|Product type||Electric and acoustic guitars, basses|
St. Louis Music (US)
|Discontinued||1991(with some subsequent revivals)|
|Registered as a trademark in||Japan, United States|
Westone is a brand of musical instruments that have been used by manufacturing companies of electric and acoustic guitars and basses. The name "Westone" gained notoriety when used by Matsumoku in Japan and St. Louis Music in Korea until the brand was ceased in 1991. Since then, the Westone name has appeared in some instruments by luthiers or manufacturing companies of Europe and Asia.
The Westone instruments were made for manufacturing companies in German Democratic Republic and Italy until 1975, when Japanese company Matsumoku acquired the rights to the "Westone" name, producing acoustic guitars and some copies of US models.
US company St. Louis Music registered the "Westone" brand in 1976 to commercialise its products in the country, importing the brand to the United States as a replacement for the previous Custom Kraft-brand instruments manufactured by Kay and Valco in the mid-1950s. Electra was also a brand of St. Louis Music.
In 1984, St. Louis Music merged both brands to make the "Electra-Westone" brand. From 1985 onwards, the guitars were branded as Westone. The majority of the Westone guitars of the 1980s were made by the Matsumoku factory in Japan and imported by St. Louis Music. As Matsumoku closed in 1987, after about 1988 production moved to Korea, most of the innovative models disappeared, and the brand name was replaced by Alvarez in 1991.
Though initially popularized as inexpensive, entry-level guitars particularly useful for students, the transition into Asian manufacturing in the 80s represented a fundamental change in production. Designers then emphasized features such as custom pickups and electronics. Upon the end of production, many Westone guitars and basses have become collectors items.
In 1998, renowned luthier Sid Poole built some prestige guitars in England under the "Westone" name. Another revival of the brand came in 2010 when German company Musik-Meyer sold instruments under the Westone name, which were copies of traditional instruments from other companies such as Fender Stratocaster, Telecaster or Gibson Les Paul. In China, copies of traditional US guitars with the Westone brand were also commercialised.
- Clipper Six
Notable musicians who have used Westone models includes:
- Trevor Rabin (Rabbitt and Yes)
- Tim Smith (Cardiacs)
- Ian Masters (Pale Saints)
- Leslie West (Mountain)
- Kirk Pengilly (INXS)
- Justin Broadrick (Napalm Death and Godflesh)
- Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse)
- Gabriel Saloman (Yellow Swans)
- Dave Brock (Hawkwind)
- Varg Vikernes (Burzum).
- Eric Brittingham (Cinderella)
- Mantas (Venom)
- Overview about the Westone brand, retrieved 22 Oct 2019
- History on Westone website, 21 Oct 2019
- Westne Trademark of St. Louis Music Supply Co., Inc. on Traddemarkia website
- German Westone guitars information
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Westone guitars.|
- Westone tribute website, with catalogue scans, repair information and up to date detailed model information