My local pawnshop had a certain guitar that I saw a couple months ago, but didn't have the money to get it. I finally got some ME money and went to see if they still had it, they did.

I took it off the wall and plucked the strings to see if it had a good sound acoustically unplugged, it did have a good sound, so I asked for a cord to try it out. Even though the string were old and a bit rusty, it had a fantastic tone to it and both pickups worked. One of the tone pots was loose, the pickguard was missing, had a few scratches and a lot of the hardware was rusty. It was originally $399.99 marked down to $304.99.

I took it up to the counter and asked them if the were set on that price because I was going to have to fix it and get a pickguard for it. The salesman said that he couldn't lower it anymore, but if I was interested, he would give me a cheap Strat type guitar for free that he had on the rack forever and didn't sell. I agreed and got both for the price of one. I needed a Strat type anyway to put my Strat pickups in that were wound by a friend of mine. It was a win win situation for me.

So, what did I get?

I got a DeArmond M72 Bluesbird guitar with Mahogany body and neck, Maple arch top cap, rosewood fretboard with Mother of Pearl block inlays, 2 - Goldtop/Goldtone humbucker pickups, 4 controls and 3-way switch, ABR Gibson style bridge and stop tail piece. It's Silver Metalflake with Cream binding around the top and neck.

The Strat style guitar is a Black Johnson by AXL with 3 single coils marked Select by EMG(passive pickups) and vintage style trem without an arm. Someone painted silver over the white pickguard.

Both guitars have good unplugged sound of the strings, minor to medium scratches that can be fixed and rusty hardware, but the necks feel great and are straight.

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Pics of the DeArmond M72 Bluesbird.

Pics of the Johnson Strat type guitar.

Wow! ya gotta be happy with that. So now the work begins......


I fixed the loose tone pot in the Bluesbird and got most of the rust off the pickup poles and screws. The pickguard will be hard to find. DeArmond(original makers of the Gold Foil pickup) was bought by Fender and then Guild and is no longer in business. Guild does make a couple of the DeArmond models including the Bluesbird, so I might be able to get a usable pickguard from Guild.

The Bluesbird pickups are full sized humbuckers known as Gold Tone or Gold Tops and they are fantastic. They have a real clear tone articulation to them, but when the overdrive/distortion/high gain is applied they have a wonderful gritty Blues tone.

I'm happy with the deal I got and that DeArmond is worth every penny. I've seen them listed from $350.00 to $800.00 depending on their condition, so I could fix it and flip it for a profit. Like that's going to happen. Bwahahahaha!

It's not going to take a lot of work to get the Bluesbird right.

The Strat is another story. I have a set of pickups just waiting for a body although these Select by EMG pickups are pretty decent. The biggest part of this guitar's rebirth is cleaning the gunk off and fixing cosmetic issues. It's scratched up a good bit, needs a pickguard and a few other hardware parts. I'll save the loaded pickguard off of this guitar for a CBG build.

Thats a steal of a deal.  Very nice.

It's was nice to have the funds at the right time - this time. Usually it goes like this - see great deals when your broke, but can't find what you want when you got money. Hahaha

Don’t discount those “Select” pickups, they were very popular amongst lead guitarists & a lot of shredders back in the 80’s? I would’ve put them in a better guitar tho? 

I've actually heard a lot of good things about the Johnson guitars. This one says Johnson by AXL. I don't know if AXL has always made these guitars or recently bought out Johnson guitar company. I heard that Johnson guitars were made in Texas.

Haven't tore into it yet, but I'm curious about it. I don't think the body is plywood. It may be a light weight Asian wood. I'll eventually find out.

I had EMG 85 humbucker pickup in a Strat back in the 80's, but never had any experience with their passive single coil pickups. Some liked them and some hated them is all I know about them. It's hard to judge by others remarks because it be biased or telling what they heard rather than personal experience.

Johnson is based out of Texas, but their guitars are not. That AXL is chinese made & goes for $189.99 in Cali & is targeted for the entry level player. The music store I worked for carried that electric & their $69.99 beginner acoustic at one time, entry level stuff at best? On the other hand, that Dearmond is promising? Korea puts out some legit guitars worthy of praise? Actually Dearmond is still in business, they were bought out with Guild by Cordoba music group 4-5 years ago, the makers of Cordoba classical guitars & Aquila strings. 

Thanks for the info. I thought the Johnson was a beginner guitar til I saw the EMG pickups with the For Johnson printed on them, that made me think it was a step above beginner, but it could be the cheapest they make for all I know. When I take it apart, I'll check the serial number and find out.

That DeArmond was what I was after anyway. It was amazing to hear it even with rusty dead strings on it. It's almost ready for the new strings and then It will get played a lot.

Almost got a Epiphone LP Special in Faded Cherry with 2 P90's yesterday at another pawnshop. They wanted $99.95 for it. I asked they if they would take my $86 in cash for it, but they gave me a story about having to pay the taxes on the sale. I said they could take it out of my cash since I could get a new one for $100 to $150 at the Guitar Center and didn't want to drive the 50 miles to get there. They said I could use my cash to put it in layaway, I said no you can keep it and walked.


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