The Birthday Faux-Standel

Jun 12, 2021

Here’s a silly story for the guitar geeks. On our camping trip, I bought a guitar at a record store in Morro Bay. I have been wanting an acoustic 12-string guitar and didn’t own one for a while now, just something to beat around on and record with. I stumbled across this guitar for a couple hundred bucks, and it played and sounded SO good! It’s an Alvarez, made in Korea, maybe ten years old. It’s always kind of shocking to me how good those Korean factory guitars are. I mean, it’s a cheap guitar–but it was SHOCKINGLY good. Played really easy, and the big Jumbo body made It sound really full.

I bought It, because I figured it was my birthday, and why not. But then, I thought….you know….I’ve got a bunch of KOOL vintage guitars at home, and I’m supposed to just put this modern import thing next to those guitars? I couldn’t do it. But all it takes Is a little effort and ingenuity, and this “custom job” cost me zero dollars and about an hour’s work. I thought that the guitar vaguely sort of resembled the acoustic guitars that Sam Koontz made for Standel In the 1960s, so I decided this guitar was going to be a faux-Standel!

It was an easy decision to make, because a long time ago I snagged about 500 original 1960s Standel headstock decals on eBay (let me know If you ever need one). I just put a “Standel Deluxe 12” decal over the Alvarez logo on the headstock, then did some scanning and made a fake Standel label to put inside the guitar to cover up the Alvarez label.

For the coup de grace, I used one of the vintage water decals on the neck heel cap. I put some fresh strings on it, cleaned It up, and voila! I’ve got something I can hang next to the Martin Uke, the Danelectro six-string-bass, and the TNM Super 400 guitar. Best of all, I didn’t damage the guitar at all, and can reverse my custom job in ten minutes if I want to.

I still can’t get over how good this damn cheap guitar sounds. For those of you planning on buying my crap at my estate sale after I die, you might want to print out this post so you can show whoever Is running the sale that It’s not really a Standel guitar, it’s a cheapo Alvarez with a ten-cent makeover.