Kay / Univox Effector Guitar

There’s something charming about looking back to a point in history when we thought we were onto something new and then, very quickly, realised we weren’t.

There’s little glimpses of these moments in time sprinkled all over the history of modern guitars and amps. Zero frets being one of them and these Kay / Univox Effector guitars, being another.

They were manufactured in the 60’s and, unbelievably, right through to the 80’s. They were sold via the Sears catalogue as an affordable home guitar with an added extra. Built in effects. It even has a headphone socket, so there’s no need for an amp. I imagine this guitar was a good choice for parents who wanted to encourage their children to learn to play but didn’t want to hear them play loudly through an amplifier.

They’re powered by a 9V battery and the volume knob actually acts as an on / off switch.

I’ve heard the built in effects described as “tone suckers”, and I understand why. The echo effect (it’s not an echo, it’s a tremolo), is very useable, however. It has an old school dub reggae vibe to it. It’s nice for playing more paired back, stripped down tracks and you can get an ambient feel from it.

The other effects are pretty much not worth even mentioning. They create harsh tones and doesn’t really provide anything useful, although the Whirl-wind effect can be fun for an auto wah style sound.

The truly useable effect, though, is the fuzz. It really sounds great for lo-fi punk rock riffs and high energy thrashing chords. But equally as great for noodling solos.

The Kay / Univox Effector is an interesting and rare piece of guitar history but it’s not difficult to understand why the built in effect technology didn’t take off in a big way.

It’s been nice to work on I’m pleased I had the opportunity to fix this one up as best as I could.

Hear the effects here and if you enjoy the video, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel:

Peavey T-60 Guitar with EGC Aluminium Bolt on Neck

I recently heard Peavey T-60’s described as “hipster gold, right now”. And while I’m no hipster, I do kinda get where they were coming from.

Peavey started manufacturing their T range of guitars and basses in the late 70’s. The T-60’s were allegedly the first guitars to be precision CNC milled out of blocks of wood.

They’re ridiculously well made. Over engineered to the teeth. For example, there’s an abundant 19 screws holding the pick guard on, alone.

All hardware is Peavey branded. Tuners, bridge, knobs, you name it.

So it’s a wonder to me, why it’s taken them so long to earn their “hipster gold” badge.

In recent years, they’ve become popular in the hardcore / punk scene. Probably because of their solid ruggedness and ability to withstand many a brutal thrashing about on stage.

Their for sale price has jumped up significantly, especially in the rarer finishes, like mine. I paid £400 for it and I’ve since seen people asking double that.

The wooden stock Peavey neck, is one of the best I’ve ever played. It’s maple and has a nice, thin profile and a 12″ radius. Very similar to the Electrical Guitar Company neck that I replaced it with.

Which brings me to the next part.. The aluminium neck!

I had this made by the Electrical Guitar Company, in Florida. I saw that Kevin (owner) was going to be doing a run of these necks via the Aluminium Axes Facebook group. (This seems to be the only place he announces when he’ll be doing a run).

The T-60 has the same square neck pocket measurements as a Fender Telecaster. The EGC square heel should fit both so that is what I ordered. After a three month wait, I finally got the neck home to find it didn’t quite fit. Panicked briefly.. And then set about sanding the neck pocket by hand. It took about and hour but I finally managed to get it in, snug.

The T-60 had the old toaster style pickups, which are famously duller sounding than the blades that the later models where fitted with. Well, the neck brightened up the tone, no end. It looks cool as heck and plays like a dream. I’ve kept the old maple neck because I can’t bare to part with it. Maybe I’ll put it on a telecaster one day. But I’m sure I’ll never want to put it back on the Peavey, as awesome as it is.

One last thing to add.. This guitar does weigh a ton.. 10lbs, to be exact. It’s not for the feint hearted!

See and hear it here:

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