Friday, July 11, 2008

Cimar Hummingbird Copy


This guitar was the perfect beach guitar and I actually kind of wish I had it back. I went to the swap meet in Oceanside, CA one Sunday and, as I have detailed before, walked directly to a certain aisle that a couple of sellers always camp out on. These two or three sellers always manage to find some interesting, cheap guitars and I'm usually pretty curious about something or other that they have unearthed. On this particular Sunday one of the guys had this Cimar acoustic, which was a knock-off or "lawsuit" version of a Gibson Hummingbird. From what I understand (and please correct me if I'm wrong...I like to know the correct story), Cimar was a lesser brand produced by Ibanez, which itself was making less expensive knock-offs at the time, but at a pretty high quality.

This guitar was black with a tortoise-like Hummingbird pickguard that was still in great shape. It had cheap inlays on the neck and headstock and fake inlay all around the body and soundhole, D-41 style. When I picked it up, it actually played great. The action was just right. As I looked more closely at the body I was shocked. The bridge saddle was a good inch high at least. It stuck WAY out from the bridge and the top of the guitar had seriously bellied in. Yet someone had taken the time to exactly size up a really tall piece to make the action just right.

This was actually a pretty cool guitar. At the time, my daughter was away at school and wanted a cheap guitar to play that, if something happened to it, it wouldn't be the end of the world. So I shelled out a whopping $40 for the guitar and took it home. It cleaned up just fine and, since I was scared to take the strings off, I just left them on. I went to Guitar Center to see if they had any good deals on cases and, oddly enough, they had a GIANT stack of Taylor hard plastic acoustic cases they were clearing out for $25. So, for a cool $65 I had a decent playing, inexpensive guitar and hard case for my daughter.

I took her the guitar and, from what I understand, she never once played it.

She brought it back with her when she came home and I took it over to our neighbor's house. Their 15-year old son was learning to play electric guitar and so I donated this acoustic to the cause. That was the last time I saw it. Not sure if he played it either, but hopefully someone sees the odd beauty of this guitar, bellied top and all.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have the exact same model guitar. Hasn't bellied though and plays and sounds so good. Had it for about 15 years, was a friends before that. Love it.

OldAtarian said...

Cimars were made by Matsumoku. As is the case with Ibanez, many Japanese guitar companies don't actually build their own instruments. They contract the work to other companies. Most Ibanez labeled guitars are built by Fuji Gen Gakki. Norlin, when they owned Gibson, imported the exact same guitars and sold them under the Lyle name. This was before they started outsourcing Epiphone production to Japan. I have seen Lyle Hummingbirds and I own a Cimar SG copy that is exact in every detail to Lyle labeled SG copies. Matsumoku was a good guitar maker with an interesting history. Many brands contracted with them in the 60's, 70's and 80's before their factory burned down and they closed up for good. I have three guitars here with different labels that are all Matsumokus.

leonard said...

I bought mine second hand for $150 25years ago. It now sits in the lounge room & gets played regularly, stays in tune still sounds good.I only play 12 bar to amuse myself I just had to glue down rib as it started to buzz.
She has been through some good times with me,its a keeper

Nikki Rosetti said...

I also have Cimar Hummingbird copy. Different headstock, but I can date mine to 1972 as it has adjustable bridge (discontinued by Gibson post 72)and belly-down bridge (pre 72 Gibsons were belly-up). This guitar has a PERFECT action. I keep it tuned to DADGAD with a 13-56 set of strings. It plays and sounds great. Big fan of this guitar!

Anonymous said...

idont no anythink about the one i have its the same as yours . i dont no how old it is but was told . the man who had it befor had it over 30 to 40 years,i have been looking on my laptop for answers . it is a lovely guitar.my email address is kirkbytown71@yahoo.co.uk

Glenn OHalloran said...

i bought mine in a junk/second hand shop in 1981 for £15.00 strung left handed it was old then . a great guitar stays in tune priceless unique sound . i would never sell . perfect for rhythm strumming ,

Mike Kearney said...

I have a tobacco sunburst finish version - model number 390 - which I have owned from new since 1977. From busking the South of France in the early 80's to playing pubs and clubs in the UK as recently as June this year, it has never let me down and has a fantastic rich tone. I bought it for something like £60, and wouldn't sell it. Whoever made it deserves credit - the action is still great and the neck is as true as they come.