SOLD - Magnatone Mark VIII 1960 Sunburst Paul Barth

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Who buys vintage guitars?  We do! 

Call 530-570-1525 or email to sell your vintage guitar, bass, amplifier, etc - one piece or a collection!  We are always ready to buy instruments, amps and effects from Fender, Gibson, Martin, Epiphone, Rickenbacker, Gretsch, Marshall, Vox and just about anything else related to musical instruments.   You can also click here for more info on selling us vintage instruments, amps, parts, etc.  

No sales tax for customers outside California.

Don't let the simple construction and looks of this Magnatone guitar fool you.  It's a rare bird, and its got a sound like no other!

Designed by Paul Barth, who worked for a number of major players: National, Valco, Rickenbacker, Magnatone and his own Bartell brand.

Barth designed the Mark series in 1959. Their appearance and construction have some not-so-subtle similarities to contemporary Rickenbacker models. Although this guitar looks solid, it's actually a semi-hollow; a center slab of birch was heavily routed and two thinner pieces of solid birch were glued on to form the top and back. It's not far removed from the construction of Harmony Stratotones or Danelectro guitars, although the materials aren't laminated and the overall attention to detail is superior. The pickguard isn't actually plastic but fiberglass, which explains how it's survived five decades without any shrinkage cracks.

The pickups are similar to the units used on earlier Mark series, which were in turn descended from Paul Bigsby's own designs. They don't have adjustable poles, but the balance across the strings is perfect. The tone is scooped and cutting, not unlike a Strat but without the Strat's tendency to get icepick-y on the bridge. It's a bit warmer and more rounded than the classic Fender tone, but clearly designed toward the same cutting clarity.

The guitar's output is slightly hotter than the average vintage Fender, which is probably due in part to the Alnico V magnets. The hollow body and short 24 7/8" scale give it a more open, airy tone than a Strat without sacrificing much sustain.

The zero fret does an excellent job of evening out the tone between open and fretted notes.

One thing to remember - the pickups, which are screwed to the pickguard without springs, are not height-adjustable.  We found this out the hard way and had to send the pickguard and electronics off to Tom Brantley to re-establish the ground connections to the pickups.

The guitar is very light, and the center of gravity is correctly located around the neck joint.

Some Mark VIIIs have one volume and one tone control.  This one has a volume and tone for each pickup as seen on the more expensive Mark IX and X models. 

The guitar is all original and comes with the original case.  It is a very playable guitar with good cation and original frets that are in great shape.

The original case is included.

  • Color: Sunburst
  • Weight: 5lbs 4.8ozs
  • Body: Alder
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Brazilian Rosewood
  • Inlays: White Dots
  • Frets: Original Vintage
  • Fret count: 21
  • Nut material: Zero Fret
  • Nut width: 1 5/8"
  • Scale: 24.75"
  • Radius: 9.5"
  • Neck thickness at 1st fret: 0.85
  • Neck thickness at 12th fret: 0.93
  • Action 1st String at 12th Fret: .039"
  • Action 6th String at 12th Fret: .049"
  • Total length: 38.5"
  • Lower bout: 13.25"
  • Waist: 8"
  • Upper bout: 10"
  • Body depth/thickness: 1 3/8"
  • String gauge: 10-46
  • Hardware Color: Nickel
  • Bridge Pickup Brand: OEM
  • Bridge Pickup Reading: 5.77k
  • Bridge Pickup Original?: Yes
  • Neck Pickup Brand: OEM
  • Neck Pickup Reading: 5.72k
  • Neck Pickup Original?: Yes
  • Pickguard: Original
  • Bridge: Original
  • Tuners: Original
  • Switch: Original
  • Pots/Codes: Original 1376048
  • Case: Original Chipboard Case
  • Notes: 

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