Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why
A: Because cheap, trashy, cheesy guitars rule! Unfortunately, too many people in the vintage guitar world are only concerned with profit. They only care about high-end, major brand collectibles that are bound to appreciate in value, and anything else is "junk" to them. Between all the ignorance and apathy, it is difficult to get any solid information about older off-brand guitars. Most vintage guitar resources recycle the same ten models over and over, catering to those collectors partial to Strats and Les Pauls, but doing absolutely nothing for those of us more interested in a Kent or a Klira. Ideally, my goal would be to document every old and obscure guitar brand in existence, and is a work in progress, reflecting this pursuit. I may never get that far, but not for lack of trying. As for the name itself, it was chosen because it's short and catchy.

Q: Do you have a store? Are these guitars for sale?
A: I'm not a dealer and I don't have a store. I sometimes do have a couple of guitars for sale, and if I do, they would be listed on eBay. Click HERE to view my current eBay auctions. All the other guitars pictured or described on this site are not for sale. In most cases, I don't even own them anymore. In some cases, I never did.

Q: Why do you like this old junk so much, anyway?
A: After many years of repairing old guitars, I have become a connoisseur of junk on many different levels. As a musician, I have learned to judge guitars by their merits as an instrument, not by the name on the headstock. As an artist, I have learned to appreciate their designs, their unusual features and fanciful aesthetics, whether innovative or merely tacky. As a historian, I have become fascinated with the way these guitars reflect their era and with the companies that created and marketed them. As a repairman, I simply enjoy working on something different - just how excited can you get about yet another Fender or Gibson clone, anyway?

Q: Wow, you have a lot of guitars! They must be worth a fortune, right?
A: Not really. These pictures have accumulated over many, many years. The guitars themselves are long gone. I don't believe in hoarding guitars; my interest is in guitar history, identification of obscure brands and restoration, not in collecting per se. I fix them and pass them on to new owners who will use them and appreciate them. As for myself, I have a couple of workhorse guitars and a few other fun wall-hangers that I'd hesitate to call a collection. The other guitars come and go. None of my guitars would be considered valuable on today's vintage guitar market, but to me they're priceless for various other reasons. Each one has a story behind it, and this site was created to share these stories.

Q: I got an old guitar here! How much is it worth?
A: Try doing a completed auction search on eBay for your model and other similar guitars, those prices are usually a pretty accurate indication of the current going rate. You might also wish to consult a price guide. Unless it's a clean, fully original example of a popular model by a major American company from the 1950's or 1960's, your guitar is probably worth LESS than you think. People have a tendency to overprice cheap guitars. Be realistic, and you'll have a much easier time selling it. If you wish to learn more about pricing guitars, read this article HERE.

Q: You wanna buy my guitar? How much will you offer me for it?
A: By all means, please contact me if you're selling an electric guitar that was made in Russia or Eastern Europe, as that's my main interest these days. Musima, Jolana, Migma, Orfeus, Defil, Ural, Tonika, Formanta, Elgava, Aelita, Roden and other such Russian, East German, Czech, Polish and Bulgarian instruments are WANTED. Also any related parts, catalogs, sales brochures, owner's manuals, etc. These are always welcome. Otherwise, please understand that I am not a dealer. I do buy other cheesy off-brand guitars as well as repairables and project guitars if they strike my fancy, but I do not pay retail for common models or inflated "collector" prices for mainstream collectibles. To interest me, the guitar has to meet the following criteria:
1. It must be an electric guitar or bass built more than 25 years ago.
2. It must be an original design. Fender and Gibson knock-offs and copy guitars, as well as all 80's pointy superstrat types are met with a big yawn.
3. It must either be weird and obscure enough to be a challenge to identify and learn the history of, or be in sad enough shape to be a challenge to restore.
4. The price has to be right.
If you think you have something that's up my alley, please contact me at Oh, and please don't ask me to make an offer, if you wish to sell me something, have a price in mind. Thanks.

Q: I'm trying to find some info about this unusual old guitar. Can you help?
A: I can certainly try! Playing vintage guitar detective is my favorite pastime and I'm pretty good at identifying and dating obscure guitars, if I do say so myself. You can post your questions on the FORUM.

Q: Can you fix my guitar?
A: If you're in the New York City area and wish to get your junker repaired, I may be able to help you. My rates are reasonable and I have over 20 years of guitar and drum repair experience. I will only take local walk-in repairs, I will not do fretwork, refinishing or extensive woodwork, and I will not touch any instrument that's worth more than my 12-year-old Toyota. Contact me at

Q: Cool site! I think what you're doing is great! How can I help?
A: Do you read Japanese or Czech? I desperately need a couple of historical articles translated. I am also currently doing research on the guitars of Russia and Eastern Europe. If you have any old catalogs, brochures, owner manuals or other documentation of Jolana, Musima, Orpheus, Migma, Defil, Ural, Aelita and other such brands that you could share with me, I will greatly appreciate it. Any photos of Russian, Czech, East German, Polish, Yugoslavian and Bulgarian guitars are also welcome. In addition, if you have interesting pictures of guitars that have been so poorly repaired or so badly modified as to be totally laughable, or just any pictures of unusual cheap off-brand guitars, please be kind enough to share them. I'd love to put these pictures up on this site, with full credit given, of course. Please send links and images to, or if you're willing to part with original catalogs and brochures, I will buy them (reasonable, please).

Q: Do you play or collect other instruments?
A: I also play and repair drums. I do not collect them, though I do own a couple of vintage drum sets that I restored. But I am interested in any old drum catalogs, originals or scans, especially of cheesy obscure brands such as Kent, Tempro, Zim-Gar, Stewart, Hollywood, US Mercury, etc. Contact me at

Q: What's the cat's name?
A: Tiger. Being insatiably curious, like all cats, he comes over to investigate whenever I'm positioning guitars for snapshots, so he often ends up in the pictures. Tiger is the official cat of

Q: Why is your name "Big Beat" and who the hell are you, anyway?
A: I came up with that nickname when I needed a handle for e-mail adresses and internet forums. Big Beat is another name for Rock'n'Roll. If you're curious about me personally, click HERE.

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