulks of El Degas...etc. Hope this information is usefull for you. All the best to all the members.
Hi Kamel, thanks for the history lesson on the origins of El Degas. i have a question...as an artist/ painter i've always wondered why they were called El Degas.....if they were named after the famous French artist Edgar Degas (perhaps they were not named after that Degas at all). also...there was another well known Japanese guitar label called Greco and there was a very famous painter named El Greco. maybe someone at the factory got their artists and brands mixed up?
While i'm asking questions....you mentioned a "Mountain" brand. did that name come as a tribute to the '70's band of the same name (featuring Leslie West, Felix Pappalardi and Canadian drummer extraordinaire, Corky Laing)?
I'm about to receive an ElDegas EB style bass that i won on Ebay. are these well made?
 

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<iframe width="480" height="360" src="El Degas Slideshow by kevinpaddlekkpaddle"></iframe>

Any info anybody can provide about this model would be appreciated. I traded a Mexican Tele with a friend to get it. I figured I can buy a decent Tele anywhere but haven't seen an El Degas in good shape for 30 years.
I'm probably late to the game on this, but better late than never. My first guitar was an El Degas 680 identical to yours but in wood finish (still have it). The BL stands for blue, which is quite unusual (I have seen pictures of a red one as well, most were brown with a lighter stripe in the middle). They were budget instruments made in Japan in the 70's and early 80's and are excellent value for the money. I still have the receipt for mine, it was $213 brand new in Ottawa in 1981. This was one of the few original designs they had - most of the El Degas in the 70's were fairly decent copies of popular models. I think it has mahogany body and bolt-on maple neck. Good quality for the money, they came stock with DiMarzio humbuckers. There were several variations of these models with different aesthetics (up to the neck-through 980), as well as matching 686 basses. Although they are not collectors items and typically sell fairly low (around $300), they represent a much better deal than most used guitars you could buy at the same price point (IMO).

There is a forum dedicated to El Degas guitars, it has a treasure trove of information:

Matching El Degas 680 guitar and 686 bass - eldegas.com
 

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Anyone have any? I love them. I want to buy some more.

I currently own two El Degas basses. One's a Fender Prec clone, the other a great Ricky 4001 fireglo clone.

El Degas guitars are MIJ clones from the lawsuit era, and not a lot exist anymore; as the story goes, the factory burnt down in the late 70's/early 80's, taking a large number of guitars (being bult, and a large number that had been recalled for a pickup problem) with it.

If anyone has any for sale that are in decent shape, contact me! (I'm only interested in electris guitars & basses)

If you just want to show off, post yer pics. I'm going to be building a website with all known info on these babies sometime this year, so I'd love to see your photos!
Hi there, I have a full neck in great shape (my first guitar that’s been sitting in a hard shell case for years!). Let me know if you are interested in looking at pictures.
Dave
 

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Anyone have any? I love them. I want to buy some more.

I currently own two El Degas basses. One's a Fender Prec clone, the other a great Ricky 4001 fireglo clone.

El Degas guitars are MIJ clones from the lawsuit era, and not a lot exist anymore; as the story goes, the factory burnt down in the late 70's/early 80's, taking a large number of guitars (being bult, and a large number that had been recalled for a pickup problem) with it.

If anyone has any for sale that are in decent shape, contact me! (I'm only interested in electris guitars & basses)

If you just want to show off, post yer pics. I'm going to be building a website with all known info on these babies sometime this year, so I'd love to see your photos!
Hey, I have a '78 El Dégas in mint condition.
Joint Musical instrument Musician Arm String instrument
 

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hey well u see i got a el degas eletric guitar and well tell u the truth dont know if it is a les paul or a les paul custom copy.. u see it is my step dads and well he dosnt like it and bought a brand new yamaha and well i love the guitar one thing is that i need to find a neck for it frets are wearing down and his daughter when she was youger dropped it :mad: so its glued at the top with like fiber glass glue and well it is holding strong :p i will try and get a pic of it here soon if ne one wants to try and tell me what kind of model it is.. ( its a beige and black resembeling the gibson les paul model) i think it is just a les paul model but not sure what the cusom copy looks like so i could be wrong.. mail me if i want to se a pic of it (when i get one)
I know this is a necro-thread. But after reading this one 16 year-old post from page one, I’m glad this guy only ever made one post. Holy Crap! That was tough to read!
 
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Kamel Chenaouy is legit. His history is 100% accurate as to where and why El Degas came to exist.
As to MIJ El Degas electrics, Fujigen had the contract from beginning to end. That brings us to the MIJ conundrum, Tiesco would sometimes farm out some component production to Fujigen to meet demand. Fujigen farmed out some wood component manufacture to Matsumoku (who began as a cabinetry manufacturer). A lot of higher end Fujigen instruments have Matsumoku made bodies and necks, probably every neck through guitar or bass Fujigen had the contract for prior to the Matsumoku factory burning down in 1987. Instrument manufacturing is just like any other high quantity manufacturing, the company that wins or gets the contract is the 'prime contractor'. They may or may not subcontract out to 'jobbers' for all or part of the item manufacture.
I could say a bit more about MIJ El Degas instruments but I don't want people using it to ask unreasonable prices for them, so we'll leave it at that. People would start misapplying it to models it doesn't apply to on Reverb to try and inflate their price, like that 'lawsuit era' garbage. ;)
 

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Matching 680 guitar and 686 bass - these were the bolt-on models at the lower end of the series, with the top end being the guitar and bass above with set necks and fancy inlays.
Still very good value for the money. The guitar is the first I ever owned, and I picked up the matching bass for less than $200 about 7 years ago. This is one of the few original designs from El Degas. Headstock reminds me of Gumby.

 

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One of my "Strat"s is (was) an El Degas, I think. Pretty sure only the neck and body are original, no logos or markings to definitively ID it. I did find a couple El Degas' with similar body wood and similar neck details, so that's why I think it could be one, but really can't confirm. Really nice guitar imo, definitely a beater but also a looker, and it plays great. The frets are pretty flat, those could stand getting redone, but it's so good as is I don't wat to mess with it. :D
 
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